For any organization to succeed it must have good employees to power it, but employees can’t do it all by themselves, they need help.
Employees today come from all types of diverse backgrounds with different types of education and experience. When you bring these different types of backgrounds and experience together as a team it can have a profound impact on the success of your organization.
A team by definition is a collection of individuals trying to work together to achieve a common goal or objective. It is a grouping of individuals with their own talents, prejudices, ambitions, and fears. The output of any team comes from the interactions of its individual members.
The success of any team is dependent on making the different parts work together. Many companies run into trouble with their teams because they don’t understand that each individual person has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. For a team to be successful it has to be lead, motivated and nurtured. You can’t just assemble a team, turn it on like a machine and then walk away.
A successful team starts with good leadership to inspire the team to creative and innovative action. For this reason, the best team leaders are infectious self-starters. They are active, energetic, and excited about the task. Great team leaders are also doers and good listeners.
First Things First
One of the first roles of a team leader is to help others understand the larger issues at stake. A team that appreciates the importance of its goals will be inspired to greater action. By bringing a broader perspective to the team, you will not only inspire it, you will also help it perform more efficiently. A broader perspective helps the team perceive different possible paths towards its goals.
It’s important to understand that a proper goal begins with the leader’s vision of a task that is desirable and doable. For example, if you want your organization to increase market share by becoming more customer oriented. You know that other companies have done it, and they became more competitive.
Your job is to sell that vision to the team. You have to inspire the team to believe in the goal, and to believe it can achieve it. For example, you could tell your team something like: “Based on your experience and knowledge, find out what we can change so that our company always puts the customer first. This is your task.”
Successful teams live and breathe the short term. They plan longer term, but act for the present. So always begin with the main goal that your entire team is striving for. Then break that goal down into short-term, doable steps.
For team goal setting to be the most effective a long-term goal should not be more than six months and a short-term goal should not be longer than one month. If any of your team goals are pushing past six-months you should break them down into a shorter period. When you work with shorter periods, your team is continuously knocking down fresh goals and objectives, staying motivated and on track. Short-term goals also allow for adjustments. Things change and circumstances or knowledge may require goals to be amended. Changing directions is much easier within a shorter time period.
To be an effective team leader you must understand that people are imperfect human beings with a collection of prejudices, ambitions, and personalities that affect their relationships with other people. On real teams, different personalities will clash and despite talented team members and worthwhile goals, internal conflicts destroy many
One of your most important responsibilities and challenges as a team leader is to adapt your style to the different personalities of your team members. For example, if you are dealing with an analytical person, forget intuition and emotion. You have to present your case analytically, clearly, and logically to this type of a person.
Expressive people, on the other hand, need to get the feel of a project. They need to be emotionally involved. If you are dealing with an expressive person, be open and honest. It’s alright to move quickly because expressive people work better when they are in a hurry.
No one can be completely flexible. So don’t try to be a chameleon changing with every person’s personality. Just remember what type of type of person you are talking to.
Plan for Change
Change is all around us and happens every day. People generally are resistant change and don’t like it. Teams are no different. Since they are made of a collection of different individuals, teams generally don’t like change.
To enable your team to accept and enhance the inevitable changes that will occur constantly and suddenly you must plan for change. Don’t let change sneak up on your team. Let the team plan how change should occur, on what time schedule, with which members.
Sometimes changes occur that the team cannot control. For example, if the company is either bought by or merges with another company. In these cases, the key is communication. The team will be asking questions such as: What is going to happen? How will we be kept informed?
When it comes to change good leadership is essential. You must provide a vision and create positive expectations. The team will support change if the positive results of the change are clearly explained, especially if you keep the team motivated with ongoing support.
Teamwork is vital for success of any organization. Becoming part of a team is a natural part of most people. The majority of employees get their intrinsic rewards and values in an organization from the teaming process. People are social animals that prefer to work together in teams rather than individually. You help your team succeed by being a strong and effective leader.
About the Author
Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and success coaching programs.