You’ve got a team assembled. Now what?
Bodies in chairs do not a team make! There are elements which are necessary within a team for it to work as a finely oiled machine. After all, a solid team can create unbelievable results as well as competitive advantage in the marketplace:
But bringing together different personalities with a range of skills and goals, you have to find some common points to build a cohesive team.
It’s important for any good leader to build up their teams to reflect five common elements of team success:
We’ll look at each of these in turn, in ascending order:
If you’ve ever worked in a group where team members didn’t trust each other, you’ll know exactly how it feels, compared to a team that has built up that inter-member reliance.
From a business point of view, trust comes with transparency. You’re not guessing what your colleagues are thinking: you know. You’re not wondering if someone is talking behind your back because they’re not. A team that has trust has members that have each other’s backs in terms of support for one another.
They’re also quick to point out and accept errors. That’s because, with trust, you know that your colleague isn’t pointing out a mistake to get you in trouble or for their own gain. They’re pointing it out because it’s in the interest of the common goals that you all agree on.
Honesty is vital to building real trust.
It’s unrealistic to imagine a team of people agreeing about everything, all of the time. Conflict is inevitable but it’s the style of conflict that the team engages in that matters. This is linked to trust in that if you don’t have a team whose members trust one another, you can’t have healthy debates about issues and ideas.
Constructive disagreement is totally acceptable, knowing that the goal each person has is not to ‘take down’ the other but to contribute to the good of the team.
A team that can engage in debate but still provide a safe environment where everyone is heard respectfully is a solid team!
When everyone has a voice and that voice can be expressed in a safe, trust-based environment, then it’s that much more likely that everyone on the team will be committed to whatever decision comes at the end of the discussion.
It doesn’t become about winning or losing: the commitment to a team and its decisions means compromise, sometimes, but again with the knowledge that everyone is working toward a common goal or results.
Teams flounder when there are members who aren’t pulling their own weight. A committed team will hold each other accountable to the plans, processes and steps that need to be taken, to ensure that everyone is ‘in the game’, so to speak.
No one takes the credit and no one takes the blame but every team member does have to serve every other team member and one way to do that is through accountability.
Think of a football team, as an analogy. The goal for the team as a whole is to get the ball to the other end of the field. Each person on the team has a role to play and they know what that role is. If the quarterback stops doing his job or the halfback quits halfway through a play, the team, as a whole, will fail, so they hold each other accountable.
By working as a team and supporting one another and holding each person accountable for their part of the play, the team works as a cohesive whole and will score.
“By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!” (Source)
This is the end goal of any team: to work together to achieve results. Whatever those results are, there is always a goal and getting there as a team creates strength that can be leveraged onwards.
With a solid grasp on these five elements, a team can make decisions quickly and effectively, leverage everyone’s differing skills, value all opinions, avoid destructive conflict, and have a solid goal that each member has a stake in reaching.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? If you want your team working and thinking this way, contact us to take part in the ‘Five Elements of Effective Teams’ program. It’s a benefit for the individuals, the team as a whole and the organization that supports them!