#340 from Innovative Leader Volume 7, Number 5          May 1998

7 Ingredients to Create a Super Team 
by Margot Robinson

Ms. Robinson is a member of the American Society for Training and Development and the National Speakers Association.  She has published Egos & Eggshells (Stanton & Harper, Greensboro, NC, 1993).  She can be reached by phone at (336) 951-1234 or by email at pathways@vnet.net. www.mrobinson.com

Efficient teams are critical for any business. Wasted energy is spent when a team doesn’t work effectively. To make a team work well together, here are seven techniques that I would like to share with you.

1. What are your team goals? Without a direction, how can a team function? Goals give the team a focus. Everything your team does needs to be about accomplishing those team goals. A dysfunctional team is one that lacks goal focus.

2. How can your team develop or grow? What needs to take place for your team to be more effective? Maybe better communication, understanding differences or a better understanding of the product/service could improve the team development.  Find specific ways for your team to be more effective.

3. Are the roles of your team established? Many members are dissatisfied because they don't know exactly what they’re to do. This could cause in-fighting amongst the members. Plus, time might not be used to its maximum if team members don't have a clear idea of what’s expected of them.

4. Communication must be clear. If team members are afraid to tell other members how they feel or what they think, problems can escalate. Train your team to communicate effectively. These skills will help members speak what’s on their minds instead of holding back information or back stabbing other team members .

5. Your team needs to have a balance to it. No matter where you work, there will be people who do more than others. What happens if you’re always asking those team members to do more than the other team players? They could become burned out or hold a grudge for doing most of the work. You don't want that to happen to your best team members. Plus the other members don't have an opportunity to develop.

6.  When your team does an outstanding job, acknowledging their work. So often I hear, "Our team is not appreciated for what we do." Take time out once a month for a celebration dinner, a fun team activity, pictures of the team put in strategic places around your building so others know what your team has accomplished.  Present a hand-written note to each team member thanking them for their hard work. It’s always the little things in life that count so much. Acknowledgment is a sure way to get your team working even harder.

7.  Empower your team to do what they think is right. It’s hard to do, especially if you are a micro-manager, but the more independent they are, the more they’ll accomplish as a team. Empowerment means "to be in power." If only you are the power source of the team, they will lack ambition and not much will  be accomplished. One of the hardest things to do, but one of the best things you can do for your team members is give them their own power. The benefits for creating a great team will astound you:

   Teamwork will enhance success.

  A team creates more by looking at situations with a different eye. 

  Teams make change easier to deal with. One person responding to change can be difficult, but if you have your team responding to change, opportunities open up faster and you have a better edge on how to handle all the change that continues to come at you.

When you create a winning team, your business will stay more focused. Also the team will contribute more ideas and have a lot more fun at what they are trying to achieve. And please don't forget about the fun part. No one ever said work can't be fun.  Fun makes life a lot more pleasant.

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