I recently had an interesting experience where something I had been heads down working on for a few weeks, I had found a particular component really frustrating, and someone stepped in with fresh eyes and gave instant clarity. This is what great teamwork is all about.
How often does it happen where we have our noses pressed so hard against the glass that we fail to see right through it?
Here are five steps you, as a leader, and both as a follower in situations where you must follow suit, can help build a stronger team, with greater focus.
1. Focus on the big picture
There is nothing worse than plodding along with meaningless work. What is the purpose that is sitting before, or the mission at hand? If you don’t set the standard, the pace, and the vision, then who will? Too many of us choose to sit idly by on the sidelines waiting to be called in to the game. Start the game!
2. Encourage pinch hitting
Often times there will be situations where it will require someone to help out with another person’s “usual” tasks. Don’t encourage animosity for someone to feel like they are doing something that is “beneath” them by drawing to hard of lines in the sand. Teams are just that, teams!
The end goal isn’t always reached by the first set course. Sometimes it requires flexibility. Often, this might require you to roll up your sleeves. But don’t disregard appropriate delegation.
3. Delegate appropriately
Have you ever been delegated a task without any clear guidance? This is very frustrating, right? What about tasks you have delegated? Think about the last 3-5 tasks you have delegated and ask yourself, did you give enough direction, or at least the right initial directions?
If you want to learn some effective ways to delegate, I encourage you to read the five levels of delegation.
4. Set proper expectations
As a close cousin to delegation, setting proper expectation up front is important too. You want independent individual key players on your team, but setting clear expectations is crucial to the success of the overall team. When each person knows what is expected of them individually and as a group, it sets the right tone.
5. Promote integrity
Stepping in to help another, or put in some extra time is more bearable when the team is based around the value of integrity. It starts with vision, no matter how small the team’s task might be, and builds into honesty and integrity. The added advantage to promoting integrity is that problems can be spotted earlier on, and resolved quickly, as there is more open communication, and willingness to take responsibility and fix it.
I am grateful to have had many great examples of leaders in my life that has taken these steps to heart, and some that I’ve seen blow these off. They did so, however, at their own peril.
I like what Henry Ford said, relating to this topic of building stronger teams, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Question: Do you have any more examples on building stronger teams? Are you currently in the process of trying to do this with your team?
(photo credit: voithite)