Team building can conjure up visions of high ropes courses and team scavenger hunts that are meant to build teamwork, trust and collaboration among employees. While activities can be useful, developing a team is less about scheduling offsite retreats and more about daily habits that build a strong culture.
Much like a baseball team that constantly practices and plays together is more likely to win than a pick-up team of individuals who don’t play together daily, a powerful team functions best when their individual strengths are recognized and utilized collaboratively to make up a powerful whole.
Studies have found that the long-term success of a business is more dependent on the entire executive leadership team than the CEO, as the top team has a broader impact on the whole organization. Additionally, the team has a “multiplier effect” in that a highly-performing team creates successful, organizational coherence and focus (and a poorly performing team results in the opposite).
So what should you be doing daily to ensure you have an all-star team?
- Build Trust – At the core of successful leadership is the ability to influence and inspire others, which can only happen if there is trust. To build an effective team, ensure that your team trusts you and their team, in turn, trusts them. To cultivate trust, competence and character must be demonstrated in every interaction. Employees must feel that their leaders and co-workers are knowledgeable in their work and that they have values beyond their own self-interest. The stronger the level of trust among a team, the better they will ultimately function.
- Facilitate Communication – Beyond trust, open communication is one of the most important characteristics of a successful team. This doesn’t necessarily mean scheduling needless meetings; it means encouraging and facilitating the sharing of information and communication among team members. If your leaders withhold information or aren’t clear in their own communication, there will often be a trickle-down effect to team members that can lead to dysfunction and employees operating in silos. Leading by example is one of the best ways to foster open communication.
- Encourage Collaboration – Make sure that your organization places emphasis on rewarding team versus individual performance. While a pay-for-performance atmosphere can be valuable, the collaborative efforts of a team are what will ultimately make a business successful. Think of it this way – even if a baseball team has a star pitcher, if their batters and fielders aren’t strong, they most likely won’t win. The star pitcher may be able to carry the team with strikeouts for some time but, ultimately, can’t win the whole season.
Foster Respect- Team members need to feel like their unspoken feelings are understood and that their individual ideas are heard and valued. Make sure you create an environment in which all team members can voice their thoughts and productive brainstorming can take place. Similarly, if conflict arises, help team members to face it and work through it. As leaders, the need to help employees arrive at the best possible solution and build consensus among a team is also important. Even though this can take more time, building consensus ensures employees understand and are committed to the decision.
Need help developing a strong team? At KMR Executive Search, we specialize in finding top talent and providing management consulting services to build your ideal team.Tags: Collaboration, Communication, Ken McGovern, KMR Executive Search, Leaderhsip, Team Building, Trust