Team building is an important task for any manager. One can always assemble a team, but building up a team to perform at its best is not a given. As the cliché goes, there is no ‘I’ in team. Every individual contributes to the success – or failure – of the team, and the best way to get to the top is to make sure that the whole team operates as one efficient unit.
Easier said than done. Any team manager would know that dealing with people presents complications. However, this should be taken as a challenge and not as an insurmountable problem. With a little effort, you can build an effective and efficient team that will get the results that you want.
1. Make your expectations clear.
So many relationships and ventures have gone down the drain simply because of muddle expectations. Different people have different expectations at any given time. With expectations come the potential for disappointment and discontent. That is why it is very important that expectations are clearly communicated at the outset. As a manager, you have to make sure that your team members know what you expect from them. You also have to know what they expect from you. If expectations are unreasonable, you can negotiate or clear things up from the beginning. This way, no one will have to experience disappointment due to unmet expectations later on down the road.
2. Communicate your goals.
Along the lines of making everyone’s expectations clear, you also need to make sure that the team’s goals are clear to all the members. The team might have an overall mission – this should be clear to everyone; and with each project that the team takes on, the specific goals should also be clearly outlined and should be understood by everyone. Only by ensuring this can you pave the way to a clear path to achieving the goals.
3. Establish roles clearly.
People think. This is what makes us distinct. You want people who use their minds on your team. However, this could pose problems if the roles that each team member plays are not established. You need to identify who does what, who reports to whom, and so on. Clear channels of communication and established line of command – that will help streamline your team and get more effective results. Once these roles are identified, make sure that each member takes on his responsibility faithfully.
4. Involve the whole team in making decisions.
Being a manager does not mean that you should be a dictator. While you can always choose to go down that path, you might find that it’s not the most effective way to empower your team. Being part of a team does not mean that individuals lose their decision-making abilities. If you want to have a happy and confident team, you ought to make sure that everyone is involved in making decisions – even if only from time to time. The idea is to show your team that their input is valuable, and you will all be better for it.
5. Communicate trust.
One way by which you can communicate trust is by empowering your team members – the point which was raised in the previous section. Trust could very well be the most important value that will hold your team together. If your team members know and feel that you trust them to do their jobs, then they will function better. You simply cannot sit back and not communicate your trust, though. Find ways to convey your trust. Do not micromanage. Do not keep looking over their shoulders.
6. Provide a channel for feedback – both positive and negative.
Feedback is important in any team. It is one way that you can check if things are working the way they are supposed to be. If someone does not do a very good job, then you have to give feedback in a constructive manner. That person deserves to know the how and the why, so that he can proceed to rectify things. Of course, feedback need not always be negative. If a team member does a good job, make sure that he knows it!
7. Make your deadline reasonable.
Deadlines were invented for a reason. They provide a point of focus. However, when you set deadlines, make sure that they are reasonable and that results can be achieved within the time frame. Your people may be competent but it does not mean that you need to push them beyond their limits.
8. Hold regular meetings.
You’ll notice that the common element in all the above is communication. Without communication within the team, you will not achieve much. While communication need not be formal all the time, regular meetings will help in conveying necessary information to everyone. They will lend the formality and organization that is necessary to run things efficiently.