Not claiming this article to be a be-all and end-all of effective team building, however here are some of the team-building 101 tips I acquired in my decade plus long career while working some of the biggest multi-national companies.
Pick the right person in the team for different responsibilities
Team building should be one of the top 3 most important activities every people manager needs to implement while trying to shape team’s goals and culture.
- Pick the team leader, someone who is to be the rudder and not the entire ship
- The most technical person is to be a technical lead – team is to turn to this person when it comes to hands on technical expertise
- Have a creative lead in the team
- Meeting facilitator – keep the team meeting on-track, herd the wanderers back in, keep the agenda of meetings rolling would be some of meeting facilitator’s tasks
- Project manager would set the deadlines and time lines, keep track of each member’s progress, ensure that all team member’s goals are met and the overall purpose is achieved.
Clarify expectations in the team for yourself and the members
As a manager you need to ask yourself questions such as what you are responsible for, how your responsibilities fit in with other people and how all the responsibilities complete the big picture and seek clarification.
In order to have an effective team you will need to define goals, behaviour and culture. Make SMART (specific, measurable, affect, realistic and timed) both subjective and objective goals. Also define success for each responsibilities so these goals can be measured.
Idea creation is a two-step process and consists of:
- Generation – this can be encouraged by using such techniques as playfulness, flexibility, brainstorming, analogies etc.
- Evaluation – first discuss pros and cons of every idea and then refine and combine ideas (eliminating and selecting) into perfect ideas.
Definition of synergy is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; 1 + 1 = 3 basically!
Ever synergistic team exhibits traits of naturally high, exhilarated and stimulated individuals who are roaring to go.
Formalise team identity
Give a team its identity by stating your intention, asking team members questions on defining team characteristics (attributes). Begin by saying ‘I’d like to formalise our thoughts about our team identity, why is our team unique? Formalise the team’s identity by confirming it with the team members, ask for team’s input with subtlety. Just before the team’s identity and purpose is formalised ask if everyone agrees that these attributes describe the team.
Increasing team cohesiveness
- Collaborate, don’t compete – working together and sharing the knowledge and resources will create a stronger and more productive team
- Assume positive intent – try and not read into team member’s responses, again – assume positive intent
- Put the team first and your ego on a back burner. Be open minded and ready to assume a new role or a task even if it seems like something you haven’t done before – stay positive.