“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” - Andrew Carnegie
Not everyone is a born leader, and it is not an easy skill for people who have never managed others to learn. One sign of a good leader is the success of their teams and those teams' ability to function productively even when the leader is not present. Managers who lead with trust, transparency, and honesty are typically much more successful than those that attempt to lead with fear and intimidation. Following are a few additional helpful hints for setting up successful teams.
Take time to get to know your team – Team members will bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table. They will have varying experiences, education, personalities, and ways of doing things. It will be important to know what motivates each member of the team what might have the opposite impact. If you are a team's new manager, take plenty of time to listen at the outset. Careful attention to what your employees say and do will reveal a great deal about what motivates them, how they approach their tasks, and what their short-term and long-term goals are.
Communicate, communicate, communicate – As you listen, remain open to new ideas and suggestions. Ask for feedback and opinions, and be open to taking action based on the information you receive. Also encourage members to share information with each other, as this will help foster trust within the team. Sometimes teaching employees to hear one another can be more important and complicated than getting them to provide input. Furnish everyone with the opportunity to be heard and not feel judged negatively for expressing their ideas. As ideas are offered, provide proactive and constant feedback.
Define clear roles and responsibilities - It is important to clearly define team objectives and goals as well as what each member’s contribution toward those objectives should be. That doesn’t mean delegating every task. Open-ended projects allow members to determine the best solutions and encourage them to cooperate and solve problems together. Timeframes and deadlines should be set and adhered to. One precise way to accomplish this is to document each employee's goals and progress in an integrated Human Capital Management system. Maintaining information in this way will keep objectives clear and transparent, and it will allow employees to see their standing at any given time. The information collected will also be invaluable when it comes to performance evaluations. People take pride in ownership; so make sure team members own their tasks.
Encourage brainstorming – Sometimes the first answer isn’t always the right answer. Ideas evolve as different perspectives are considered and discussed. It's important to have a clear vision of the big picture from all angles and not just one little snapshot.
Celebrate successes with acknowledgement and rewards – Make sure that both individual and team efforts are acknowledged, recognized, and appreciated. Successes and milestones should be celebrated, even if that celebration comes in the form of a simple commendation. People want to feel like they are making a difference and have a hand in the organization’s success.