Building an effective team goes far beyond hiring top talent. While talent does go a long way, the secret sauce to successful outcomes lies within an effective team strategy. We’re going to dive deeper than the roles your employees have individually and look at how your team should operate as a whole. Whether you’re building a new team from scratch, leveling up an existing team, or trying to turn around your team’s culture, instilling these values will help to ensure success.
Open lines of communication is the keystone to effective teamwork. Regular discussion regarding goals, progress, and new developments within a project prevent unpleasant surprises from happening. But more than that, new ideas are shared, constructive feedback strengthens the mission, and trust is built. Without communication, each team member lives in a bubble, and the organization as a whole can’t grow effectively.
No matter what size the team, it has a purpose—each project completed edges closer to larger organizational goals. Good communication ensures that this purpose is clear every step of the way, reminding everybody what role they play in meeting goals, and even exceeding them. Leadership must define not only the team and organizational purpose, but individual objectives within the team.
Disagreements happen within a team. That is healthy so long as the communication is well-thought and your team encourages an environment of trust. Building an effective team means employees are comfortable speaking honestly with each other when mistakes are made, during brainstorming sessions, and every time in between. When they don’t feel comfortable communicating honestly, they won’t be able to carry out the tasks crucial to their purpose.
Your team should have a purpose, but when goals aren’t met, are they held accountable? Team members need to know that they can count on their coworkers to carry out their roles. When even one person doesn’t hold up their responsibilities, it takes others away from their roles to fill in, causes mistrust, and weakens the team as a whole.
Ideally, a team member will recognize a missed deadline upfront and pre-emptively reach out to others for assistance. They might even communicate the slip to their team so someone else can manage consequences. Individuals must be held accountable by discussing what caused them to not meet a goal, and then determine the actions needed to get back on track.
Respect is earned, but when trust and open communication are encouraged, it can happen more readily. Additionally, respect ensures that feedback is heard and delivered constructively. Rather than placing blame, team members are able to diagnose an issue and together discuss what needs to be done to achieve the results essential to accomplishing the team’s goals.
Trust encourages honesty, constructive criticism, and ideas that help the team flourish. It is built or broken with every interaction. Trusting others takes a willingness to be appropriately vulnerable, and an ability to not make negative assumptions about the other person’s intention behind their behavior. Understand that trust does take time to build, individually and as a whole.
If a task is delegated to a member of the team, do they follow through? And is the product of their efforts up to the standard that is expected? Reliable people hold themselves accountable for the team’s results, and that ensures that everybody is able to focus on their own tasks without having to take on those assigned to others as well.
Building an Effective Team
We like to refer to all of the above as the secret sauce to team success. One ingredient on its own is just an ingredient. And when even one ingredient is missing, it’s obvious. But when all the ingredients are combined, the result is a win just about every time.
That said, there is one more element that is an absolute must for highly successful teams: leading by example. Leading by example isn’t isolated to those who have a leadership role—this is a tenet that should happen from the bottom all the way to the top.
Wondering if your team is performing to its true potential? Take a look at the team performance worksheet and where your team falls in the realm of team effectiveness.
Ready to take your team to the next level? Culture Innovations can help you tap into your teams’ greatest strengths to create a talented and highly engaged organization. Contact us today to let us know how we can help you!