How to build an effective Team

October 17th, 2010 by Nitin Akash Leave a reply »

You cannot afford to neglect the importance of building an effective team if you are holding a position of responsibility in a modern organization. The importance of teams has now been well accepted by most organizations, just pick up mission or value statement of any company of decent repute and you will find ‘Team work’ written in bold somewhere down there.

I am not sure to what extent this magical word is understood and respected across the layers of hierarchy within an organization, however one thing I surely know is that, those who know the art of building and managing effective teams never see their pockets and heart starving. These are the guys who don’t have to try too hard to climb the corporate or organizational ladder; I would rather say these are the guys who are literally pushed up (or may be pulled up) on the corporate ladder due to shear good performance of their team members.

If you look through the eyes of the guy-in-charge of your organization or department then you will realize the unwritten rule goes like this ‘If a guy can handle a small team efficiently then give him bigger team so that he can make a bigger chunk of the company more efficient.’ This phenomenon often impacts the team manager in the form of Raise or promotion! So let us poke a fraction of our noses into learning the art of building effective teams within an organization.

Select Right People: This is more tricky and complex than it appears.
it is wise to follow caution while picking up your team members, try to exclude following type of people, as they will often bring dysfunction in the team.

  1. Lazy guys: There is an entire class of people who are capable but are abhorrent of giving their 100% at work. Now the issue is how do find people belonging to this class? If you are getting a team member through internal transfer then may be you will be aware of some of the strengths and weaknesses of your potential team member, but if you are hiring a new guy through interview then it might become difficult for you to find. You can get some idea by asking the interviewee his daily routine ie. after waking up to bed time, another way is to give the guy a simple but laborious assignment and see to what extent s/he completes it.
  2. Pre-engaged guys: Avoid people who are preoccupied with something else other than work, like people who are appearing for some competitive exams or are planning further studies. The best way to find this during an interview is to tell the interviewee that the position requires a commitment for two years and s/he needs to sign a bond for the same period. On most occasions people with other interfering interests back out. If you simply ask an interviewee about other engagements then you might get a misleading answer.
  3. Guys with Questionable Integrity: This can only be found by verifying facts during the reference check. Make sure that when you call up the references you cross check the facts provided during interview.

If you leave these guys then probably you have alleviated a major portion of future problems.

Once you get the right team members you will have to build following traits within the team to get it rocking.

  1. Trust: This is probably the most important trait that needs to run in totality through the team. Trust also brings other benevolent traits like mutual respect, sense of belonging and loyalty towards objective of the team. I will further elaborate on this under post ‘ How to build trust.’

  2. Transparent and two-way communication: Transparent communication is necessary to build trust and keep all the members on the same level of awareness with respect to progress and further course of action. It also gives team members to stop anything that may deviate the team form its goal.
  3. Accountability and Orientation towards result: Keeping an eye on the goal is very important to keep the team focused, as the team approaches the target or goal, team members become even more motivated conversely If some members of team lag then other team members or team leader can jump to push them and bring them at par for the common good of the team.

So next time when you get an assignment and a team to handle follow these simple guidelines and get the best result for you and your team members. All the best and questions are welcome!

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