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Building a high performing team involves more than just assembling a group of talented individuals. For a team to be effective, its members must unite behind an inspiring vision and be motivated to bring that vision to life.
They must share clear, measurable goals, and be committed to playing their part in delivering what the team has been tasked with achieving.
Here are some key steps to building a strong, cohesive and effective team.
Clearly define the purpose of the team, including the overall outcome it has been brought together to achieve. What do you want to create, improve or change? What is the purpose of each person’s role in the team? Providing a clear, inspiring vision sets the foundation for successful teamwork, and helps guide the direction of the group when they face challenges and decisions.
High performing teams are comprised of individuals that passionately embrace the vision, believe their contribution is meaningful and are motivated to give their best effort. They also share the values of trust, respect and support. Select members with complementary skills and abilities, who can offer the team a diverse range of viewpoints and ideas. Try and achieve a good balance of personality types, so the group can work together harmoniously but also challenge each other when necessary.
Once the team is established and united behind a shared purpose, the next step is to break the vision down into smaller, manageable goals and tasks. Outline the required tasks in a schedule, with agreed deadlines, milestones and responsibilities. Decide the role that each team member will play. Be sure to also consider any resources required in terms of time, materials, space, support and money.
To ensure that each member understands what is expected of them, define a standard of conduct for the team. Will communication be frequent, open, honest and transparent? Will contributions be encouraged, valued and recognised? Will conflict be handled in a constructive way? Will team decisions and feedback be respected? Setting clear standards at the start will ensure that each member’s conduct and contributions are appropriate.
Regularly review the group’s performance through team meetings and one-on-one catch-ups to ensure that progress is being made toward goals. Reflect on questions such as:
Monitoring and reviewing progress allows for adjustments and improvements to be incorporated into team processes along the way.
Make the time to regularly recognise, reward and celebrate both team and individual performance. This will help to build morale and bolster the motivation of the group to continue their hard work. Find the most appropriate way to celebrate team milestones, such as a personal ‘thank you’ at a team meeting, an email copied to senior managers, or a team lunch. Ensure that recognition is consistent, and that the method you choose inspires and reinforces the team members to continue their positive contribution to the team’s progress.