Aug 16

Team Effectiveness – 5 Basics to Achieve It

Stephan Polomski
Stephan Polomski is director human resources, coach and trainer

Most teams, from what I observe, do not work up to their full potential and possibility, although knowledge of how to build and lead teams is wide spread and well-known. Still, in many cases the knowledge is not applied during daily routine.

For the operative level of a single team I can tell from my experience as HR manager and facilitator that the following 5 items are crucial for both, successful execution and performance:

1. Give the team a “constitution”

Creating a constitution means to clearly define the main objective of the team, starting with a team vision, a team mission and steadfast values. Aside the purpose the most important business goals and guiding principles of your team culture have to be visualized. Make sure that the core-goals are linked with and are part of the overall business strategy. This gives meaning to the team constitution and forms your leadership compass. Discuss and workshop these preliminaries with team members in the very beginning by analyzing the context of your organization and the market.

2. Define roles and accountability

In order to steer well, a high performance team should not be bigger than 12 individuals. Make clear who is exactly responsible for what and who is having interfaces with whom. Once the major work packages or assignments are consigned individual objectives and performance expectations have to be defined with each team member and linked with the team constitution and business strategy. A good tool is a performance management sheet and the classic management by objectives. At the same time stress the point that the overall team performance is what counts when it comes to the accomplishment of strategic goals. Here the reputation of your team is build. Balance mutual and individual accountability.

3. Foster open communication

Alongside the guiding behavioral principles of the team constitution, make sure that information is flowing to those who need it in order to accomplish their deeds. At the same time train your people in direct communication and feedback. This is – in my eyes – the one and only key you need to create a motivating social climate. Open up time and space for regular feedback rounds and train team members to clarify their (business) relationships with each other. Be a team facilitator and use your knowledge and experience in group dynamics and psychology. Then, give a clear understanding, what the decision making process is.

4. Open the team towards “various leadership approaches”

Once a binding and mutually admitted constitution exists it may occur during the working process, that experts might temporarily take the lead in some certain complex questions. Different tasks and different working modes require a flexible reaction towards the question who is in the lead and what is the range of delegation? For these flexible shifts in leadership you need a mature team acquainted with direct communication and feedback techniques.

5. Continuously develop people and their skills

Look to skills and resources and then build operation flows that combine necessary skills, the very expertise as well as experience and personal attitude in a way that the job is done. It needs regular loops to adapt activities to the actual business or development of the organization requiring new behaviors or skills or tasks. Important here is that the existing people are continuously developed and coached and remain open to new team members bringing in new perspectives and capabilities.

Are you groaning now? Nothing new? – If so, check your execution by answering with yes or no:

I established a team constitution with vision, mission, values and guiding principles as well as team objectives linked to the overall business strategy?

I visualized roles and accountabilities transparently and integrated with business structures and processes?

I lead with a clearly defined performance management highlighting clear individual objectives?

I facilitate my team and open space for direct communication and feedback?

I delegate and / or leave the lead to experts when context is requiring it?

I regularly revise team performance, individual development and needs to adapt structure and processes of my team?

These five basics and these seven questions may support your team development.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 at 06:41 and is filed under Human Resources, Leadership, Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

Print This Post
Email This Post
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Technorati
  • MisterWong

Leave a comment

  1. Replace Roof says:

    Replace Roof…

    Team Effectiveness – 5 Basics to Achieve It | The Care Guys…