Watching the Olympics this past week caused me to think a lot about teams. During the Olympics, great individual athletes come together to win a medal for their country, their team, and themselves. How can you get that kind of performance from your company? You have a company and you have people that work for you, but do you have a team? Would you like to build a place where people like to come to work and a place where they look forward to going every day? You often hear there is no “I” in team; I prefer to think that you have to take the “I” out of team. What does it take to build a team? Just how can you make your team, a high performing team?
What's a team and what turns a collection of people into a team? A team is a group of capable people who have the necessary skills to perform the required tasks, who work together cooperatively and both interdependently and independently to meet goals. Either a team leader or customers set the goals or expectations based on needs and wants and the team comes together to achieve them.
Building a high performing team begins with leadership. A team must have one leader and that leader must have the ability to inspire his or her team. A true leader can encourage his team to reach new heights of excellence. As a coach inspires Olympians to greater heights of success, so must a leader drive his or her team toward greater accomplishments.
A team must have clearly defined goals so it knows and understands the end game. A team cannot continue to drive toward an unknown finish line. In order to get top performance from a team it must have the ability to pace itself and know when to sprint to the end. With clearly defined goals, a team can move from project to project. Knowing the goals allows the team to have time for planning and for sequencing projects.
Compassion is important for a leader to have when building his team. Although a team is an entity, you build it from individuals; a leader must have compassion for the individuals. Every team member from time to time will have challenges. Showing compassion and allowing team members to have the space they need to resolve their personal issues helps build a stronger team. When you show compassion to people when that they have a need, they will reward you with loyalty and will reciprocate when you ask them to perform at their highest level.
Trust is a key element in high performing teams. Each team member must know that the other team members have his or her back. In addition, the team must know that it can trust its leader. Trust is an important quality for a leader, the team must trust its leader at his or her word so they can focus on the team goals and complete the projects assigned. Moreover, a leader must trust his or her team and resist all attempts at micromanaging them as this is a sure way to demoralize a high performing team.
You hear a lot of talk about team building exercises; camaraderie is at the heart of team building exercises. With camaraderie, the individual team members coalesce into a single organism. Camaraderie along with trust and compassion for one another really allows the team to pull together and bond. Once you create this bonding you must nurture it until it begins to solidify, then you have a team that will support each other and perform at high levels.
Once you have a high performance team, giving them the flexibility to control their individual schedules adds icing to the cake. It shows them you appreciate them and that you trust them to arrange their schedules to what works best for them. Naturally, you must give them a range. For example, if your normal hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., you might try flextime and let your employees come in any time between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. This gives them the flexibility to arrange their schedule to suit their needs.
The six keys to building a high performing team are having an inspiring leader, have clearly defined goals, have compassion, trust your team members, build camaraderie, and offer flexibility. Start with capable people who have the skills needed to meet the goals. Then successfully combine these keys and you will create your own high performing team.
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Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, and social media strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by helping HVAC dealers market themselves with less ($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.