Teamwork is an essential component of any company and can be the difference between success and failure. Effective teams need people with different skills, backgrounds, and personalities to succeed.
But as a leader, you have to play a far more hands-on role to make sure the group works well together and remains focused on the right priorities.
So, what does it take?
Here are five tips to help you build an effective team.
Building an effective team requires everyone to know the goals. Not just individual but company goals, too. Goals help align actions and activities and serve as a benchmark in success and challenges.
Goals need to be clear and measurable. Jim Collins, the author of the best-selling management book Good to Great, says, “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any.”
The point is, don’t overwhelm the team with a dozen priority goals. Instead, keep it simple and answer, “where are we going and how are we going to get there.”
Quality Contact Solutions uses Frankly Covey’s The 4 Disciplines of Executions for setting goals, specifically focusing on the “wildly important” or what’s known as “Wildly Important Goals” (WIG’s).
For those unfamiliar, a WIG is a great and simple concept! Simply identify where you are now, where you want to be, and by when.
Steven Covey, the co-author of The 4 Disciplines of Execution, says, “Focusing on the wildly important requires you to go against your basic wiring as a leader to do more, and instead, focus on less so that your team can achieve more.”
According to Franklin Covey’s research, only 15% of employees know their most important goals – either there are no goals, or they have too many. That’s a problem easy to solve; focus on less to accomplish more!
Keep a Consistent Score and Share Regularly
We are all hardwired to give more effort and work harder when we know what the score is. But, if you don’t keep score, how do you know if you are winning or losing or on the right track to success?
The important thing is that all team members have access and know how they’re doing with the goal.
Quality Contact Solutions provides a weekly scorecard update to the entire company. The scorecard shows at a glance where the company stands with the WIG’s.
Communication plays a significant role in building effective teams and applies to both the leader and every team member. Teams exist because they are effective in achieving goals, especially when the goal is well-defined.
It’s essential to make time for collaborative team communication rather than only one way. For example, setting aside time for meetings, quick check-ins, or project updates can help your team build trust and communicate effectively.
Moving to a virtual or hybrid workplace can make communication more complicated, but it doesn’t have to.
A Great Place To Work offers this advice for communication with remote teams:
- Show empathy, and remember we’re all human
- Say “good morning”
- Convert in-person meetings to video meetings
- Build camaraderie with a virtual “water cooler’
- Invest in internal messaging tools
- Grow personal connections with fun
Effective communication builds strong teams.
Establish an Environment of Trust
Trust is the foundation of any lasting relationship, professional or personal, and not developed overnight.
Virtual workplaces can make it harder for a leader to cultivate trust and build an effective team, but it doesn’t have to.
Trust is essential for in-person and remote teams. Without it, an employee is likely to be less motivated and productive. According to Harvard Business Review, workers at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, exhibit 50% percent higher productivity, and experience 40% less burnout.
Here are effective ways to build trust in the workplace:
- Admit when you’re wrong or don’t know something; openly discuss your mistakes
- Communicate openly and frequently
- Encourage transparency
- Highlight team member successes
- Be honest
- Hold team-building events regularly (yes, even in a virtual environment)
Let People Learn From Mistakes
What do chocolate chip cookies, Slinky’s, and Post-it notes have in common? They were all created by making a mistake.
Failure, mistakes, and mishaps help employees learn and grow, so why aren’t there more conversations around this topic? When people are scared to make mistakes say goodbye to innovation. Just think, where would we be without chocolate chip cookies?
We all make mistakes. If we aren’t, wouldn’t that be boring? I can’t imagine a place where I would create an environment in my home where my children felt like they couldn’t make a mistake. Isn’t that part of learning? When my 17-year-old son was newer to driving, he backed out of the garage and accidentally ripped a side mirror off his car. Guess who is more aware of backing out of the garage now? It was a mistake, and he learned from it.
We’ve all been there.
Leaders can build an effective team by encouraging failure, embracing out-of-the-box thinking, and allowing their employees to make mistakes.
Entrepreneur.com has a great piece called “Why Embracing Failure Is Good for Business.” It points out that if we’re never failing, we’re probably not winning either.
Steph Korey, the author of the article, said that as a leader, she shares her failures with her team to set the expectation that they can be comfortable doing the same thing. However, she also points out that it all starts at the top.
As a leader, have a lot on your shoulders. It’s up to you to lay the foundation and chart the course to help your team succeed.
Megan Hottman is the Copywriter & Editor for Quality Contact Solutions. Megan’s experience includes working in sales and marketing for a Fortune 100 company for many years. Megan has been both a client and an employee of QCS, so she knows first-hand the quality, productivity, and passion the team brings to work on a daily basis. You can reach Megan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-656-5120.