Ever come across the saying ‘there is no ‘I’ in team’? Or this one: ‘Together everyone achieves more’?
You’ve most likely been part of a team countless times over the course of your life – perhaps in the workplace, sports, online gaming or even in a game of paintball. So, what’s all the hype about?
It’s proven that when people work together cohesively and effectively towards a common goal, there is an increased chance the goal will be achieved. Teams are common, but highly effective teams? Now, that takes some work! Having been a team leader myself for several years in a large corporate, high pressure and results-driven organisation, I have firsthand experience in leading and managing teams.
Here are my top seven tips on how to develop team effectiveness:
Where are you going? Think goals!
You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know where you’re going. That makes effective leadership vital, as is ensuring that all team members know what they are aiming for and working towards.
How do you achieve this? You need to lead the team and clearly define the team goals. There are significant advantages to gathering the input of the team on how you will work together to achieve it. This increases buy-in, motivation and ownership, which leads to an increased chance of goal achievement.
Who is doing what? Define roles!
If you have team members with unclear roles and responsibilities, it can take you away from achieving your team goal. You need to identify, define and clearly communicate the role of each individual so that they make a start in fulfilling their accountabilities and contribute to goal achievement.
Efficiency and effectiveness for the best outcome? Utilise strengths!
Know your team members. Identify their strengths. The significant advantage in this is being able to strategically allocate roles and tasks based on strengths, which helps you achieve your team goal easily, efficiently and effectively.
Consultation, motivation and communication? Yes please!
As humans, we need to feel a sense of belonging. What better place than in a team? To achieve this, we need continuous communication and consultation, which keeps your team in the loop on what is developing in the pipeline, allows them to contribute and keeps them motivated. This also makes them feel included and valued.
Regular communication between team members is also an effective way to build team cohesion. If you experience any challenges, pull your team together for a brainstorming session.
Make this meeting motivational – not your typical a sit-down meeting. Get that oxygen flowing by standing up together around a whiteboard. Talk about the problem, and draw from your team’s experience and expertise on how you can get through this – together.
Do we share a bond? Develop team cohesion!
Cohesion can be described as unity and togetherness – a bond that individuals in the team share. Some would say cohesion is what keeps the team working together like a well-oiled machine. This is an extremely important part of team effectiveness.
Cohesiveness is developed over time as individuals get to know each other, develop trust and share experiences in their journey of working together. It involves collaboration and cooperation where individuals work together to achieve the common goal.
Team cohesion can be achieved a number of ways. One of these is through team-building activities and ice breakers when they first meet, which allow individuals to get to know each other.
Are we on track? Measure and monitor performance!
To meet expected outcomes and team goals, it is critical to keep your finger on the pulse. This means measuring and monitoring the performance regularly. How? Communicate expected performance outcomes to team members clearly from the word ‘go’. Check in with your team members one-on-one and meet as a team often to discuss performance. Celebrate areas you are excelling in, and work on an action plan for areas of opportunity to improve.
Don’t forget to support and encourage your team every step of the way – this is the fuel they need to keep persisting and functioning effectively to achieve team goals.
Goal achieved? Recognise, reward and celebrate success!
As a team, you have worked hard to achieve your common goals. So what happens when you have reached them? Celebrate, of course! As humans, we crave positive reinforcement and recognition – this is key to keep motivation levels up and make it all worth it.
It doesn’t have to elaborate or expensive – it can be something as simple as saying thank you, well done, or excellent work. You can celebrate by going out for a team lunch, or recognise staff by giving out informal certificates recognising individual key contribution areas. All these strategies can make staff feel appreciated, and creates a boost of ambition for the next team project.