Three Tips for Building Teams With Staying Power by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Putting together the right team can mean the difference between creating a successful business and a dysfunctional one. There are a wide range of factors that affect the way a team works together, as well as how each member functions on his or her own. Creating a team that works well together yet contains members that each provide individual value and accountability can be a challenge, but it can be one of your business’ most valuable assets. Consider the following three elements when choosing members for your team.
- There should be diversity. Many leaders seek to create teams that will work well together. This is important, but it doesn’t mean that all members should be similar. The best teams are made up of people who are quite different from each other, bringing unique skills and personalities to the mix. A little friction can even be productive, so long as team members respect each other and can manage conflicts in a professional manner. In fact, differences can provide learning opportunities within the team, as members share their unique skills and traits with each other.
- Roles should be clearly defined. Teams get into trouble when there is ambiguity around roles and responsibilities. While it is important to expect teamwork and a commitment to sharing the load, everyone should know what is expected individually, as well. Each member of the team should be able to work well as an individual as well as part of the team, and every member must be able to carry his or her own weight in the group. Though senior members may train and groom junior members, even the newest members should be in a position to provide value to the team from the beginning.
- Teams should be adaptable. The ability of the team to adapt to changing business requirements is critical. As a leader, you should provide regular feedback to team members individually and as a group. In addition, you should listen to what the team has to say individually and as a group, so that you can adapt together. The best teams have the ability to be fluid. However, this trait is only developed over time spent working together and honest discussion about both successes and failures.
Building the successful team can take time. The first group may not mesh the way you originally expected, and loss of members may make the team seem a bit shaky for a time. By relying on your own expertise and that of your team’s most valuable members, you can recover from mismatches and go on to get the combination of personalities and skills that works best for your organization.
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