If you’re building a team, you’ve probably read “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. His advice about getting the right people on the bus and getting them in the right seats is priceless. In the real world, we sometimes don’t have the luxury of building teams from the ground up and often need to work with the people we have. How do you build a team when the people you have might not be the ideal? Here are a few tips for getting closer to the team you want:
1. Adopt a curious mindset.
Genuinely engage in dialogue with your team about what’s working and why and what’s not and why. See what else you can find out about them and the way they think to help them become more effective as a team member.
2. Make it safe for everyone to contribute.
If you haven’t read “Crucial Conversations” and “Crucial Confrontations” by Kerry Patterson (and others) this is a great first resource for finding ways to facilitate safe dialogue.
3. Acknowledge your team
Everyone is motivated differently. If you’ve kept your curious mindset active, made it safe for people to contribute and genuinely fostered dialogue, you probably know quite a bit more about how your team likes to be recognized and when. Let them know their engagement is valuable and put their advice to good use.
4. Put aside your personal feelings
While creating a constructive feedback loop on your team, you may have heard some things that were difficult. Put your ego and personal feeling aside and take the comments in the spirit of service. How can you put their feedback to good use to create a stronger result?
5. Seek to grow your team through diversity and opportunity
Diverse teams get better results. Unfortunately, the level of communication skill to leverage diversity when team members don’t always understand one another due to different experiences can be daunting. If you’ve kept up with steps 1 through 4, you’re likely ready to get into the diversity conversation. Actively encourage your team to look for the ways they can promote diversity – make including people from different genders and racial, cultural, social or economic backgrounds the norm and your company will benefit economically and socially.
No matter where your team is at, once you’ve got an idea of where you’re going and how your team can contribute, be transparent about ways they can grow into making larger or different contributions. If they want to grow, make it easy. Provide resources, mentorship and active sponsorship and you’ll reap the benefit of smarter, more agile and more profitable teams.
Got more ideas for team building? Comment below.