7 Tips for Developing an Effective Team
By: Morton Patterson
Vince Lombardi the great coach of the Green Bay Packers who lead the team to winning nine American Football seasons once said, “Leaders aren't born, they are made…” I am inclined to share that view. It takes time and patience to develop the skills of an effective leader. It also takes time to learn how to build a successful team. I would like to share with you some steps for developing an effective and profitable team.
1: Have a clear vision Clarity inspires confidence in what needs to be done and in the leader. If your team is clear on the objectives, the outcome and what is expected of them, you will engender greater commitment. 2: Learn the values of each and every member of your team Values shape who you are and direct why you do what you do. Each of us has a unique set of values, which are with us at birth and stay with us throughout our lives. There are seven natural values: Sensuality, Empathy, Wealth, Power, Aesthetics, Commitment and Knowledge. When you understand these and how they relate to each member of the team, then you are in a strong position to learn how to motivate them. 3: Communicate, communicate …communicate Lead by example and create an environment of open communication where there is clear respect for everyone„s views. Encourage feedback and openness without reprimand. If you as the leader do not like constructive feedback or see any negative comments as an attack on your sense of self worth or identity then that will be reflected throughout the team. Be prepared to listen as there maybe instances where you could be wrong and more importantly be prepared to say you are sorry. Poor team leaders cannot bring themselves to see that they may be in the wrong and cannot admit their faults. Tell people what you expect of them with honesty and integrity and they will do their best to meet and exceed those expectations. 4: Play to your strength and the strengths of the team As you develop your team, look for people whose strength‟s compliment yours. Working to your strengths is a great way of saving time, reducing frustration and creating a sense of empowerment. This would allow your team to perform in a role or position where they are likely to perform at their best. 5: Gratitude and appreciation Be committed to recognising when someone does something right. Develop a culture for saying thank you, not only when you receive a gift but for the simplest things – working late, doing tasks that does not fall within their job description. Little things mean a lot and people are motivated by a sense of appreciation and value. If you are not prepared to say thank you, you will not develop an effective and harmonious team, they will work with you but not with true commitment. 6: Pick your team carefully Team dynamics is much more important than aptitude. The behaviors, mannerisms and overall interpersonal skills that a team member displays with fellow colleagues or your customers/clients will play an important part in customer and team relationships. Select the people that can contribute, challenge and add value. 7: Commit to helping the team develop their personal and business skills Soft interpersonal skills are very important in business and in life in general, but you must have the aptitude for the role and the ability to complete the task at hand. Create an environment of learning and development where staff have the opportunity to learn and grow. If team members express a weakness or fear regarding a task, then mentor, coach or provide appropriate training and support to help them succeed in the role.
Action Exercises Here are three things you can do immediately to create an effective team. First, complete a values profile of your team to understand their values and how to extrinsically motivate them. Seek out a good coach or organisation that focuses on team development as this will help you to work to their strengths. Second, develop your listening and feedback skills. Practice listening. Resist the urge to interrupt the speaker and focus on what is being said no matter how uncomfortable this may feel. If you are receiving feedback see this as an opportunity for growth, sometimes your greatest opportunities for learning is when you hear tough criticism as opposed to sycophantic platitudes which makes you feel like a great person. At the end of the feedback, repeat what has been said to clarify your understanding as this will show that you are prepared to listen to another view. It takes time to develop this skill but it is worth it. Third, here is a successful method for giving effective feedback which has been used by the organisation Toastmaster International – commend, recommend and commend. Start with what they did well; make a recommendation as to how it could have been better and then end with another commendation. Until next time Morton Patterson