According to an Australian study, the definition of teamwork is exemplified “as a cooperative process that allows ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results.”
The study goes on to explain that a great team works towards a common goal or purpose while team members develop effective, mutual relationships to achieve those goals.
The “great” part of team depends on people who work together cooperatively to achieve a common goal by sharing their knowledge and skills to further the goal.
Now that we know the definition of team work, let’s look at 7 elements to building a great team.
#1: The Right People
One of the key elements to building a great team is filling it with the right people. There is a particular mix that you’re looking for. It’s hard to have a team filled with all leaders or all soldiers. Here are a few types of people to look for when building your team:
1. *An excellent leader. *This person has experience leading groups of people and knows how to lead from a state of grace while inspiring his fellow teammates. This person has been part of a team before in a non-leadership role and knows the importance of group dynamics. He knows how to work long, hard hours and overcome challenges and problems. The leader has a healthy dose of self-esteem, but he isn’t a dictator. Your team won’t work without a leader.
2. *An excellent assistant leader.* Your team leader needs a second in command to help lead the group. This person is a trusted advisor to the leader and a popular team member. This person should be able to fill both roles of leader and subordinate. This role is filled by someone who can step in when needed. For example, if the leader is the CEO, this person might be the CFO.
3. *A middle manager-type. *Consider this person the team’s sergeant. He holds everyone together and is determined to fulfill the team’s goals. He works harder than anyone else while staying positive.
4. *A group of soldiers. *Every good team needs an army of soldiers. These people are willing to work hard and trust in the goals of the team. They want to grow and do their best.
Another key element to building a great team is commitment. Everyone on the team needs to believe in and commit to the mission and purpose of your business.
Commitment is vital to the team’s success. Each team member must be able to set aside his or her personal goals to benefit the team.
When forming your team, it’s a good idea to have the team develop a mission, vision and value statement that correspond to the team’s goals. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page and working towards the same end.
When everyone makes a commitment to the mission and goal, you’ll have less problems in the future.
Your team members must be able to share their thoughts and feelings without any repercussions. You want to create an environment of open communication.
For example, if a team member makes a mistake, or shares what others think isn’t a good idea, the communication must be strong enough to handle this in an acceptable manner.
When good communication exists, team members trust each other enough to throw out ideas and spend their time working through problems and coming up with solutions.
Communication depends on trust, and when you make a commitment to communication, your team can provide and accept constructive criticism and work together for a common goal.
#4: Complementary Strengths
We talked about the make-up of your team, but it’s worth mentioning that you also want your team members to complement one another.
For example, you might have a soldier who is good at marketing, while another is an IT expert, while yet another is an experienced merchandiser.
You don’t need a whole team of people who are good at the same thing. You want each team member to bring a unique skill. When the skills complement one another, you’ve built a great team.
The best way to build a great team with complementary strengths is to make a list of the skills you are looking for and find team members to fill the roles.
#5: Shared Values
Don’t overlook the importance of shared values. When the values of your team members are aligned, you’ll experience less fighting.
Consider Ashoka U. They say the goal to building their cohesive team is having a baseline value system and common goal. For them, their values are tied to an “impeccable work ethic, no-drama attitude and drive for social impact.”
Your great team depends on their ability to cooperate well together. In order to be productive, there are a few team behaviors to guide you in building your team.
1. Follow through – team members have to trust they when someone says they’ll do it, they will.
2. Accuracy – each person’s accuracy affects the group as a whole.
3. Creativity – this is what drives the team and increases productivity and innovation.
4. Timeliness – each team member must respect one another’s time.
5. Spirit – a team is a family, and as such, even during conflict, must retain “spirit.”
#7: Conflict Management
Your great team is made up of humans, so you can expect some conflict. Remember that differences are okay.
What defines your team is how the conflict is handled.
When building a great team, each member must understand your “rules of conflict.” Make conflict resolution easy and create a plan for handling it.
Once you have taken these 7 key elements to building a great team and built one of your own, you’ll also want to spend some time on team building.
Even though you built a great team, it must be continually nurtured so each member continues to have a clear, shared purpose and is open to working together for a common goal.
**What do you think are the key elements to building a great team? What’s worked for you in your company? What hasn’t worked? Please share what’s worked for you below.**