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Switch on success: Turn your group into a team

By Tim Fuell - May 30, 2014
Image courtesy of Smarnad  - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Smarnad – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’ve mentioned before that size isn’t everything in the world of business, but if you do have a sizeable staff base, it pays to make sure they are working together effectively and not just making up the numbers. A group of people is only as good as each of its constituent parts and the direction it is given from above, so here’s six tips on making sure your group becomes a team and heads towards efficiency and success:

1 Set clear objectives

Even a good set of people can lose interest, lack direction or simply go off the boil if the tale from the top isn’t strong and clear. People like to know they are part of something successful, so make sure you give them honest regular feedback about how well the business is performing as a whole as well as them individually. Set goals, targets and be clear in your explanation as to what is expected from people and how that interacts with the progress of the project as a whole.

2 Communicate

Regular feedback is key, but communication is a two way thing, so keep ‘your door’ open and remain approachable so that your team feel they can come to you with questions, problems and suggestions too. Consider collaborative working tools. There are plenty of cheap – even free  – cloud based services that will allow everybody to see what is going on and swap messages etc. Remember communication is not just about work stuff either. The ‘water-cooler’ moments have been shown to be highly productive in the workplace.

3 Secure appropriate resources

If you pay peanuts you get monkeys and if you were to run a catering outlet and only gave your chef a handful of nuts from which to magic up some culinary delights you can guarantee that  that highly trained food expert would soon start figuratively dropping down the chain of evolution or leave your operation for a better choice. Give your staff technology that works, give them software that fits their needs and you will see productivity rise. Yes technology is expensive but so is paying unproductive workforces and there are plenty of options such as Bring Your Own Device and leasing that can make the costs of securing the right tools affordable.

4 Work collectively

Both in house and beyond with partners. If you are building a team use them as a team. Yes, everybody will have their own strengths but communication will improve too if others in your workforce work together on new projects, each will get a better understanding of each others roles too which will pay in the long run. If you get a chance to partner with third parties, consider this too as a way of exposing your staff to new skills and knowledge. Don’t fear that they may run off on the back of it – if you get the rest of the elements of your team correct, the grass won’t be greener on the other side.

5 Find a balance of personalities and skills

We are all different. Certain individuals class with others, but it is often moments like that that inspire the greatest creativity. Each member of your team should have their own expertise that others can learn and be inspired from, whilst that individual strength will also help push your projects into new realms with that person at the helm. Having a group of drones or very similar people would maybe be easier on your blood pressure, but not on your bank balance. Different personalities mean team members are more challenged and won’t fall into ruts. That said sometimes certain disruptive natures go too far and will either need to be drawn in or expelled from the team for long-term benefit.

6 Lead from the front

It’s easy to tell people to do this and do that, but unless they see you doing it, the impact will be much less. Don’t be the absent boss, never seen and never heard. Busy lives can make this a difficult balance, but if your team sense you aren’t as committed as you should be, their own commitment will soon wane too. In communication stakes make sure if things have gone quiet for a while it is you that takes the lead and tries to resolve it. Above all when you do talk to employees about the projects in hand, the future and their roles in it, be enthusiastic. It is far easier to buy in to something that sounds exciting.

Your team is your biggest and potentially strongest assets in growing your business. It is one of the reasons the recruitment and head-hunting industry has become so lucrative in recent years. Good people are hard to come by but good people also need good management and a good environment in which to thrive.