Team building is one of the most important responsibilities a manager has. It isn’t something that can be achieved overnight and then forgotten. It is an ongoing organic process that you a will have to facilitate and guide. As this process unfolds, however, your team members will begin to trust and support one another and share their skill sets and effort in order to more effectively complete your organization’s goals.
The first rule of team building is an obvious one. To lead a team effectively, you must first establish your leadership with each team member. Remember that the most effective team leaders build their relationships of trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions.
Try out these ways to help define and create an effective team.
Understand the purpose of the team
Not all teams are created for the same purpose, or have the same end-goals. An executive team manages the organization, whereas a new product team might develop a product and then move to the next. Examine the purpose of your team and ask yourself what its primary function is.
It is important to be sure that you have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish; that you know what your standards for success are going to be; that you have established clear time frames; and that team members understand their responsibilities.
Examine characteristics and components of the team, its people
Teams may have different components, just as they may have different purposes. Review the makeup of your team for characteristics that could affect teamwork. Is your team temporary or permanent? What is the degree of experience of each member? The age and gender may also be a factor as to how you would approach your members.
Build relationships with your team
As your team starts to cooperate more, examine the way they work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation and trust amongst the team. If there are any conflicts, try to resolve them amicably.
Be aware of employees' unspoken feelings. Set an example to team members by being open with employees and sensitive to their moods and feelings. At chances of disputes, act as a harmonizing influence. Look for chances to mediate. Listen to both sides of the argument and act as a mediator.
Remember that the relationships team members establish among themselves are every bit as important as those you establish with them. As the team begins to take shape, pay close attention to the ways in which team members work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation, trust, and respect in those relationships.
Encourage your team to share information, both among themselves and within the wider organization. Emphasize the importance of each team member's contribution and demonstrate how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal. Consider each employee's ideas as valuable. Remember that there is no such thing as a stupid idea. Try to communicate more with your team. This goes beyond simply holding meetings.
Let the team work on creative solutions together and delegate problem-solving tasks to the team. Use consensus when doing so. Set objectives, solve problems, and plan for action. While it takes much longer to establish consensus, this method ultimately provides better decisions and greater productivity because it secures every employee's commitment to all phases of the work.
Encourage listening and brainstorming. Remember that employees are often afraid to disagree with one another and that this fear can lead your team to make mediocre decisions. When you encourage debate you inspire creativity and that's how you'll spur your team on to better results.
Set ground rules for the team
Finally, you can begin officially establishing your team through creating team values and goals, as well as evaluating team performance alongside individual performance. Include your team in this process, so they know what’s required and agree with it and to get a sense both of their success and of the challenges that lie ahead.
Set ground rules for them, norms that you and the team establish to ensure efficiency and success. They can be simple directives (Team members are to be punctual for meetings) or general guidelines (Every team member has the right to offer ideas and suggestions), but you should make sure that the team creates these ground rules by consensus and commits to them, both as a group and as individuals.
Experience and event days also provide a great way of rewarding and encouraging teams to do their best. Of course, bonus schemes also offer rewards, but these tend to be faceless and of limited (literally) value. Instead, rewards where the team comes face to face with each other and their managers can offer far more incentive. Plus, allowing teams the chance to let off steam, ‘play’ and learn together in a relaxed and informal setting become a rich ground upon which to sow team spirit, participation and motivation - all essentials for building an empowered, effective team.