Developing a strong team

Whether you are leading a team at work or at your voluntary organization, you already know that the success of that team depends on having a strong team morale. As different people have different point of views, different talents and different backgrounds, it is up to the team leader to create an atmosphere where differences are not only accepted but also embraced. So how do we create this atmosphere?

Having a common vision
The first step in developing a stronger team is having a strong, inspiring common vision. This can be the organizations missions statement, or a mission specially developed by your team. If you choose to develop a team vision, make sure you include each team member in the process, as this will create ownership.

The common vision will be a strong fundament for team members on which they can excel as a team in achieving the goals.

Knowing the roles
A few years ago the Harris polling group did a research on what makes team effective. One of their findings was that of those surveyed, only 19% stated that they know exactly what their role was in the success of the organization. And even when team members know what their tasks are, they will feel less passionate if they don’t realize the importance of their role or the added value that they bring into the team.

As a team leader; clearly establishing the roles, communicating them and getting your team members to buy into them, is one of your major tasks to ensure team success.

Embracing differences
Once you have established clear ideas and expectations of the each team member’s role, and every team member has bought into it, next thing to work on is to create the atmosphere where differences are appreciated and respected. As not all men are alike, might it be in ethnical or sociological background, education or just in the talents they possess, team members must realize that it are the differences that create the competitive advantage for the team.

In fact, nowadays there are so many examples to show that teams with more diversity often achieve better results than others.

Clear communication
Communication is the key to success. Stronger yet, the lack of it can be the reason for teams to fail. As a team, set clear expectations and rules for how you communicate. Communication guidelines should ensure that there is clear and concise communication, both verbal and written. Team members must feel confident and safe enough to address any issue as quickly and honestly as possible. If necessary, get a professional communication trainer or coach to help develop better communication skills and a better team communication.

Lead by example
The days where the leader stood aside screaming out orders are long gone. For a leader to be effective and to ensure you get everyone teamed up to achieve goals, you need to set a clear example. Team members need to see that you are one of them and that your contribution to the team’s success is as much as theirs.

If beating deadlines is important, make sure you beat yours. If you expect your team members never to withhold relevant information from you, don’t withhold information from them.

Once you’ve set the right environment for your people to work together as an effective and efficient team, success will be inevitable. Taking up the role as an exemplary, serving leader will keep the success of your team lasting for a long time.

Check out this video for some nice insights about teamwork and collaboration from the 2009 Cisco CEO, John Chambers.

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