A warm welcome to the building effective teams section of the web site.
To be a great leader the first thing you need is great people. You need to be surrounding yourself with the greatest talent that you can find and not only that you need to ensure that the greatest talent are doing things most suited to their individual skill sets and capabilities.
For example take a football team analogy (soccer team for our American friends!) You could have a team with the greatest players in the world, but if you put your strikers in defence and you defence up front it’s unlikely that you’d get the best out of your team.
(Photo Credit: orkomedix)
Building Effective Teams Requires Clear Direction and Goals
To keep a team moving in the right direction in terms of achievements and creating value you need to also set team goals and individual goals. Each team member needs to fully understand that their individual goals are still part of the overall team effort. Make sure the goals are achievable, challenging, and realistic with lots of clarity and also try and make them metric based if at all possible.
Metric driven goals can be both rewarding and motivating. Metrics can make us think of things more like a game where we all want the best, highest score that we can possibly get. In fact there is a whole new theory arising from this very notion – search in google for gamification to find out more!
Try and also ensure that you have as a diverse a team as you possibly can. Teams that include people with similar skillsets, backgrounds, cultures and leadership qualities are likely to achieve little. Results come from having a diverse set of skills, background, and experiences.
And Knowledge and Understanding
If you are putting a new team together and you have knowledge of the individuals who you can select for the team – make sure that you fully consider this diversity perspective. Don’t simply pick people who you like, get on with or have similar skills, traits and characteristics as yourself.
If you have no prior knowledge of the people that you are selecting team members from then interview them. Stick to behavioural type interview questions… What did you do..? What would you do in this situation..? Also ask them to describe how they think a close friend or family member would describe them. This kind if questioning can be quite revealing and is a good way of understanding what they see as their core strengths and abilities.
Pick Strong Communicators
Also consider from your knowledge of the individual or from your interviewing process how effective that person is at communicating and how well that will fit in with or gel with the rest of the team.
Dealing With Difficult Team Members
Remember as leader the team is directly your responsibility. Therefore if you have difficult people on your team then it’s up to you to find out why they are being difficult and to put a plan of action in place to rectify the behaviour. You need to meet with the employee and drill down to the root of the problem. Don’t make any rash decisions until you have a full and clear understanding. Put your sympathetic and empathetic hats on!
For a larger discussion on this very important topic please visit dealing with difficult employees.
So to summarize, building effective teams is mainly about diversity in terms of background, knowledge and skill sets. Giving clear direction for the team in terms of realistic goals (metric driven if possible) and having a team that you feel can interact well with each other.
This is the basis for a team that can bring results and create value.