If asked, most managers would probably say that they believe that effective teams bring great value to their organisation.
However, when polled, not all supervisors state that they have the most productive teams, and would like to see improvement in that area.
While some don’t even try to create true teams from their employees, others do put in the effort, but are disappointed when they don’t see the results they want.
That is because not all leaders know how to create true teams, and many end up making these three common pitfalls:
Not Enough Time
Perhaps the biggest pitfall in building real teams from colleagues who work together is not dedicating enough time to the formation of the teams.
Some companies bring in a team building expert and expect employees to form teams and do everything they were taught from just one session, which is almost impossible.
Team building is a craft that must be taught; it requires leadership, communication, collaboration, honesty, respect, and other skills that some people possess and others don’t.
To create productive teams, dedicate at least a full week to truly train employees, and then do follow up sessions to refresh their memories every few months.
Creating teams does not mean that the manager does not need to be involved anymore.
Although teamwork does lead to more productive and self-sufficient employees who can turn to each other instead of running to the boss with every question, this does not mean a leader is not necessary.
Depending on the size of the teams and the department, a hierarchy may need to be established with team leaders who report to the boss, so the manager is able to deal with top-level issues instead of addressing minor problems.
Promoting Team Formation
When setting up teams, you, as the boss, need to do everything possible to help the members of each team get to know each other.
By communicating, individuals can find common ground over which to connect and bond.
By establishing these personal connections, colleagues will learn to trust each other, which is the most important component of teamwork.
If you just assign various people into a team and have them start working, they will not be very productive as they will not know each other’s’ strengths and weaknesses, and will probably not be confident in others abilities to complete work properly.
By dedicating time inside or outside of the office for team members to get to know each other, you will create camaraderie and promote teamwork.
Remember than your team consists of humans with different strengths and weaknesses, and different personalities.
Be devoting time and your presence, and allowing coworkers to get to know each other while forming teams will help the teams be more self-sufficient, trusting and productive.
Head of Training and Development
Originally published: 11 December, 2015
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