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Building Effective Teams

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Posted 13 December 2013 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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These can be tailored to your specific needs.
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You may find the following will help with your people management skills.

Building an effective team

An effective team is a valuable asset

An effective team has the ability to pool its mental, intellectual, emotional and material resources in such a way, that the performance of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, meaning: that if the members work together well as a team, then, it is possible to get an extraordinarily good performance from a group of people that are individually just, ordinary folk.

On the other hand, if the team is not working well together, then it would be possible to get a terrible performance from a team made up of people who are, individually, very able, but as a team, they mess things up. Example: RBS bank.

  • How can you get a great performance from the team?
  • How can you stop great people from messing up, when they come together to make a team?

These are good questions.

Here are the answers.

  1. Ensure that the goal is communicated to every member of the team in clear and specific terms.
  2. Ensure that the plan is well formed and is communicated to every member of the team, so that everyone is sure what part they play, in the whole.
  3. Take notice of feedback from those people in the team who are implementing the plan.
  4. Act immediately if any member of the team is acting in an aggressive, or a lazy, or a dishonest manner, since a poor work atmosphere caused by one person can disrupt the productive performance of the whole team.
  5. Use positive motivators, such as praise, rewards and appreciation. Avoid the use of negative motivators such as fear, threats, or ridicule.

Let us write a few notes on each one.

1. Ensure that the goal is communicated to every member of the team in clear and specific terms

Teams only exist when there is a common purpose. If the common purpose is not commonly known, then the team will fall apart. Therefore, it is imperative that the leadership management team strive endlessly to communicate the goal; the purpose; the big picture vision, so that everyone in the organisation understands exactly what it is we are trying to do. Failure to do this will mean the team will fall apart.

2. Ensure that the plan is well formed and is communicated to every member of the team so that everyone is sure what part they play in the whole

Not only must the big picture be in the mind of every member of the group, the plan must be well designed and properly communicated. To the degree that it is possible, the maximum amount of information must be made available to each, and every, member of the team so that they all know exactly what is expected of them, and why it is expected of them.

Failure to do this will cause a failure of motivation.

3. Take notice of feedback from those people in the team who are implementing the plan

Since the plan is written by one set of people; but is implemented by a different set of people, there must be a free flow of feedback information from the "front line troops" to the managers back at HQ.

The feedback comes in two flavours. Bitter and sweet. Positive and negative.

  • Positive feedback is when the workers can see the current plan is working well.
  • Negative feedback is when the workers can see the current plan is not working well.

The point is this:

  • Good teams develop a good flow of information up and down the hierarchy, between the managers and the workers, that allows negative feedback to be used constructively to improve the plan of action.
  • Poor teams don't use negative feedback very well. And thus they repeat last weeks mistakes, this week. And they will repeat the same mistake again next week and the week after. Eventually the whole enterprise fails due to a lack of communication.

Don't let this be your fate.

Open up the lines of communication and take negative feedback from the team, seriously.

4. Act immediately if any member of the team is acting in an aggressive or lazy or dishonest manner, since a poor work atmosphere caused by one person can disrupt the productive performance of the whole team

All good teams rely on the honesty and good character of the members. If the team has Blaggards in its ranks, then to that degree, it is flawed. And it will fail.

Let us define a Blaggard, as any member of the group who acts in ways that are:

  1. Physically or verbally aggressive.
  2. Lazy. Bone idle.
  3. Dishonest. (Thieving or lying).

No organisation can survive for long if it is morally flawed.

To the degree to which it is bad, is the degree to which its days are numbered. Eventually the customers will realise something is wrong. Example: Enron.

5. Use positive motivators, such as praise, rewards and appreciation. Avoid the use of negative motivators such as fear, threats, or ridicule.

It is possible to motivate through positive motivators. They are: money, praise, appreciation, and opportunity for achievement.

It is possible to motivate people with threats, fear, punishment and ridicule. But don't do it this way. It makes for a poor atmosphere and the manager that does it will end up with a failing team.

Use positive motivators more than you do use the negative motivators.

Here are the answers.

  1. Ensure that the goal is communicated to every member of the team in clear and specific terms.
  2. Ensure that the plan is well formed and is communicated to every member of the team.
  3. Take notice of feedback from those people in the team who are implementing the plan.
  4. Act immediately if any member of the team is acting in an aggressive or a lazy or a dishonest manner.

Use positive motivators, such as praise, rewards and appreciation.

Please follow this link to our team building training course

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