Everyone has their own individual strengths and weaknesses. When working as a team, individuals can draw on their own strengths to work together towards a common goal. Open communication and compromise is essential. Any team can be a success.
Develop SMART team goals
Make the goals:
Develop goals with your team so everyone can buy-in from the start, and they will know and understand what they are aiming for. E.g. finish the project on time and with 95% customer approval. E.g. win the flag.
Create Win/Win situations- something for me and you!
A win situation can be different things for different people. It doesn’t have to be about money. It can be about a sense of achievement, a new or different experience, an opportunity, a sense of accomplishment, a chance to work with a key person, or a chance to leads others. E.g. a client of mine needed more IT support for his team. He took on a student with basic skills to learn on the job. He got some IT support at a good rate and an opportunity to see how the person fitted into his team and the student got the opportunity to get some paid work experience in an area he was interested in. Something in it for both of them.
Create a structure with defined team member responsibilities
The team member responsibilities don’t necessary have to be aligned with someone’s job description or usual responsibilities. For a particular goal/project/time period, the person may have totally different responsibilities. E.g. someone may lead in some way when their role is usually not as a manager. .g. someone may be responsible for training others when this is not usually part of their role.
Ensure unity and connectedness
Make sure members are connected in aiming for the goal and that they are included, consulted and respected. E.g. a staff member hated doing a particular task and tended to put it off. As soon as she was made to feel included and supported she approached it differently. She no longer put it off and asked for help if she got stuck. She saw it as a challenge and felt a sense of accomplishment when she got it done.
Communicate effectively by having established informal and formal open and clear communication networks at all levels
It’s important to set this up in the beginning so everyone is clear about the communication structure. Who do I communicate with for what, and how do I communicate? E.g. formal meeting for full team catch-up, informal chat for assistance when stuck, make a time for one-on-one catchup, quick email, no contact with manager Monday mornings when she is doing her planning etc.
Note: Interpersonally, you can be more directive once you demonstrate that someone else’s views have been acknowledged. It’s the core psychology of negotiation: we listen better once we’ve been heard. So make sure those communication lines are open for everyone to be heard.
Identify the strengths of individuals in the team and ensure they can use these strengths to contribute
E.g. attention to detail, meeting deadlines, creativity, critical thinking, vitality, fairness, leadership. (Use differences in individuals as a source of strength). Think about what they have to offer and what they think their strengths are.
E.g. what about having a great empowering conversation? This is what I think you are good at. What do you think you are good at? How can we use all these great skills and talents of yours to contribute to the team? Don’t bring negativity into it at all. Make it all positive.