Have you ever had to put together a team? Chances are you have, and you may have had some challenges.
I am going to make your life a little easier by providing you with five simple tips you can apply when creating your next committee, task force, or any other team.
Whether it be professional or personal, the first aspect of an effective team starts with an effective leader.
According to Rodger Trapp, a Forbes contributor, finding good leaders is always a challenge for organizations. This is an issue since the leader sets the pace and expectations of the team. One of the main reasons leaders are not effective is due to a lack of self-awareness. To be a good leader you need to understand your leadership style and determine how effective it is for your team. You may be a transformational leader who likes to motivate others and initiate change. Perhaps you are a laissez-faire leader who gives the authority and decision-making to the team. Or, maybe you are a transactional leader who values structure and order. To be effective you need to understand your leadership style and how it fits the needs of your team.
Next, you should understand how your team works and communicates.
According to Forbes contributor Glenn Llopis “Fully knowing your team means that you have invested the time to understand how they are wired to think, and what is required to motivate them to excel beyond what is expected from them.” In my firm we use the Emergenetics Model to assess individual thinking and behavior preferences to help teams achieve effective communication. It allows team members to understand their colleague’s preferred communication and learning styles. For instance, let’s say you have a team member with a thinking preference in social thinking, this preference tends to like when you ask them about their family or how their weekend was before diving in to the meeting. However, this is not typically the case for a team member who is an analytical thinker. This individual probably does not want to talk about their personal life. Instead, they would prefer to talk about the data related to the upcoming project and getting straight to the point.
Next, you should gain the trust of your team members.
Whether it be as the leader or team member, creating trust among the group is essential in moving forward with any project or task as a team. In Stephen Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust he talks about behaviors that create trust, one of which is creating transparency. Covey states that creating trust is essential to growth. The way to create transparency is by being open and delivering truths that are verifiable. Being dishonest immediately stops the trust building process resulting in an ineffective team.
Another important factor is setting clear and reasonable expectations in a way your team can understand.
Not only do you need to clearly communicate your expectations to the team. You also need to know how your team members take in those expectations. For example, a person with analytical thinking, may not need a lot of details. They prefer to hear the bottom line of what you are expecting and prefer data over details. Someone with structured thinking wants to know the guidelines, rules, and regulations. This thinking preference is very precise and methodical.
Last make sure to create a feedback loop and value all ideas.
In every group there are those who are more talkative, gregarious, and always willing to give you feed back. But what about those you describe as quiet and introspective? How are you getting them to contribute to the group? For team members who are quiet and reserved, ask them to contribute via email. They have great ideas but may be reluctant to share it in a group setting.
To recap first, your team needs an effective leader who understands their own leadership style and how it fits the needs of the team. Second you should understand how the team prefers to work and communicate. Third, you should gain the trust of the team. Fourth, you need to set clear and reasonable expectations. Last, create a feedback loop and value all ideas and feedback.
Stephen Covey: The Speed of Trust
Geil Browning: Work that Works