Creating a Team that is Built to Last

Having a successful, dedicated team of people around you can make or break your department, organization, or project, but it is very rare it will come together organically. So if it doesn’t happen magically, how do you create an effective, productive team? Few people understand how to create a positive team-work focused environment and fail to foster a sense of belonging, leaving members in the dark and ultimatly hindering the overall success.

The most important thing to keep in mind when building a team is: people need to feel included. Team members need to believe the big picture or the team will never be motivated for success. Even though everyone has specific tasks and jobs, it’s the bigger picture that drives action. Everyone deserves to be a part of the big picture.

A Team Built to Last

Set Clear Expectations

Effective leaders set clear expectations and outcomes for their team members. This includes general team expectations as well as individual goals. It’s easy for leaders to skip this part, because it takes a lot of time and vision to be able to plan out a project start to finish. Consider this, if you don’t know what the expectations should be, how will your team know what to do?

Create Context

Goals and tasks mean nothing without context. Does your team know why do what they do? If not, take the time to give your team context; context for their individual roles, the team’s role and the organization’s story. Layers of context will create a deeper level understanding and encourage them to work harder toward achieving a unified goal.

Make it a Choice

Do team members want to be on the team? Depending on the circumstances of your organization, team members may not have elected to be a part of the team. In this case it’s important to speak to each member individually and see where their skill sets lie and if being a part of the team aligns with their personal goals. Even if participation is mandatory, a team garners more commitment when members are empowered to set direction, establish goals, and make choices.

If membership isn’t mandatory, only recruit those who are passionate and supportive of the cause. It will save you a ton of headaches down the road when work is left unfinished.

Establish Commitment

Now that you know your team members want to be a part of the team, establish a clear commitment policy. This is critical especially when working with unpaid volunteers. Individuals who understand the required level of commitment are more likely to put up or shut up, meaning they’ll get the work done or they’ll forfeit their spot to someone who will take on the work. Teams who work well together, stay together becomes of commitment to each other and the success of their project.

Mission Critical

Team members want to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves. This is why the mission is critical to success. Always put the mission at the forefront of your project, and integrate it into the teams goals.

Value, Praise and Recognition

Each member needs to consistently create value and prove themselves to gain and maintain the respect of other team members. This is easy to do when leaders are open about recognizing individuals for success. Two things happen when you recognize success. 1 – That person feels appreciated and will continue to work hard. 2 – Other team members will strive to match their level of commitment and success. Happy people create happy organizations.

Excitement and Opportunity

Being part of a new project and/or organization should be exciting and full of opportunity. As a leader, it’s your job to keep things interesting and provide new opportunities for your members. You want them to be excited about work because if they’re not, they’ll end up leaving to pursue different ventures.

Is your team built for success?

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