As a leader, you expect a lot from the teams you build. As you should.
A team is a group of people who are interdependent in order to accomplish their goals. As noted by John Katzenbach and Douglas Smith, authors of The Discipline of Teams, the highest-performance teams share these traits:
- Commitment and purpose.
- Performance goals.
- Complementary skills.
- Mutual accountability.
Clusters of people who work together but lack these shared characteristics do not automatically constitute teams … they’re simply work groups. Your company will waste valuable time trying to create a team out of a group of independent individuals who are fine working all by themselves, thank you very much!
Here are some tips to guide you as you create, grow and lead teams based on your top business priorities:
Trust – among and between all team leaders and members – is imperative for sustaining high performance through the inevitable highs and lows that will be encountered en route to success.
- Trust must be earned. It is not a given. Great teams go through natural stages of trust building, as acts of sacrificing, serving and protecting one another occur.
- Politics and selfishness cannot be tolerated within a strong team. They are toxic and can seriously thwart trust.
Capitalize on team members’ unique talents.
As you build or strengthen your team, look for diversity in the talents of your members. Tap into and capitalize on each of these unique strengths.
- Identify and fill critical gaps. For instance, you need some visionaries and futuristic thinkers who will always be ahead of current conditions, as well as others whose strengths are organizing and attending to the daily details. Create the right balance of strategic planning, action and movement toward a well-planned future state, and the best possible results.
Base your hiring decisions on the goal of building great teams.
Hire to fill team talent gaps. Remember, you’re building a team – not a series of individuals who will isolate themselves and work solo.
- Consider which assets you need to round out your team. This decision will be based on your current and future business priorities. When you interview candidates, look for unique talents – both hard and soft skills – that extend beyond the basic educational and professional requirements.
- Hire for cultural fit. This encompasses goals, missions and visions that align between your organization and your candidate. These are inherent tendencies that can neither be bought not taught.
Set the bar high.
Establish high, but realistic, expectations for your team. Be sure that everyone understands their specific roles and responsibilities. This keeps all team members accountable and brings clarity to their meeting or exceeding performance standards.
Some of your team expectations may be:
- Speak up. Every thought counts and every opinion matters. As team leader, be sure everyone feels safe and comfortable contributing on a regular basis.
- Deal with issues inside – not outside – the team. Questioning or badmouthing ideas or fellow team members to others is called gossip – and it implodes teams.
If building high-performance teams is part of your 2016 HR strategy, you may want to consider partnering with CPS Recruitment®. We can help you hire, retain and develop an industry-leading workforce based on trust, teamwork and top results. Contact us today to set up a meeting and learn more.