But a team is more than just a group of employees thrown together with a common project. In order to be successful, the team must become a cooperative, cohesive group. Successful team members trust and support one another and respect one another’s individual differences.
Your job as a team builder is to guide your team down the path to cohesiveness and productivity. Your diligence can unite employees around a common goal and lead to greater productivity.
The next time you begin building a team, consult these tips for building a successful team.
Select the right number of people. Research shows that smaller teams are more productive than larger ones. They should be large enough to take advantage of diverse skills, but small enough that members feel like an intimate part of the community. One study of software developers found that the best-performing teams ranged in size from three to six members. Whenever possible, limit team size to 10 people or less.
Set ground rules for the team. Before you dive into solving the problem, it’s important to lay the foundation for the process. By understanding the collective values and assessing behaviors, you create a “safe environment” where people are comfortable speaking freely about their opinions, ideas and feelings in a team. Some common ground rules include: starting the meeting on time, coming to each meeting prepared, one person speaks at a time, all members are equal, or how to raise an objection.
Consider every idea as valuable and open for discussion. There is no such thing as a poor idea! Encourage discussion and debate among team members around every suggestion. A respectful but candid disagreement can lead to new ideas. Teams that avoid conflict won’t challenge the status quo or develop new solutions to old problems.
Encourage cooperation and sharing among the team. The success or failure of a team often hinges on the relationships team members establish among themselves. Your job as a team leader is to observe how members work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation, trust and respect when needed. Team building games can help break the ice among new members or encourage everyone to let off steam when a disagreement becomes a shouting match.
By John Benson