Yep, I went there. Teamwork makes the dream work. A bit of a tired cliché, but frankly, teams are the very essence of most organizational cultures. We know the benefits of working in teams: enhanced employee engagement, improved relationships with colleagues, more creative solutions, gaining an understanding of different perspectives, and the list goes on. Whether it’s a new team that comes together during a merger or restructuring, to tackle a specific project, or a collaboration between different departments, these steps can help turn that new team into a dream team.
Establish a team leader. In some teams, this will be the person managing the individuals. If this is a cross-functional team, it still helps to have the team assign a leader or two who keep everyone on track.
Leverage Diversity: Diversity can mean a host of different things. When it comes to a team, yes, having people of different backgrounds and genders is critical, but diversity can also mean including people with different skill sets and business expertise and levels of experience. Look at the boards of some of the most successful companies and you may notice that there is diversity of expertise. Take a cue from them when assembling teams.
Establish ground rules. While it may sound simple, establishing expectations, deliverable dates, and responsibilities up front will help the team in the long run, as this way each individual understands the importance of their contributions to the larger group.
Course correct: It would be lovely if teams came together, did what needed to be done, and all got along swimmingly. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but it rarely happens! Personal agendas, office politics, challenging personalities, and egos so often get in the way. When that happens, have open conversations to remind people that this is a group effort and that everyone’s input and efforts are important to the outcome.
“R before T” (relationship before task): I credit this tip to my favorite professor from graduate school, who started each class with a time for us to share personal updates and catch up. It did bring us closer, and helped us to understand each other beyond our studies and view each other as human beings!
Celebrate team success: It can be something as small as a round of applause, a personal thank you note to each team member, a team lunch or happy hour. Marking milestones is crucial, as it lets the team know that they are on the right path or have accomplished what they set out to do.
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