On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your team’s ability to work together?
Another way to look at it is to ask if you have a group of individuals or if everyone in the team works together. If you have a group of individuals, this will only get you so far before everyone starts to splinter off and chase their own goals. You should be looking to get everyone to work as one.
So how do you do this? As their leader, they will look to you to bring everyone together. That’s why it’s good to understand the fundamentals of teamwork, which we’ll go through now.
A Common Purpose
The best way to unite a team is to give them a purpose they can get behind. It goes beyond what the company wants to achieve. This is about what you and the team will set out to do.
It could be to be the best team within the division. Maybe you want to be the highest performing group in the organisation. It’s also a good idea to include your customers. So, your purpose might be to have the highest customer satisfaction score or lowest lapse rate.
An Agreed Approach
Another fundamental of teamwork is ensuring everyone reads from the same playbook. That means your direct reports understand the processes and procedures as well as know why they’re important.
Your approach each day might differ according to the circumstances you’re faced with. However, when something changes, everyone in your team is made aware of it and adjusts accordingly. Think of it like a football team. If you call a play, you tell everyone. Otherwise, you’d have the players running in all different directions.
Accountability for All
An excellent habit to embed in your team is targets and metrics that involve everyone. All team members should have individual KPIs and goals they need to achieve. But these should contribute to the overall group objectives.
As such, your direct reports shouldn’t just care if they hit their targets or goals at the end of a month or financial year. They should be passionate about achieving the team objectives. They’re accountable for their results while also assisting their colleagues and ensuring they meet theirs too. Alternatively, they work harder to compensate for their team members’ shortfalls.
The Final Say
It’s good to hear everyone’s voices and collaborate as a team. However, it’s vital that one person has the final say, and that’s you as the leader. You need to establish yourself as the authority, and your team needs to respect your decision even if they might not 100% agree with it.
You can make it easier for them to agree with it by explaining the reasoning behind your decision. Be open and honest about why you’re going in a particular direction or dismissing specific suggestions. The better your ability to communicate, the stronger your team will be.
Revisit the Fundamentals of Teamwork Regularly
The fundamentals of teamwork are not a set-and-forget activity. It should be an agenda item you revisit once a month or, at a minimum, once a quarter. It’s a good opportunity to ensure everyone is on the same page, understands the common goal, and the approach to achieving the objective.
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