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How to Build a Great Team
By Nick Bettes

As a business leader it is your role to get the most from your staff. You must become the team coach, not the centre-forward. You must create the conditions for your team to succeed whilst striving to remove any dependency on your own efforts or technical knowledge. Here are some guidelines for creating a successful team.

  1. Define a shared, clear, worthwhile purpose for the team – and continue to reinforce this.

  2. Define clear boundaries for the team and empower every member to question things within those boundaries (not only in their own area of responsibility).

  3. Define the desired outcomes. Make these challenging but not demoralisingly difficult.

  4. Make sure there is regular, objective, actionable feedback on team performance.

  5. Make improved team functioning, or dynamics, one of the desired outcomes.

  6. Create wholesome team dynamics.

  7. The foundation for any high-performing team is trust amongst the members. People must feel able to be open about fears and failings and to give and receive honest feedback.

  8. Trust enables constructive conflict, which is necessary to surface and explore options and arrive at optimum decisions.

  9. Constructive conflict, where everyone has had their opinions heard and debated, allows buy-in from all members to the agreed team goals and decisions and their part in delivering them.

  10. Because individuals have bought in to the team goals and decisions, individuals are prepared to be held responsible for delivering their elements of the plan and to hold fellow team-members accountable in turn.

  11. Shared goals and mutual accountability means that the team is focused on results.

  12. Build in diversity amongst the members.

  13. Don’t allow superstars to rule the roost. Everyone, including them, puts the team first. If your star performers can’t understand and deliver this then drop them from the team.

  14. Make sure everyone recognises their own strengths and weaknesses and those of their colleagues. Make sure they understand that great teams are made up of individuals with complementary abilities.

  15. Respect amongst members starts with individuals having self-respect. Make sure everyone understands how their contribution is valued and inculcate a sense of belonging and feeling of achievement in all team members.

  16. Create pride within the team.

  17. Look for opportunities to build the team’s respect and reputation in the wider organisation and beyond.

  18. Create opportunities to build team coherence beyond the task – perhaps through social bonds.

  19. Acknowledge and reward their achievements.

Note: These points based on “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni

Nick Bettes is a business advisor and management consultant with over 30 years experience in business. He has developed the Value Improvement Model, a unique value-based method for improving business performance.

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