Do you have your ‘dream team’ working happily and productively in your business or your department? Perhaps you feel there’s still room for improvement. Below are five questions to help you identify the gaps in your team’s effectiveness, with ‘best practice tips’ for your consideration.
1. Do we know what we’re trying to achieve?
Does everyone on your team understand the strategic plan and how the team’s successes (and failures) impact the achievement of the organisation’s goals? How involved were they in setting the goals of your team? Could they explain the goals to others?
Include the team in planning and clearly communicate how the team’s performance will contribute to the organisational goals.
2. Is every team member committed to our joint goals?
You will know the answer to this question through observation and questioning. Having a common goal is not enough in itself to ensure success, commitment is also required. Sometimes lack of commitment can be due to a clash between the goal and the individual’s expectations.
Check in with your team members that the goals are consistent with their personal values and aspirations.
3. How likely are we to achieve our goals?
Do you have the best combination of competencies for what you’re trying to achieve? If not, how will you add these resources – through training, outsourcing or hiring? Have you set clear expectations for both work performance and behaviour within the team?
Build teams for future as well as current needs.
4. Do we understand and value our individual strengths?
Do you know in detail the experience, skills and talents of each team member? Are they respected for their specialist knowledge? Do they get an opportunity to use their strengths?
Delegate tasks and responsibilities to individuals in their field of expertise to give them a chance to shine.
5. Do we communicate well?
Does the team leader effectively and appropriately share relevant information in a timely manner. Does every team member get to express their opinion in an environment of respect and openness?
Introduce practices, such as meeting agendas, that allow all members of the team to contribute without feeling threatened.
6. Are we all willing to lend a helping hand?
Is there a spirit of cooperation, with team members going out of their way (and outside their designated roles) to get the work done to achieve your team objectives? Are team members happy to collaborate and share information and resources?
As with communication, a good team leader will model the behaviour that is expected from the rest of the team.
7. Are we having fun?
Work is work and it can’t always be a party, but if people genuinely enjoy the work they do and the company of their team, you will achieve a lot more.
Celebrate your successes and when things go wrong, avoid blaming others.
What do you think?
Reflecting on these questions may have prompted some thoughts about how to improve your team. Don’t let them be lost!
Your next step is to decide on what actions you can take and plan how you will implement those actions. Write it down, share your ideas and ask for help from both inside and outside your team.