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5 Steps for Building an Effective Team

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LIZ WEST // CC BY 2.0 //

What Steps Can You Take to Create a High Performing Team?

In today’s business environment, organizations are flatter and the nature of our work is more complex and often global in scope. Meeting the shifting requirements of customers (faster, better, cheaper) has never been more challenging.

As a result, it is increasingly difficult for an individual in a single job role to successfully meet these demands; so, organizations are realizing the key to their success lies in building high-performing teams.

We have developed a series of steps to help you define your team and determine whether you are providing the right level of support to build an effective team.

Take these steps to assess and develop your team:

Step 1: Understand the purpose of forming your team.

Not all teams are created for the same purpose, or have the same end-goals. An executive team manages the organization, whereas a new product team might develop a product and then move to the next. Examine the purpose of your team and ask yourself if its primary function is to:

  • Manage a function or workflow for the organization
  • Solve a particular problem or launch a new initiative that requires different perspectives or a surge of effort
  • Manage a program or process that requires a commitment to a common interest

Step 2: Examine the characteristics and components of your team.

Teams may have different components, just as they may have different purposes. Review the makeup of your team for characteristics that could affect teamwork. Does your team resemble any of the below?

  • Is the team a mix of virtual/remote members, or in one location?
  • Is the team permanent or temporary? (A board of directors might be permanent, even if members change, whereas a committee might band and disband based on projects.)
  • Is the team forming for a short or long duration?
  • What is the degree of experience among members?
  • Are there new, versus tenured members on this team?

Step 3: Assess the degree of interaction your team requires.

“Interdependence” is how dependent team members are on each other to work cohesively. Imagine the differences between a surgical team and the hospital billing department. These teams rely on each other very differently to achieve successful outcomes. Ask yourself if your team has:

  • Low interdependence
  • Medium interdependence
  • High interdependence

Step 4: Review what the organization is doing to support teamwork.

Effective organizations leverage teams by providing support that cascades through the organization. Assess your organization’s commitment to developing teams and ask if they provide the following:

  • Senior leader support
  • Systems and structural support
  • Developmental support

Step 5: Examine what you as a leader  are doing to support teamwork.

Teamwork is the “ultimate competitive advantage” and as a leader, you can support your team by making a commitment to building their skills at working together as a team. Ask yourself if you could bolster your team’s performance with any of these actions:

  • Build the team’s technical capabilities
  • Open up lines of communication
  • Pick the right team members and make sure my team is the right size
  • Build team member skills—with assessments, retreats, and/or coaching
  • Set clear goals (SMART and REAL)
  • Clarify each person’s role in achieving the common purpose
  • Rally support both within and outside the team
  • Foster camaraderie and cooperation—with team retreats
  • DiSC®-type assessments
  • Promote healthy dissent and resolve conflict (with help from The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™)
  • Model accountability, establish accountability partnerships
  • Communicate team successes

Get started on making your team high-performing; download our whitepaper, The Core Components of a Team.


Download an Overview of The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team

Bill Mugavin

Bill Mugavin , CPLP, is a consultant at FlashPoint. He has worked with top-tier Fortune 1000 global organizations to improve leadership and management effectiveness

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