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Building a great team is both an art and a science. You need to understand the science behind attributes that make a person excel in their roles. You need to perfect the art of merging these people into a dynamic, changing, and developing entity; a team.

Most people think a team is only just about attracting highly talented individuals. However, this notion is wrong.What good is your talented team if their attitude is toxic, or worse, they are non-cohesive?

Unless each performer is appropriate for their specialised role, the team will not be productive. A team needs to be flexible when it matters, and individuals complement each other when to work together towards shared goals. “A team is only as strong as its weakest link” states Mark Grey.

The following are solid ways to build a phenomenal team.

1. Clarify Your Vision

Before building trust in a team, you must start with transparency and clarity. Having a sound understanding of your short and long-term goals is a key element in success, and sharing this with your employees is essential. When all team members are informed and aligned together, everybody understands their role and what is expected to perform their function in order to benefit the company. Shielding your plans causes anxiety and chaos, which is counterproductive to success.

2. Hire Like-Minded Performers

You have your vision and objectives, you will want people who share similar mind-sets and attitude to work. When hiring, ensure you don’t allow talent alone to influence your decision. It is important to look out for people who think like you and fit seamlessly into the team structure. What type of attitude do they exhibit? Are they people-friendly? Sometimes, the best performer could be holding the team back. Don’t hesitate to let them go for the progress of your team.

3. Listen Carefully

This is one common bit of advice you hear among corporate circles.Unfortunately, people are guilty of not listening. Most top level executives and team leaders are so busy delegating tasks, they are unable to read feedback from their team. Do you notice non-verbal cues of dissatisfaction from your staff when you shut down a suggestion? Do they keep requesting explanation about a decision? These are signs showing you need to improve your listening and communication habits. Ask about their general welfare during meetings and any issues they have regarding roles. Listening shows you care, builds rapport, and gives you the information you need.

James Decomyn at Salesaces Training and Recruitment explains, “In our sales training sessions we make sure that the first thing we teach is how to listen. When I say listen I mean actively listen, really engage. It is the art of listening that sets sales people apart.”

4. Show Appreciation

As a team leader or manager, rewarding your team with attractive raises or bonus packages is not enough. You need to develop a more empathetic relationship, by showing respect and understanding, to keep them loyal. Try offering more experience based rewards, such as, a spa treatment or a weekend getaway for two at a luxury resort. Give employees a reason to enjoy being part of your team. You will find them more confident and forthcoming with valuable ideas that benefit the company.

5. Create Diversity

Developing a diverse team isn’t just for looking socially acceptable to your stakeholders. Team members with various skill strengths, different cultural backgrounds, and personalities offer interesting inputs. They provide intelligent solutions to problems and tackle them from different angles. There is room for flexibility and adaptation to culturally-inspired changes in the market.

6. Work with Individual Strength

Identify each employee’s strength and delegate responsibilities accordingly. Peter Drucker, the management visionary said, the effective executive recognises each individual’s core competences and aligns their tasks around them. While it is a productive approach to work with your members’ skill strengths, don’t ignore their weaknesses either. Organise team building sessions to help them bridge these gaps and become functionally flexible.An all-round performing team is much better than a group of niche-specific experts.

1. Organise Team Building Exercises

Look beyond the work environment to build a relationship with your team. Organise activities where members connect with each other. A connected team is a motivated team. A study, organised by the American Psychological Association, revealed team building activities make employees feel valued and motivated to perform well at work. Here are a few good suggestions for team building:

- Volunteer together for a social cause

- Sporting activities: Football, beach volleyball, or jogging

- Organise camping or hiking trips together

- Synchronise meal times

- Professional development activities

- Book reading clubs

2. Communicate Besides Work

We are familiar with the common “communication is key” mantra. Team members do need to communicate or time tracking work status regularly with one another. However, another survey conducted by MIT, shows informal communication is equally effective for building a great team. In the study, patterns of communication off work were an important predictor for team success. While this doesn’t mean members are best friends outside the office, management recognises non-work interactions are key for building loyal team members.

3. Delegate problem solving tasks

Problem solving is a great way to keep people engaged. By occasionally throwing challenges at your team, (it doesn’t have to be work related), you give them an opportunity to bond and brainstorm over issues. Purpose is a crucial factor for team progress. In addition to the overall goal of your project, employees benefit by solving side-tasks. From regular puzzles, to suggesting ideas that save the company money, there are many challenges your employees will be happy to take on. A token incentive helps to boost the competition.

4. Encourage Feedback

Nobody is perfect. It helps for team members to give occasional feedback to one another. There are many techniques for doing this.From Drucker’s eight practices for effective executives to Joseph and Harry Johari Window, the whole idea is to build self-awareness about yourself with the help of team members. Knowing more about members’ strengths and weaknesses makes a team stronger.

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Stories by Hicks Crawford