Apr 11, 2017 4:00:00 PM

Building Great Teams

Employee performance optimization – the practice of analyzing and improving individual workers, has long been the norm when it comes to improving productivity. However, more and more companies are electing for team-based operations these days. The Harvard Business Review reports that the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more.

Studies show that people working in teams are innovative and solution-focused. They work together to achieve top-tier results and often report higher job satisfaction.

So, what does it take to build a great team?

1. Riding the Line

Not everyone responds well to a competitive environment. Creating healthy competition means improving communication and identifying issues before they become a problem. A great team leader knows how to effectively ride the line between healthy competition and workplace politics.

2. Diversify

Your team doesn’t have to hail from the same background in order to be productive. In fact, sometimes a diversity of experience can help to build bridges and encourage creativity. The key is to foster a team atmosphere where group dynamics are at the forefront. Often times in a well-established team, members get along better as a group than as individual friends.

3. Build Communication

Google’s Project Aristotle, is a multi-faceted research initiative based on looking at how teams function. One of their main findings is that there are no specific patterns of effectiveness within groups. They found that it does not matter who is on the team, rather the focus should be on how the group communicates. Institute team-building initiatives and set an example by fostering understanding and awareness. Open communication leads to team efficiency.

4. Establish Community

Setting up a group to prosper depends largely on establishing group norms from the get-go. What is the etiquette of the group? Does anyone socialize outside of work? Is there a hierarchy? While these may differ from team to team, the key is to introduce players who fit with the established norms of the group.

5. Distribute Work Evenly

Collaborative overload is a real thing and can greatly affect the dynamics of the team. In group settings, often one or two people will shoulder the workload for the whole unit. It’s important to recognize when this starts happening, jumping in to delegate tasks evenly.

6. Encourage Boundaries

Boundaries are a healthy and necessary component to any collective endeavor. A large percentage of people are not equipped to set reasonable boundaries, their limits often being obscured by a need for achievement or worse, a fear of speaking out. Defining boundaries and giving team members agency to create their own will help to economize workflow.

Teams are fast becoming the fundamental unit of organization in many companies. Interestingly, what matters most in constructing a great team is the psychology behind it. Forget functionality, take a look at interactions between team members and the connections we form when working together. If done correctly, you will create an efficient and profitable team with a relatively small margin of error.


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