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7 Best Practices to Building Great Teams

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Team engagement. It may sound like a corporate buzzword, but it is far more important than that. Large and small organizations have learned the value of engaged teams and how they affect profitability and the longevity of a company. So it should come as no surprise that companies are competing for and rewarding great team leaders who can turn around disengaged teams, increase employee performance and boost the bottom line.

If you’d like to join their ranks, here are some proven ways to keep your teams engaged, motivated and working with passion:

  1. Let each team member shine

    For any team to succeed, positive reinforcement from leadership is critical. Show each of your team members you value them by sharing their successes when they happen. You can do this by sharing positive client feedback or just sharing something positive from your own observation. Calling out a team members’ successes is a good way to let them know they are instrumental to the business—and motivate them to have a stake in its success. 

  2. Utilize each member's strength

    Recognize your team member's strengths and find opportunities for them to use those strengths within their role. Go meet each team member where they are, instead of always having them meet you where you are. Your focus should be to recognize that unique person and their unique strengths in a setting comfortable to them.

    A great way to assess members’ strengths is to have them read Gallup’s Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath and take the survey that comes with the book. For a team building experience, share your own strengths with the team and discuss how they apply to your own role within the team. Both you and your team will be pleasantly surprised to find out how all of your individual strengths contribute to and support the group as a whole.

  3. Encourage spontaneity

    Allow team members to take control over action items that are a natural fit for their strengths. Set appropriate boundaries, but give individuals the latitude to be creative. You may discover new avenues for productivity, as well as establish ongoing micro-learning opportunities that allow additional team members to find new ways to contribute outside the box.

  1. Be a supportive coach and mentor

    No teams are perfect, but all team members are coachable. Most are always looking for ways to do better. Being a positive and dynamic leader means being there to mentor, coach, guide and inspire when needed. If you are doing your part, your team will listen to your suggestions and implement them not because “you’re the boss,” but because you’ve proven yourself as a supportive force behind their success. They won’t tune you out on difficult conversations because they know there is purpose to the discussion.

  1. Make your team your main focus 

    Nothing frustrates team members more than a disengaged leader. Make sure you look beyond just “getting the job done.” Be sensitive to the needs of your team and take the time to make personal connections. As leader, you will really need to know what’s going on within the team dynamic. You have to be ready to advocate for your team on a moment’s notice. When the team has success, you should be the first person to pass the praise on to the team.

  2. An open-door policy swings both ways

    Nobody likes a leader who runs his team from behind closed doors. If you are serious about leading, you will need to be approachable and engaging. Don’t just wait for your team to come to you with issues; make the effort to go out and talk to them. Granted, that can prove challenging when managing larger teams, but rest assured—the effort, or lack thereof, will be noticed.

    If you have remote teams, make good use of the tech that’s out there. Make video conferencing a part of your meetings to get as much face-to-face time with folks as possible. In addition, long commutes provide great opportunities to check in on team members or project progress via a hands-free call. Be as innovative and as accessible as you can using the technology at your disposal.

  3. Talk the talk, clearly 

    Ambiguity is a great way to stifle progress. If you are not practicing clear, succinct communication, your team will be left feeling confused and disconnected. Make sure team members understand their roles and how their efforts contribute to the big picture on a regular basis. Take the time to communicate this in as many ways as you can.

    Don’t be afraid of sounding repetitive; with repetition comes understanding. There is an old marketing term called the Rule of Seven which states that your prospect needs to hear your message at least seven times before they take action. If you want your team to build on your confidence in them, you will need to be creative in how you continuously deliver positive messages and feedback.

     

The bottom line is that engaged teams outperform others by as much as 200%. With the right leadership, your team members will be more than just functionally committed—they will be emotionally invested in each other and your company mission.

To explore more team-building techniques, check out The Bob Pike Group's On-the-job Training Workshop.