Great teams very seldom achieve success without a strategy that unites and motivates all team members effectively, and ensures they are working together towards achieving a common goal. This is why building effective teams is so important in business. Read on to learn how to build an effective team in the workplace and maintain effectiveness long-term.
What makes an effective team?
In nearly all cases, successful sports teams succeed because each team member knows their specific role. They are encouraged to play to their strengths by a strong manager who is firm but respectful, and who communicates clearly with everyone under their guidance.
Footballing underdogs Leicester City and the Portuguese national team rose to the top during 2016, despite being undervalued by professionals, journalists, the general public and even themselves. Boosted by motivational managers and exceptional team ethics, each squad achieved glory and reinvigorating hope for lesser-fancied teams. They proved everyone wrong.
Top tips for building effective teams
There are lessons here for all teams, in business especially. Employees, if they are to thrive, must be properly engaged, empowered and rewarded. So, with that in mind, here are seven key points to consider for building effective teams in the workplace.
1. Understand each team member’s strengths
The first step on the path to success is understanding how each team member fits into the overall picture. An effective manager will quickly set out to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. They will assign tasks based on those attributes, offer development opportunities to help improve weaker areas, and – most of all – ensure goals are set with these individual and collective strengths and weaknesses in mind.
Related article: Using employee skills management to drive productivity
2. Set team goals
A team is more than just a group of unconnected people who sit near each other in an office – or at least it should be. There’s much more to think about and there are plenty of studies out there on how successful teams work.
Employee happiness and team satisfaction are paramount. They’re both important for maintaining a productive equilibrium but for also achieving the goals you set, which should be one of the first things you do.
3. Develop leadership skills
Leadership doesn't just come from above. The most effective teams achieve their goals because each of its members is a leader in their own right. Following on from the first point: each team member should have their own strengths, and they must be comfortable sharing knowledge and leading others so the whole unit is working to a high standard.
A good manager will give opportunity for those employees to share their specialism(s) with other team members. In turn this will help them develop leadership, communication, and also (most importantly) improve the team’s overall effectiveness.
Related article: Developing leadership skills in employees
4. Value each team member
Managers should know how each of their team members responds to criticism and how best to treat and motivate them if they want the best results. They should value each employee accordingly and empower them to shape their own professional future. Manage this correctly and you’ll have a team that knows where its future lies and how it can get there.
5. Develop effective team communication
Communication, trust and transparency are the three pillars your team should always adhere too. Constantly communicating your team objectives and goals will ingrain your ambition into the team ethic and ensure everyone is on the same page.
6. Reward handsomely
Rewards are big motivators in any team-based situation. An attractive rewards package promotes good feelings and encourages all team members to work hard. Fair individual pay packages will keep each employee motivated.
It was well publicised during Leicester City’s winning season; Claudio Ranieri promised his team pizza after every match it won, a treat otherwise banned due to its not-so-nutritious value to footballers. This alone wasn’t responsible for the team’s success, but along with other factors, it certainly helped the team on its way to glory.
7. Get to know each other
Team-building is central to creating a cohesive unit. Yes, these types of exercise – team nights out or adventure weekends – are important to help build an immediate bond. But by doing non-work activities, you’ll also hopefully help to develop longer-lasting friendships that exist beyond the workplace.
The knock-on effect? These new friendships will seep back into the workplace; new friends will motivate each other and contribute to a better-performing team unit. This is truly important for building effective teams!
Written by Andrew Williams
Andrew Williams writes for Portfolio CBR, a recruitment specialist which focuses on compensation, benefit and reward roles.