Business Information

How you can build a team

Teams are more than simply a group of employees working for the same organization. A team is coherent and its members work together for a common goal.

Teams are good for company morale and can make a significant contribution to the profitability of any business.

But teams have to be built; they don’t just happen. There are certain characteristics of a good team that ideally can be identified and used as criteria during the selection process, including:

• An ability to communicate with those around them
• A desire to get things done and not procrastinate
• The ability to work toward a shared goal
• A diversity of linked aptitudes and abilities

Underlying everything is that a team works together. This may sound simplistic but it’s often difficult to get people to work together in this competitive age. The members of a team overcome individual goals for recognition or reward and find satisfaction in achieving something as a group.

This doesn’t mean they have to submerge their individual personalities to work in a team. The team’s diversity allows everyone to find a place that best suits their own unique combination of aptitudes and abilities. The team becomes a platform that harnesses the strength of all its members in a single cause.

Teams have a broad horizon rather than a narrow focus on individual tasks. Its members see the goal of the team as their personal goal and share resources as required to make sure the team reaches its destination. Wasteful competition for scarce resources or individual praise doesn’t affect the outcome.

This makes a team sound like a manager’s dream – just sit back and let them go to work, but it doesn’t work that way in practice. Without a manager a team can never reach its potential to contribute to the organization of which it’s a part.

That’s not to say that the manager is necessarily going to be a part of the team. The manager’s role is to facilitate what the team is trying to do – to assist the team in every way possible with leadership, motivation and guidance. It would be a rare team that could form itself, then direct its own work to a satisfactory conclusion.

Managers can do so much for a team than they become an integral element in it, but whether or not that’s desirable depends on the circumstances of the individual team. In the beginning the manager may be the one who forms the team. The manager communicates the mission to the team and guides its structure, acting as a sort of mentor and mediator as required.

As the team progresses it’s likely that the manager’s day-to-day involvement decreases, which is why most managers remain external to their teams.

To be effective in directing a team, managers need to have leadership qualities that are very much the same as a field commander in the military. They need to communicate the mission to their team and motivate its members to accomplish the mission.
It also helps a manager to be aware of basic human behavioural principles. Although all team members are working towards a common goal they are individuals who may see different ways of achieving that goal. It’s the manager’s function to coordinate the team’s efforts and prevent any members from going their own way.

The manager keeps members of the team in touch with progress toward the team’s goal, reflecting the company’s viewpoint of their work and their achievements. If any disputes between team members arise the manager needs to be there in the role of arbitrator.

That’s what a team’s all about. It’s a carefully crafted and managed group of people that can accomplish much more together than they could if they worked without the framework of the team. It’s why terms like “staff” and “employees” just don’t mean the same as “team members” to a modern enterprise.
SOURCE NOTE: Bullseye Consulting

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Business Roadmap provides practical business advice for small to medium sized businesses that are trying to overcome problems, or are trying to achieve their vision and full potential. Visit the Business Roadmap website for further information.

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