At North Star, we’re not only interested in the IT and computer network side of your business. We care about your success on many levels. Working within teams is something we see our clients dealing with each and every day. We hope you’ll find these team-building tips helpful.
Great Ideas to Build Strong Teams in Your Business
Organizations of all kinds use work teams or project teams to do ongoing work of a specific nature or to complete one-time projects. Accordingly, building strong teams that function efficiently and consistently produce high-quality work is critical.
Yet building a strong team can be difficult. It is possible to put together a group of talented individuals who are unable to work effectively as a team. The following tips are designed to assist a manager or other workplace leader who is attempting to build and manage a team.
- When choosing team members, consider interpersonal skills as well as particular skill sets. An effective team cannot include prima donnas or loners. Where possible – when two or more candidates have the required skill set – favor the person who demonstrates a willingness and an ability to interact intensively with other team members.
- Require buy-in from each team member. However talented the individuals that the organization has made available, it’s important that each person express a commitment to working on the team and contributing to its goals. If a potential team member has competing commitments or shows a lack of enthusiasm, another candidate should be sought.
- Mix work and fun. People who will be working intensively together – whether indefinitely or for a limited period – need times to laugh and relax. Encourage opportunities for fun – such as light-hearted contests, the adoption of a team mascot, or team member nicknames. Obviously, these efforts must be monitored and kept under reasonable control.
- Where possible, operate cross-functionally. Avoid segregating groups within the team according to skill set. For example, with a team that includes technical people as well as designers and communications professionals, ensure that the designers and communications personnel are invited to some of the technical meetings. While they might not understand all the technical issues, it’s important for them to be aware of the technical developments and to have opportunities to contribute their perspectives.
- Listen to and empower team members. While the team’s objectives are determined by the organization, team members should be encouraged to honestly express their views about the best way to achieve those objectives. Rely on the expertise and the ingenuity of highly motivated team members.
- Foster and facilitate a broad range of team communications. Team meetings should occur at least on a weekly basis, and minutes or notes should be distributed subsequently. In addition, use e-mails, instant messaging, impromptu meetings, phone conferences and other available means to ensure that all members are kept informed. Some degree of information redundancy can be expected.
- Celebrate successes. It’s very important that each important milestone of the team’s work be celebrated. These celebrations can be held at the office – Friday afternoons are often a good time – or at a nearby restaurant or bar (as long as most members are willing to attend an event outside the office).
Building an effective team is partly an art and partly a science. Of course, effective leadership is a necessary ingredient. Finally, whole-hearted organizational support – including the provision of all necessary resources – is required for a team to function optimally.