One of the most exciting aspects of my management career has been building a team – awesome teams. I’ve found that being able to do so helps make the execution of business plans much easier and much more effective over time.
I hadn’t given much thought before to the building of these teams until I moved from active management and leadership positions to an executive leadership coaching practice. I knew how to build them and just did it. Now however, I need to break down the steps to the building of teams so that others can follow my lead and innovate further from my practice. After all, my steps are mine – they may not be the only steps – and they may not be the best steps – but I know they work.
So, the challenge in this post is to encourage you to list out steps you have also found effective in building the team of your dreams.
#1. Building A Team With Diversity Of People, Opinions, Skill Sets
The first step I always took was identifying potential team members who could each lend something unique to the team’s skills, talents, behaviors, and values. Sometimes this was not conscious, more often than not it was a gut feeling that certain combinations of people would mesh well together. As an executive leadership coach I’ve advanced the gut feeling now to a more objective approach, using several assessments to assist in the process. The key in either selection process is to seek a balance so that a diversity of people with different opinions and skill sets could, with effective facilitation, develop into a team.
#2. Process To Follow
Every team needs a starting point and a process outlined to help them to get to an end point. The process helps to shape the way the team creates options, weighs the merits of alternative actions, makes decisions, measures results, manages disagreements, and keeps the team members individually and collectively focused on the end point. Having a plan and process explained to team members up front helps them to set expectations and to adjust their roles to different parts of the process.
Related: How To Make Effective Teams With An Executive Leadership Coaching Program
#3. Decision Process
There are a variety of ways that decisions can be made – my way or the highway – is one of them. In order to develop and maintain consensus I would ask team members to vote on alternative options when those options were present. Within the voting process it was important to allow each member to express her opinion for her vote – her why. It becomes important for a facilitator or team leader to moderate the voting process to ensure all opinions are expressed and respected.
#4. Respecting Disagreements
It’s rare for there to be no disagreements in any team process, so I explain that to team members up front. I encourage members to ask themselves why they might disagree, I ask them to ask members with whom they have differing opinions to explain their perspective and to reciprocate. A fuller understanding of the reasons for differing opinions may not stop disagreements, but I’ve found that it enables greater respect for those opinions.
#5. Measuring Results
If a team is going to take a course of action it always made sense that the members determined how to measure results. After all, measurement is a key part of the planning process. Creating the measures, frequency, and who would take the measurements helps to ensure team continuity and cohesiveness. The results feedback also helps to solidify the team’s decision process.
#6. Having A Big Picture
It’s easy for one person, as well as a team, to lose sight of the big picture – the reason why they are put together. I’ve found it helps to review the big picture when the team is formed, when the team is moving through the decision process, as well as when the team is measuring results, so that they don’t lose sight of their big picture.
#7. Having Fun
As a manager, as an executive leadership coach, as a team member – in all these roles I’ve found it helpful to make sure things aren’t taken too seriously. So part of the process (yes, it’s planned) is to engage team members in some fun activities. I may have them play a game, form subgroups and compete against one another, it varies. The point of these activities is to illustrate the importance of collaboration, listening, respecting diversity of opinion – to name a few. The key to these activities is to help build the social aspects of the team.
Now that I’ve listed seven of my favorite steps, please share your favorite steps. Let’s all learn from the process. GO TEAM!
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