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How to build an effective team?

In a performance-driven world, building effective teams is the key to success. While strong leadership is a powerful force behind any team, creating one that works harmoniously, motivates itself and has the flexibility to accommodate change is where half the battle is won.

So, what is the secret to building effective teams? Well, you might be surprised to hear that it’s simpler than you think. Of course, when working with individuals and their unique personalities it is inevitable that compromise will need to be made. But with the right amount of nurture, personal development and support it’s possible for any group of individuals to fly when they’re working towards a common goal. Here’s how…

According to Bruce Wayne Tuckman’s stages of group development, there are four phases of group development: forming, storming, norming and performing. According to him, all these phases are vital (and inevitable) for a team to grow, handle challenges, overcome problems, find solutions, work together well, and deliver results.

With this in mind, building effective teams is not always plain sailing. In fact, it’s completely normal for conflict to arise, particularly around power and status, before the group moves on to working successfully and smashing targets.

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Clearly Defined Roles & Goals

Before any team can start working towards success, they need clearly defined goals. This may be straightforward, depending on the situation. Or it may be more complex. What is important is that goals are defined with specific targets and timeframes before anything else. When goals are clearly defined, your team will be clear about what they are working towards, allowing them to formulate a plan (under strong leadership) of how to get there.

Once a goal has been defined, roles must be assigned. Each person should know what their role is within a team, their individual goals, and understand the route they must take to get there. Depending on the specified goal, this may be laid out very clearly from the beginning, or it may be thrashed out by the team in the brainstorming session.

However, what is vital is that prior to even getting into the nitty-gritty of the task or project is that everyone is clear about what it is they must do, why they are doing it, and how to get there.

 

Open Communication
Whether your team is made up of two people or 20 people, communication is key to performance. In very broad terms, that means encouraging members of the group to share their ideas, voice their concerns and propose new ways of working without fear.

Further to this, it is important to figure out ways in which your team will make decisions or solve problems. There’s no doubt that throughout the course of a project or task that issues will arise, particularly in the storming group stages. But it is how the team communicate and deal with these issues that will determine their success, so having robust plans in place for when this happens is vital.

Nurture Innovation and Creativity
In many cases, the most successful solutions to bumps in the road or hiccups during a project are discovered when you allow a team to be innovative and creative. Therefore, making space for this and facilitating collaborative working where team members can bounce ideas off one another can be more productive than you expect.

Of course, boundaries and ground rules are also important to ensure a team stays on track and on task. But allowing a little flex, nurturing and rewarding innovation when it arises is key to a strong and effective team.

 

Check-In Regularly
Giving team members the freedom to do their assigned job shows that you have faith in their ability. But you do need to check-in every now and again. This can be on an individual or group level, at set intervals throughout the project.

Doing this helps you to monitor the progress of the team as a whole and check-in on individual team members to ensure they’re working effectively. While having an open and communicative team should help to bring any challenges or problems to light, making time for one-on-one check in’s gives greater control and can shine a light on processes that should be changed or tweaked.
Ideally, when forming a team, you should assign roles based on strengths. But as a project or a team develops, you may notice that certain individuals would be better suited doing something else or taking on further tasks. Checking in with everyone will help keep a team on the rails and ensure they continue to work together effectively.

Recognise and Reward Achievement
Keeping morale high within a team helps to keep everyone motivated and driving forwards. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to recognise and reward achievement. This can be done by using incentives at key intervals throughout a project, or when certain milestones have been reached.

For some businesses, reward and recognition come in the form of monetary bonuses, but there are other ways of doing this too. For example, rewarding employees at an award ceremony recognising their achievement can be a fantastic way to motivate and inspire. Further to this, events such as away days or trips out can be hugely motivating.

Whatever form it takes, recognising the strengths and achievements of team members is important to push them on to continue reaching and exceeding their goals.

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Use Team Building Activities

There is always room for improvement, even in high performing teams and team building presents the opportunity for groups of individuals to grow together, learn how to work more effectively and communicate with one another.

Team building can take many forms, from small activities and icebreakers to more structured activities or outdoor pursuits. By regularly engaging your team in these types of activities they will progress in their effectiveness as a team by improving communication, problem-solving skills, having fun and getting to know each other better.

For more information and advice on team building activities, conferences and other events, contact us today. We specialise in planning, organising and hosting fantastic events across the UK to help you build more effective successful teams.

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