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There is a fairly well established school of thought that a strong team will outperform a group of individuals fairly consistently. It is demonstrated in sports and in the workplace when people are willing to work to help each other and not just act selfishly.
How DO managers, leaders and executives build a team environment? What kinds or actions can they take?
If you are the leader and hire the people to form a team then you have a head start, because they arrive into a situation where you are already the leader.
"No individual can win a game by himself." Pele
If you are a peer of the team who gets promoted then you have some work to do ... and this is probably the toughest kind of situation.
If you are hired into a managerial position from an external source then you too, have some work to do and you can create a conscious plan to achieve this end.
As I see it there are two routes to take ... (1) you are the boss and the team can "get in line"; or (2) you can work at creating a team.
I think that expecting your team to "get in line" is a reasonable expectation, especially with senior people. The only problem is that "people are people" ... and it is almost never that easy! They will worry. They will read into situations. They will be jealous. They will look for issues. They will exhibit all kinds of human emotions and for no better reason other than it is human nature!
"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." Henry Ford
In order to build a team the leader needs to gain the respect and the trust of his/her team.
Here are some tangible things that you can do, and some situations to be aware/careful about in working to build a team environment...
1. Your team needs to know that there are no favorites. This is especially the case for peers promoted into the position.
2. You could adopt an inclusive approach ... asking and valuing their opinions, letting them be a part of any solutions.
3. You should give positive feedback where warranted ... don't be shy about recognising good behaviours and good performance.
4. You must be consistent!
5. You could take an interest in them as people ... not just as employees. They don't need to be your best friend but they should feel that you really care about their welfare.
6. You should give them the benefit of your experience ... but not take public credit.
7. You could look for ways to help them to look good.
8. You could occasionally have social interaction, without the pressures of work.
9. You could help them celebrate wins ... small and large.
10. You should make them feel that you will always treat them fairly.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Helen Keller
Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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