How To Maintain a Strong Team
Great teams don’t just happen; they are built and maintained by excellent leaders. There is no cookie-cutter approach to team building, it’s more of an art. Once learned, it can be translated into many different types of organizations. Team building requires understanding people, their motivations, each person’s strengths and weaknesses, and organizational goals. Several vital things must be done to create and maintain a strong team.
Create Clear Expectations
Every company or organization should have a mission statement or vision statement. Effective teams have a clear expectation of what the mission of the group is and how each team member will contribute to the organization’s goals or vision. Leaders should cultivate clarity for their team. Not only should they be aware of goals, but they should also know how their progress will be measured along the way.
Get to “Know” Your Team
Leaders should get to know their team and encourage teamwork among them. One way to be intentional is by speaking to someone on a first-name basis. Try to be genuinely interested in what is transpiring in their lives outside of work. When team members feel respected and appreciate as a person, they bring their best ideas and are motivated to succeed. Encourage employees to bring their “best selves” to work. When a leader knows their team on a more personal level, they can effectively activate the talent around them and match the team members to projects or subject matter that aligns with their strengths.
Provide Continuous Feedback
Feedback is the key to any team staying on track. It should be scheduled and consistent. The worst thing a leader can do is wait until a problem occurs and then give feedback. I often say that an annual evaluation should not be a surprise to anyone in the room. Constant feedback throughout the year is more effective than solely a yearly evaluation. Feedback should be a two-way street. Listen to your team members for suggestions on how you can improve as a leader.
Every team is different. What works with one may not work with another. Following these steps will go a long way in ensuring continuous improvement.