Teams play a significant role in any organization. Even if it’s just a team of two. When it comes to the effectiveness of your team, having a couple superstars isn’t enough. You need to focus on how the individuals work together and interact to meet the organization’s goals.
Personal or individual development has been a priority in most successful organizations for a long time. It’s easy to understand why it’s important to develop individual team members through formal and informal training, but have you have thought about the importance of team development, beyond just doing a couple “team-building” events here and there?
Team development is about improving how your team operates and it brings many benefits, including:
- Higher quality of overall team performance.
- The opportunity to learn more from each other.
- Enhanced ability to meet and exceed goals.
- Increased morale and motivation.
Google™ conducted a study on what makes teams successful. After studying 180 teams, Google™ identified five factors that have the biggest impact on team performance:
- Psychological Safety: Does your team trust you and other members? Can your team take risks without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
What You Can Do: How to create psychological safety was highlighted in the last issue of The Compass™ (Volume 15, Issue 5), however, some additional things you can do are:
- Celebrate Mistakes: The truth is mistakes happen. Instead of making team members feel embarrassed, celebrate them. During 1 huddle a week, allow team members to share their mistakes and what they did to fix them. This helps the individual that made the mistake take ownership of it, while also teaching others and hopefully preventing the same mistake from happening in the future.
- Allow Team Members to Define Trust: What builds trust and breaks trust can differ from one team member to another. Have each team member make a list of their trust-builders and trust-breakers. This will help team members interact with each other more effectively.
- Dependability: Can your team count on each other to do high-quality work on time?
What You Can Do: Dependability must be part of your culture, and as the leader of your organization, you are the role model for dependability. Your team needs to know they can depend on you before they feel they can depend on their team members.
To do this:
- Be on time and respect your team’s time. If you schedule a 10-minute huddle at 7 am, you better start at 7 am and end at 7:10 am.
- Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. If you are down a tech, or if a tech needs a part run out to them, don’t hesitate to jump in and help.
- Structure & Clarity: Are goals, roles, and strategic plans for your team clear?
What You Can Do: Clearly explain the expectations and goals for each individual, as well as the organization’s overall goals, mission, vision, and values. These things should be communicated on a daily or at least weekly basis during your huddles. It is not enough to communicate expectations just when they start or at the beginning of each year. Your team needs to have these discussions consistently, so they know where they stand, and what they need to do to achieve their goals.
- Meaning of Work: Is your team working on something that is personally important for each person?
What You Can Do: This one can be a little harder to define because the meaning of work is personal and can vary for each individual. For some the meaning of work may be financial security, supporting family, helping the team succeed, or personal pride in what they do. The specific meaning of work isn’t important, but it is important that they each have one. Understanding why each person shows up everyday will help the team better understand and motivate each other.
- Impact of Work: Does your team fundamentally believe that the work they’re doing matters?
What You Can Do: Thanks to COVID-19, you all should be well aware that you are an essential business. You keep families safe and comfortable. Sometimes when we get bogged down in the day-to-day, we forget the impact of our work. Make sure you are continually communicating to your team the importance of the services you provide.
Building an effective team takes time and continuous effort. However, focusing on these five factors will greatly increase the likelihood that you will build an all-star team.