Five tips for developing a strong team
As a manager, it can be confusing trying to navigate your team’s dynamics and understand how to improve them.
Whether your culture needs a quick tune up or a complete rebuild, listen up. Here are our top tips for developing a strong, cohesive and productive team in any workplace.
Encouraging a sense of pride in your team members’ work, ensuring they have a clear view of their responsibilities, and creating a supportive environment in which people look forward to turning up to every day will see the dynamics change for the better. Here’s how to begin:
A key factor in developing a strong, successful team is collaboration. Team members shouldn’t be only looking out for themselves – it’s about knowing each other’s strengths and finding a way to use them to the team’s, and everyone’s, advantage.
This point intertwines with the next few, as it requires a significant amount of communication and support within the team. How can you begin to instil this way of working? Improving collaboration starts with the leader.
By all means, trust that your team will work equally hard to deliver – and leave them to do their work. But you also need to keep open lines of communication and a supportive, collaborative environment to get happier, more productive staff as a result. Ensure all team members understand yours and each other’s workloads and pressures, challenges and where assistance can be offered.
By being more aware of what’s going on, you can plan more reasonable deadlines, keep your people happier with their workloads, support areas of weakness within the group, and make the most of everyone’s strengths to build a strong, cohesive, high-performing team.
Effective communication is a huge factor in building positive team dynamics. And it starts with your leadership. When people understand their roles and responsibilities, with open lines of communication, they can relax into their work and perform to a much higher standard. So, don’t leave people to guess what you want from them, or what you’re thinking. Tell them! Ensure everyone understands where they stand and what’s required for success.
Remove any grey areas in communication to keep your people motivated by allowing every team member to continue with a clear, positive frame of mind.
3. Recognise success
Now we know we just said to encourage everyone to work as a team – but it’s important that you still recognise effort when it is valued – both individually and as a team. You need to recognise that, like in any team sport, there are the people that score the goals, but they wouldn’t be able to if they didn’t have the right team behind to support overall success. It’s not about one or two people; it’s about how the entire team works together towards a common goal.
Celebrate success! The incentive of even a small gesture to reward hard work, particularly in supporting roles, is motivating for anyone. Everyone’s time to shine will come, so make sure you acknowledge individual achievements as well as team success. Don’t go overboard – it’s hard to believe it’s genuine after a while if you do – but don’t hold back either when it’s deserved.
4. Understand your team
Find out what makes your team members tick. A huge part of effective leadership and getting the most out of people lies in understanding their key motivations and how they think, so you can use them to both your advantages.
People’s motivations can differ immensely, so it’s worth taking the time with everyone to build a solid working relationship to understand how you’ll be able to get the most from them.
- What makes them look forward to turning up to work every day?
- How do they like to communicate, manage and be managed?
- What pressures do they have outside of work that might influence their capacity some days?
- What do they like to do in their spare time? Do they have hidden talents or passions you’re not aware of?
- What do they respond best to as an acknowledgement for their work?
- And, what can you do to keep them motivated when they get stuck?
Understanding these answers will help to build an incredibly valuable positive culture, with open lines of communication around the team. When employees feel valued and understood by an effective leader and their colleagues, they’ll also feel more positive and motivated to complete work to a high standard. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
These four points rely heavily on the next one – you need to lead by example if you want to see change.
5. Lead by example
No one likes a hypocrite, nor do they respect a leader who is one. If you’re implementing changes to your team’s work structure and dynamics, then lead by example.
Show your people how you want them to collaborate, communicate, support each other and achieve more as a team. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by making positive changes to your leadership style. Want something to change? Show them you mean it.
Now, don’t expect success overnight. But if you commit to creating a more open, collaborative and supportive team, you’re guaranteed to start to see positive, lasting changes in your team’s dynamics and performance.
What’s the first thing you’ll start with to build a stronger team?