Good leaders are those who know how to direct their team towards their organization’s goals. However, it takes a great leader to work at turning their team into an effective one. As teams don’t experience success in an instant, there is a need for every leader to know the aspects of building and improving his or her team.
Here are a few guidelines:
Identifying Team Strengths and Weaknesses
The first step to building an effective team is to constantly assess the state of your team. Before bracing people for success, you need to have a good idea of each team member’s bright spots and areas for improvement. Here is a guide for doing this:
- Allow each member of the team to do a self-assessment of his own strengths and weaknesses. Doing this can help you identify opportunities for each team member for success. Placing them in spots where they can succeed helps you achieve your organization’s goals. However, in cases of failure, avoid as much as possible to cast blame. Identify what went wrong and find resolutions on how the situation can be improved. It is equally important to give credit to any member of the team who has been instrumental to success.
- Identify skills necessary for certain roles. When an employee is consistently successful in a job, note these skills as part of the employee’s skill set. If he or she fails at a particular task, you may include the skills associated with that task as part of his or her weaknesses. Doing this can help you position your team member in roles where they can be most successful.
- There are also cases when your team member’s performance may vary depending on context. Take note of your employees’ performance when they work alone, with their team members, or outside the team. There are cases when performance is not related to lack of skills, but his or her inability to apply the skills to a particular situation.
Identify Team Roles
Dr. Meredith Belbin identifies nine team roles that compose an effective team.
- The Plant. This team member is the most creative member of the team. He or she is normally perceived as unconventional as he or she normally thinks outside the box. Plants are good at innovation and are good at growing the organization. However, their primary weak point is they tend to be forgetful.
- The Monitor Evaluator. This employee is the most logical and critical in the team. He or she is good at analyzing and provides reasons for every option and decision. The weakness of this team member is that there are times when he or she becomes over-critical to the point that it slows down progress.
- The Coordinator. Coordinators are good at distributing work effectively to team members. They are also strong at keeping the team focused on goals. However, there are instances when they can over or under delegate and end up micro-managing.
- The Resource Investigator. These people are excellent at building your organization’s network. However, they are not very fond of following up or getting detailed information.
- The Implementer. This team member is excellent at putting ideas into practice. They are efficient at developing strategies to make ideas work. However, they have a tendency to be too strong on their opinions and disregard alternative approaches
- Completer-Finishers. They are the movers at the end of every task. Normally, these people are good at quality control. They make sure that everything is running to the ideal standard; however, they tend to be perfectionists.
- Team Workers. They are good at promoting harmony in the team. When tensions and difficulties in their team arise, they smooth them out peacefully. They are the most positive members of the team; however, they may be indecisive when coming up with the best course of action as they worry about maintaining relationships in the team.
- Shapers are highly driven and enthusiastic people. They serve as the engine of the team as they can effectively get people moving and maintain that momentum. On the other hand, they tend to be aggressive and temperamental in their effort to get work done.
- The Specialist. These people could have limited skills, but he or she is an expert at a specific skill. They have a narrow focus, and this can be either his or her strength and weakness.
There are times when a team member may fill in multiple roles, and it would be best to position them in tasks that match their skills. For example, you can assign marketing jobs to resource investigators and managerial jobs to implementers. Most of the time, an ideal team has these nine roles, and a good leader knows how to utilize these roles effectively to achieve their organization’s goals.
Design Team Exercises with Specific Goals
Apart from letting your team do their normal work, it would be nice to sometimes give them a break from what they normally do and give them activities that help improve team morale or functioning. Doing team building activities can be helpful, but it is important to identify goals. For example, conducting trust-building exercises is useful when you observe that your team members are at each other’s throat. It is also important to do a follow-up on this as they may forget what they learned or you may lose the benefits gained from this exercise. Allowing time for your team to play and recharge after a gruesome project can help them stay motivated and at the same time, build your team’s relationship with each other.
Building and reinforcing your team is not an overnight process. It takes time to do this, so it is also important for a leader to be patient and focused. When a leader accomplishes all these, it shall be easy for him or her to lead the team towards achieving the organization’s goals.
Collier, C. (2015). The Science and Art of Being a Likable Leader: 10 Quick Strategies for Success. Atlanta, Georgia: Personality Matters, Inc.
Dr. Cherry Collier, MCC, CNLPMC, RCC, CPCC Managing Partner, Personality Matters, Inc. Certified 8(a) SDB, EDWOSB www.personalitymatters.com www.drcherrycoaching.com