Building a great team is a process.  Great teams seldom are built overnight, and are often built through trial and error. So… how is a great team built? It begins with the interview process by hiring people of character who fit the culture, and who fill a role on the team. Hiring for knowledge or skill, without considering character, often leads to problems. Poor character may lead to poor choices, which can disrupt the team. Someone who does not fit the culture may become unhappy, which hinders team development. 

The next step is training. Without a commitment to continuous team training and development, it will be difficult to build a great team. To help a team acquire greatness, a sense of ownership should be instilled. Great teams initiate tasks and find solutions because they have been empowered to do so. Training should include more than job related tasks and systems — it should include team dynamics, communication skills, brainstorming, conflict resolution, and more.

I believe the most attractive leaders, who build great teams, do all or most of the above, and share a vision. Great leaders involve the team in creating the vision; the vision becomes the team’s vision.

What Is A Team?

A team is an organized group of people who hold themselves accountable for achieving clear, definable, objective goals. A successful team, working together, will achieve more than what would’ve been achieved individually. Below are 13 steps to building a great team.

  1. Hire for character over knowledge and skill
  2. Search for “A” players who fit the culture
  3. Fill roles and position team members where they may excel
  4. Commit to constant, ongoing training
  5. Involve the team in decision making
  6. Empower the team with motivating tasks that have clear, visible outcomes
  7. Develop a sense of team ownership
  8. Delegate authority and responsibility
  9. Be a leader teammates can talk to — be a good listener
  10. Lead by example
  11. Give recognition and credit where it is due
  12. Share visions, paint dreams
  13. Be supportive, not defensive

Building a great team is not as complicated as some would make it out to be, but it is hard work. For example, digging a ditch is not a complicated task – you may not need an instruction manual, but it’s hard work. Ditch digging becomes harder as the day continues, and it’s tempting to lessen your effort. Team building doesn’t stop. Building a great team is a continuous process. Don’t let up.

11 Team Building Tips 

  1. Work hard, both individually, and together
  2. Define team goals as a group
  3. Help each other and avoid dissension
  4. Be the best teammate you can
  5. Practice active listening, without bias, and be attentive
  6. Be time-sensitive, punctual, and remember the value of others’ time
  7. Use thoughtful behavior, which conveys respect
  8. Be open and supportive — do not react defensively
  9. Be sensitive, understanding, and empathetic
  10. Share excitement and give praise
  11. Be responsible and take responsibility

What Lessons Have You Learned? 

Most people have been part of successful as well as dysfunctional teams. It may have been in the workplace or on the sporting field, regardless, a great team is a great team, and something we all can learn from. A great team is more than a group of people getting the job done, it’s folks banding together in support of each other, and it’s strangers bonding and becoming friends. Likewise a dysfunctional team has many cautionary tales to tell. Great and not so great teams can teach us all how to build better team, and that’s the best tip I have to share. What team building lessons do you have to share? Let me know — I’d love to hear your story.

How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

Does your business have a  management training plan? Many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

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