|Teams have been touted as a way to replace managers, evoke initiative, assist in leadership development and save the Queen. In reality, the synergy that's possible in teamwork usually turns out to be chaos. Here are 10 tips on making the most of your team.
1. Give the team (or have them create) a big enough vision or outcome.
If the goal isn't bigger than the personalities of the team members, the team's effectiveness will be mediocre, due to ego.
2. Train all team members in the standards of behavior of the team's communication, response and interaction.
These ground rules are designed to keep the team's communication clean and make team membership mean something. Bad attitudes, delayed responses, nattering, gossipping, whining or politicking are grounds forexplusion.
3. Have the team vote the Team Leader.
Leadership is still required in a team environment. Not a manager, but a Team Leader. A Team Leader should have the confidence of everyone and not the person with the power to hire and fire, unless the members are ok with that.
4. Install structures to support the team and keep it moving.
Daily or weekly reporting, public display of team goals/results,etc., helps everyone on the team get that they ARE on a team and that the team is accomplishing something.
5. Teams need a member/manager who manages the details and flow of idea sand information.
Have one team member be the person who makes sure that ideas are catalogued, agreements are kept, promises are made and that input from team members "goes" somewhere good and not into the ethers.
6. Include periodic meetings where the agenda is how the team can work better together -- and no other agenda for that meeting.
It's KEY that two things happen, otherwise these "effectiveness"meetings become too personal/venting/gripe sessions. First, make it aground rule that any unresolved/uncommunicated issues among/between team members must be completed resolved PRIOR to the next effectiveness meeting. This will help the meetings be positive and healthy progress/bragging sessions vs hurtful or finger-pointing slugfests. Second, have every team member make one suggestion for team effectiveness improvement prior to the meeting, so they can propose it during the meeting.
7. Know when a team approach is called and know when it's "not enough."
8. Continual, accurate and frequent acknowledgement.
A big part of what makes the synergy of a team work is that individual team members are publicly acknowledged for what they've done to help the team and/or forward the outcome/goal. However, keep this praise accurate vs manipulative puffery.
9. Team meetings should be exciting moments of creating, not reporting.
Pose a great question or significant problem for the meeting,don't make it be a boring reporting session -- that's why God invented email and copy machines. If there's any reporting to do, keep it short shares about the wins and progress.
10. Teams work best when people enjoy each other's company.