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Seven ways you can build a team to last

If you’ve built a team that works well together then you’ve already won half the battle, but the last thing you probably want to happen now is for the team to fall apart or for members to leave for pastures new.  Although staff turnover and organisational change is inevitable, your aim should still be to build a team that is not only successful, but that continues to perform in the long-term.

Good leadership is essential to achieving this as a good leader will set the standard to work to and be constantly driving to improve performance.  It doesn’t matter whether you are an office-based team, a football team or a construction team the needs are broadly the same.

A good leader also understands their team members; their motivations, their strengths and how to utilize them and how to mitigate their weaknesses.  Here are seven tips to help you build a team that will go distance.

Be aware of yourself and how you work

If you’re leading people you need to be acutely aware of how you work and how you want this to fit in with the skills of your new team. This can be very important when recruiting to make sure you have the right mix of people. You have to question whether your usual style and leadership techniques are good enough and identify any areas where you need to put extra effort in.

How you prefer to work might not be the most efficient way to lead your team and get the most out of others so be willing to critique yourself and identify areas that can be developed to the betterment of the team you are leading.

If you critically examine your leadership style you will be much better placed to be well respected by your team.  This step is even more vital for someone who is a first time leader creating their first team.

Get to know your team members and what makes them tick

If you don’t properly understand your team you won’t be able manage them successfully.  A good leader understands each person’s strengths and weaknesses and how to utilise those strengths and how to help mitigate those weaknesses through training and development.

By taking the time to get to know your team, you will be able to intuitively know when something is wrong; knowing when to trust your team members and when to offer additional support.  Knowing your team will also allow you to delegate the right tasks to the right people.  If your team is a jigsaw, you need to make sure they are put together correctly.

Be very clear about your team’s roles and responsibilities

When you are defining each person’s role you need to make sure you are very clear; often a person’s ideal role may be outside of their job description or incorporate elements from two different roles.  Therefore, it’s vital that you clearly explain how you expect your team to work and the objectives you need them to complete, or else you risk some blurring of the roles and confusion between your team members.

If some tasks are more suited to a different team member it is your job to make sure the workload is distributed fairly but the right person is doing the right tasks which will most benefit the team.

The overriding goal is to make sure the team performs at its peak efficiency and that team objectives are met rather than one or two individuals performing well whilst others are struggling.   A team whose members understand their own roles will feel far more secure in themselves and free to get on with their work.

Be proactive with feedback and ask for feedback from your team

Feedback is the essence of your team knowing they are on the correct path to meeting their own personal goals and the wider team objectives.  As a leader you need to make sure that feedback is given on a regular and consistent basis.

You shouldn’t just wait for a monthly review when something can be said sooner; if it needs saying then say it.  Why wait a few weeks to help correct an error or offer guidance when you can offer help and guidance today. If you make feedback a regular part of the work process the whole team will feel more secure and informed.

Each individual is different and should be treated in their own way so be careful not to single anyone out, either positively or negatively, as this can lead to bad feelings and divisions between your team members.

What’s more, great leaders know that feedback should be a two way thing and should ask for feedback from their team on regular basis.

Reward when required and acknowledge good performance

Everyone likes to be rewarded when they have done well and it is important that a leader acknowledges the good performance of his team both as a group and as individuals.  This fits in well with point 4 regarding feedback. You have to make sure that you take the time to properly recognise your team’s achievements.

A leader should not take the performance of their team for granted simply because they are “Just doing their job.”  If your team feel you notice their good work and offer praise when required this can go a long way to building respect and loyalty with your team.  Knowing they are making a difference to the team and company as a whole helps give them added purpose and drive to achieve their goals and help their colleagues achieve their’s too.

Celebrate success

In the current climate there is a large amount of uncertainty for your employees to deal with on every day.  It is important to take time out to really celebrate success.  This goes beyond acknowledgement to real recognition of success.  Celebrating success will breed more success and drive your team to achieve more.

In the current tough times, with a large amount of negativity and uncertainty prevailing, understanding your success and what drove it can make a huge difference between coasting along and achieving even greater things.  Great leaders understand that the success of their team is due to a large amount of factors and a leader who takes all the credit for their team’s success will cause resentment from their team members. Make sure you properly celebrate success, perhaps even with a theme night for your staff.

Help your team members to be fully prepared for any challenges to come

Every team will have some weaknesses and making sure your team is fully prepared and trained will help your team be more efficient than it would be otherwise. Many newly built teams can struggle to understand each other in the short term and how each person works. By undertaking some team building events and team building activities you can give your team a real boost at the beginning of its life or later on in the cycle.

Team building can be focused on a number of different objectives you want to improve or maybe just reinforce. By properly preparing your teams you will reap the rewards in the long run.

Leaders can only be as successful as the people they are leading and great leaders know that getting the right people in the right roles and making sure their team has the right dynamics and range of personalities make up a huge part of the battle. Once you have the right people and you have fully prepared them you will be set to succeed but you need to keep a careful watch and to make sure you work hard to keep your team running efficiently.

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