Most successful people will admit that they don’t climb mountains alone. However in a world where many try to stand out and make a name for themselves, few people realize that the key to success is in surrounding yourself with the best team possible. A good team will push you to a level that you didn’t know was possible. Unfortunately we can’t always choose the team we are assigned to. But don’t give up….with a little direction, you can create your own dream team.
Here are 10 tips to building an awesome team.
- Surround yourself with diversity, but not polar opposites. If all you do is surround yourself with like-minded people, you limit the creativity the team can offer. Find people outside of your box and if you don’t have any…seek feedback from those great thinkers in your office.
- Gravitate to the un-stuck. Nothing is more frustrating than spending hours in a meeting where people are trying to communicate simple concepts. Create a brainstorming strategy that gets people talking…but keeps them moving.
- Seek a balance of creative and analytical team members. This way both bases are covered. Allow each of them the freedom to dream big with the ideas and watch the magic.
- Fill the team with YES people. Most of us have been on teams where there has been at least one complainer. The person who thinks nothing is possible and everything is an inconvenience. Stop wasting time. Try to find a way to involve these people in the solution…or work around them. Believing ANYTHING is possible is vital to the creative process.
- Get “big picture” people. Often team members are single focused on their piece of the project. For some tasks that works great, but it is always important to understand that tasks are not always interdependent. Most need to fit within the big picture. People who understand this will move more smoothly through the project with the consideration that their work impacts a much bigger picture.
- Look for the optimists. Try not to pick a team member who is negative. Instead, surround yourself with people who know that mountains can be created a handful at a time. If you already have one of these people on your team, give positive feedback each time someone remains optimistic. In time, hopefully they will come around. Team building games also help in this area.
- Attitudes filled with gratitude. In a “me” society, often people get focused on the “me” aspect of business. How does this impact my work load, my project, my goals, my vision? But in order to be successful you need to understand the flow. You are not successful in a vacuum. What you do WILL impact others. When your team loses sight of this, remind them to “expect nothing and appreciate everything” when it comes to people who aren’t in your team. Those who EXPECT are often disappointed.
- Be sure they are dependable. When you are fighting a deadline, you need to be able to trust that your team will meet their deadlines. If you know they have trouble in this doing this, schedule weekly team meeting updates and offer advice and help where you can to keep them moving.
- Good communicators make great teammates. There is no point in talking if someone doesn’t listen. Sometimes the little details will only be said once or twice in passing…and they may be important. In order to fully understand the scope of a project, you must be a good listener. BUT just as important…the person who assigns the tasks and oversees the project HAS to clearly communicate the guidelines and direction. Otherwise the team is shooting in the dark and everyone is all over the place.
- Know when to ask for guidance. One of the greatest skills a team player can have is the ability to sense when they need help. Sometimes it can be a simple nod that you are moving in the right direction. But if they get really stuck, they should ask for help instead of trying to fake their way through it. NOW don’t get me wrong…as a supervisor I didn’t appreciate those who came to me with questions they could have easily researched. It wasn’t always respectful of my time. So if you have access to the information, look it up. Otherwise, poke your head in the door and just ask.
Not every team is cohesive, but the great news is that most of the above skills can be taught with coaching or team building activities. So even if you don’t exactly have the “dream team”, with a little work, a good attitude and some patience you can!