Team Building | Why Teams WorkOn August 15, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Hello my name is Dan Collins For most of my life I’ve worked in teams, I’ve led
Teams and now spend a great deal of time facilitating the growth and development of business teams. Along the way I’ve learnt a lot about what makes a team work and I’d like to spend the next few minutes sharing some of these findings with you. We’re going to look at what a team is, who should be in the team, what makes a balanced team, what makes a team work — what are the things that really drive a team’s performance up, or can threaten it.
We’ll also spend some time looking at what motivates a team and how can we make sure, as leaders, we get the very best from our teams. There is a common misunderstanding that, because a group of people are in the same place, doing roughly the same thing, that they’re a team — and sometimes they’re even called a team. But that doesn’t actually make them a team. In fact being called a team isn’t what makes a group a team…. it’s that shared purpose, that common goal, that really brings people together as a team. So we can be members of many teams. We can be members of teams of people we work with because we have a shared goal of achieving certain objectives for our employer. Or we can be part of a sport team, wanting to win our next match. Or we can even find ourselves part of temporary teams that have come together in a moment of challenge or crisis, because we’re stuck in a lift and we all want to get out of that lift. Teams are made up of different people with different characteristics. The best teams balance these different traits. They have Gluers, that pull the team together. They’re very concerned about the social adhesion of the group. They want the group to get on well and they’re keen to build relationships both within and outside the team. There are Doers, who are concerned with making things happen, they like to focus their attention on the task and use their expertise to see things through to completion. There are Creators who love to have ideas. They’re really enthusiastic about solving problems and thinking of new ways of working. And Leaders of course, want to manage the project. They like to set direction and work out the strategy that will achieve the team’s objective. Now, we all have a blend of these traits and we apply them to different degrees in different environments. So, at work we might have a role that requires us to be a Doer for the most part along with some of our time spent as a Gluer.
And at home, in the family team, we might have to primarily be a Leader.
Whilst we can be flexible, we are probably at our best when performing roles which call upon our strengths. So, if you are someone who feels energised and enthused by new ideas and solving problems it’s best to find a role in a team that allows you to be the Creator. A strong team should be made up of a combination of gluers, doers, creators And leaders The balance of these four personality types or preferences will vary according to the team’s task. in certain groups you may have more creators because the task is a more creative task. Where perhaps a more analytical and focused project you require more doers. And in every case, whilst you need a leader, very often the most ineffective teams, are teams made up exclusively of leaders where everyone is a leader, it’s hard for them to find a consensus and work towards one goal. So let’s look at what makes a team work. The very best teams share a common set of attributes.They share a common purpose so everybody in the team is working towards the same objective. They often share the same values, so they’re looking to achieve that objective for reasons that really matter to them personally. They want to make a difference. Each individual has very clear goals that are in line with the team’s objective and those clear goals are known by everybody else on the Team. One of the best examples I’ve seen of this is a team that get together every Monday morning and share their individual goals for that week. They say “this is what I’m setting out to do this week; this is what I want to achieve”. They spend just 60 seconds each, so it doesn’t take long, but it means that everybody on the team understands what everybody else is trying to achieve that week; they can support each other, help one other along, and it prevents overlap. Teams by their nature are made up of different people and sometimes those differences are quite stark. they can also be complimentary. With the right mix of strengths, you’ll have a group of people that are quite different, yet, the sum is greater than the parts. Our Attitude is infectious. A good attitude will encourage others to pick up their game and be positive about what they are setting out to do. But equally a negative attitude can draw the whole group down. The best teams have a real “can-do” attitude — they want to make things happen, they’re positive about the challenges that they face. One sign of a high performing team is that they can give each other feedback,
whether that’s good or bad. They’re not afraid to face conflict — they do so in a way that doesn’t hurt the team. It means they can get to the bottom of issues, they can speak openly and freely about difficult subjects. And they do so face to face — they don’t resort to email or hide behind technology. This sort of candid communication brings complete trust without doubt, trust is one of the distinguishing features of really effective teams. Where there’s trust teams are able to work faster, make better decisions and operate in a supportive atmosphere. And some of the best teams have rituals. They’ll get together every Friday for a few drinks, or they’ll grab a coffee together and just chat through what’s going on, along the way they’re celebrating their successes the little milestones they are achieving. When they finish a really large project or achieve a substantial target they’ll celebrate accordingly,marking their achievement in a memorable way that makes the team want to repeat their success. There are also threats to teams. Size is increasingly becoming a challenge. more than 20 people in a team make it very hard for the team to understand what everybody’s up to, what they’re doing, where they’re heading. Teams work under increasing stress; And while stress can be a positive thing, too much stress can be negative and bad for our health. In teams some people will have a capacity for high levels of stress, while others much less so. So the team as a whole needs to understand how they work best under pressure and take steps to manage their workload accordingly. Increasingly teams are based in many locations, often right across the world.This means they’re working to different time zones, in different cultures And just not being able to see each other can present a tremendous barrier to effective team working. It’s impossible to truly get to know someone over a telephone line, so it’s important, if people are spread around the world, that they get together on a regular basis even if only for a day at a time simply being in the same place meeting, eating and chatting together will build trust. And whilst technology is a huge aid and means we can communicate more information more quickly than ever before. It also can get in the way of those candid face-to-face relationships which are so important.So use technology but also build in time for face-to-face contact But by far the greatest threat to any team is the leader. Productivity, retention and wellbeing are all massively impacted by the quality of leadership. So what can a leader do to motivate a team and get the best from them? Simply saying thank you showing appreciation, giving recognition has an incredible motivating effect. We all crave appreciation and when we get it we feel our efforts are worthwhile. It’s the leader’s responsibility is to set the vision to say “this is where we’re heading”. To make this as clear as possible they might paint a picture, take people on a tour of their next office block or, as in one case I know of, build a model of their next, larger factory. This had an amazing, galvanizing effect on the team, and within a few years the business had grown and the team were working in that new factory. The leader must also set the right standards. The leader must define what ‘excellent’ looks like in this team. When a team member is operating at a lower standard than his team mates it will, in time bring the whole team’s quality and morale down. So, when a leader demands and maintains higher standards morale is kept high and the team feel justly proud of their work Getting people around a table to brainstorm ideas and creatively solve problems, is tremendously motivating. It doesn’t take very long and it gives people a real sense of involvement, that they’re having some say in the future Regularly taking a temperature test of how people are feeling is really valuable. Use an online survey of some sort, like the Fresh Tracks Team Health Check. It takes a few moments to complete and immediately indicates what steps can be taken to improve team spirit Sneak away from time to time get away from the workplace, do something different. It might be a night out or a few days away. This presents the opportunity to have conversations that wouldn’t normally happen in the workplace, to get to know each other, build trust and discover previously hidden strengths and qualities in the team. If you’d like to know more about teams or the issue of trust, which is so essential to high performing teams, then we have two books we’d love to send you. Simply drop us an email at [email protected] And if you’d like to take your team away to explore the subject further have fun together and become a high preforming team, then please visit, www.freashtracks.co.uk