Team building is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You have a box of bits and pieces that are totally different from one another, but with patience and careful observation you can make everything fit.
Team building requires a special understanding of people. It’s both art and science – and it’s worth learning to do well.
Here are five ways to improve your team-building skills – and have a lasting impact on the organization you serve.
1. First, Know Thyself
As the leader, you must be aware of your leadership style and techniques. Are you as effective as you think? Does your team accept you? Evaluate yourself, and be critical. Look for ways to improve, especially in ways that will contribute to the success of others. You wouldn’t be conducting this exercise if you didn’t have good intentions, so take the time to make sure you’re leading from a position of respectability.
2. Then, Know Your Team
Gathering intelligence about your team means learning what defines their strengths and capabilities. What assets does each bring to the table – and what needs to be developed? Take the time to get to know people as individuals in order to learn what motivates them to excel.
3. Be Clear About Roles & Responsibilities
Don’t assume this is an easy step. You’ll often find that a person’s ideal roles lies outside the job description, and this is actually a good thing. Your team members’ responsibilities should be interconnected, dependent upon one another. Keep this is in mind when you’re hiring, as you’ll want to note not only whether a person has the talent for the role, but also whether they’ll be a good fit within your company’s culture.
4. Be Proactive with Feedback
Feedback is the key to ensuring any team is staying on track. Feedback should be proactive and constant. Many leaders tend to wait until a major problem appears before they speak up. Take the opposite approach: make feedback part of your natural dialogue and provide a steady stream of constructive data.
5. Always Celebrate Success
This goes beyond rewards and recognition – this is about taking a step back and reflecting on how and why your team achieved success. As fast-paced as our world is, we often fail to stop and think about what we’ve done and why it worked. Identify where there was effort, persistence and creativity. Celebrate that, then repeat it.
Maurice Gilbert is Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search, which specializes in placing Compliance Officers and Legal Counsel for clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Maurice is also CEO of Corporate Compliance Insights, a worldwide publication devoted to governance, risk and compliance issues. Maurice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.