It’s true: Successful teams outperform individuals—that is to say, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Team collaboration results in supercharged productivity, creativity and satisfaction. Following these time-tested tips will help you build your own dynamic, productive teams.
Choose a single goal: Project success is most achievable when every team member is focused on one specific result. You must first write up your goal, along with a reasonable timeframe for achieving it, and every role and responsibility team members will need to take on.
Pick the best people: Choose people who are likely to work well together, and whose skills best match the activities you’ve specified to reach your goal. Who is detail-oriented enough to handle scheduling? Who can compose clear, concise memos and reports? Whose enthusiasm will help spur on his or her colleagues?
Give team members autonomy: Wherever possible, include everyone in decision-making. Also, let them decide how they’d prefer to work together to reach the goal. Empowering people in this way assures increased cooperation and effectiveness.
Establish leadership: Gain trust and respect by being honest, following through on promises, and really listening and responding to team members’ suggestions and concerns. Learn each person’s strengths and weakness in order to offer them positive feedback and/or constructive criticism.
Spend time together: Beyond working hand-in-hand on a specific project at work, encourage team members to meet informally: during coffee breaks, meals and outside the office. The more team members connect with each other, the greater their commitment will be—to the team and the work.
Communicate often: Face-to-face meetings, email and individual conversations are important motivators to keep a team on track. It’s also important to encourage the team to share issues and information among themselves.
Review intermediate goals: Step in regularly to see where a project stands. Initiate scheduling and other changes as needed, and praise team members for their progress.
Handle conflict seamlessly: When problems arise, don’t make snap decisions. Listen to everyone’s account of the issue, then brainstorm solutions together. You’ll likely be surprised at the practical options that come out of this discussion.