A new year means new projects, new initiatives and new goals. But you likely won’t get much accomplished if you go it alone. You’re going to need a few superstar employees to help you get it all done.
But how can you build stellar teams that drive your company to success?
Here are three simple rules that will help you create teams that problem-solve and execute as effectively as possible.
1. Build in diversity
A common mistake managers make when creating teams is to only hire people like themselves. Another common mistake: Hiring for diverse skill sets and then failing to incorporate that diversity into the team.
Successful teams include a mix of outgoing and reserved personalities, people who focus on the task and those who focus on relationships. Your team needs a combination of those who focus on the big idea and others who love minute detail; those with sales flash paired with those who love documentation.
Without built-in diversity, you may create a team full of people focused on innovation to the exclusion of all else, who generate a lot of great ideas that never get completed. If you balance your innovators with those who value structure and process, then you’re likely to see better results.
2. Embrace differences
If you’ve inadvertently created a team that all think alike, you’ll need to actively make room for any new people you hire to flesh out your team’s abilities.
Because you’ve built a team who think and operate alike, they’ve become used to reinforcing one another’s behavior. Add other people with skills and behavioral norms outside your team’s modus operandi, and there’s likely to be friction.
You’ll decrease the potential for misunderstanding and increase the team’s success by making sure you explain the new individual’s strengths and why you’re bringing him or her on board. The new person will also need to understand the team he or she is joining. This sets the stage for everyone to appreciate each member, as well as diverse skills and perspectives.
Say you’ve built a great group of salespeople and you’re a selling machine yourself. But your team lacks a process-oriented person who cares about the paperwork for those sales.
If you hire process-oriented support staff for the sales team, remember to demonstrate your appreciation for their role on the team by listening to their concerns, turning in your paperwork and reminding others to do the same.
A good team stays motivated when each member feels comfortable expressing his or her views and feels heard.
Using the DISC assessment tool can be a great way to help your team members learn to understand their own and other people’s most natural behaviors and preferred work styles.
3. Turn ‘em loose; just don’t let ‘em get lost
Set your team up for success by clearly communicating the expectations, boundaries, resources available, tribal traditions, and roles and responsibilities. Then move on to the goals.
No team can succeed if the goals are muddy. So, communicate the goals, give reasonable deadlines and remain available for questions and concerns.
Assuming you’ve put together the right mix of skills, aptitudes and environment, your team should be able to operate with minimal oversight. Competent people perform better when given the appropriate level of autonomy to do their jobs, so avoid micromanagement.
That said, autonomy isn’t an excuse for failing to coach and monitor team performance or provide guidance when needed.
Your job is to stay connected enough to show appreciation for good work, but distant enough to empower your employees and demonstrate trust in their decisions.
The role of company culture
One area where you don’t want diversity is in the team’s most basic building block – its culture and values. A team without shared values, or a team culture that doesn’t align with the company’s climate, will fail to gel or will work at cross-purposes.
Examples of corporate culture and values include innovation, servant leadership, continual learning and pursuit of excellence. Great teams are based on feelings of cohesion and unity, and that all starts with shared values.
Culture will be the glue that holds a team together or destroys it, so don’t overlook this important factor.
Find even more tips for building winning teams. Download our free e-book, How to Develop a Top-notch Workforce That Will Accelerate Your Business.