Team Building is an all time and a real time goal in all industries that is believed to yield Efficiency. While talking about Team Building/Team Management, we have to consider into account the very basic nature of human being vis-a-vis Human Traits, Behaviors, Attitudes and other Psychological characters along with other technical skills.
Following are the points that I would like to stress on and suggest the readers some of the proved methods to manage teams efficiently. Especially, for a Team Leader(TL) to achieve his/her team goals.
- The TL should have a great flexibility to communicate with all the subordinates as well as superiors. This establishes effective communication channels with all the stakeholders.Understanding the psychology/behavior/attitude/traits of each team member helps a TL to behave uniquely with each and every individual. This helps to build a unique One-to-One relation with each member and establish a two-way (Feedback to TL and from TL) communication channel. The goal is to achieve the best possible comfort level while communicating problems/issues/suggestions by TL or by the members.
- Identification of various skills/traits/personalities of the members and delegation of jobs according to their competency levels result in job satisfaction. For example, apply DOPE (Dove, Owl, Peacock, Eagle) 4 bird personality types concept to find out the type of personality of members. Then allocate job that suits their personalities. This may not be possible every time but work can be broken down, segregated and effectively allocated in most of the cases. Please search for more details of DOPE in the web. Motivation level of members is directly linked to their job satisfaction. If TL allocates the job what the members like (if possible), the work can be done with possible levels of efficiency.
- Identification of friction within the team and smoothening efforts will result in better interpersonal relationship as well as pleasant work environment. A pleasant work environment attracts the employees and results in quality of work. Helping nature should be promoted within the team and appreciated to build cohesion. Entire Team should be treated as one Family/one Force.
- Periodic review meetings help the team to discuss about the problems, possible solutions, suggestion to improve the performance, feedback on failures, changes in management expectations etc. This will make team updated/upgraded with all advancements and further reducing communication gaps.
- Educating the team about the advancements of their technology/methodology to make them feel that they are gaining knowledge and continually being improved. Improvement of Knowledge/skill is one of the motivational factors proposed by Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory.
- Handling the Conflicts / Disagreements/ Misunderstandings within the Team should be done carefully and effectively. TL has to see that the decisions/judgments should be a win-win type and are acceptable to both parties as far as possible. This can be possible with effective communication and sensible dealing of the issues.
- Recognition of the best talent in the Team and empowering some of the best performers as Group Leaders proved effective in developing motivation, making the members more responsible and making feel that they are part of the business. This brings self motivation in all the individuals. Monitoring efforts of TL are reduced when the self motivation is developed in individuals. TL should keep the “Halo Effect” in mind while allocating the new responsibilities to some of the best performers. More details of Halo Effect be seen on web.
- Team members have to be made comfortable to talk to TL about any faults in the processes or any improvement in the process/quality. This is possible when TL develops a strong inter personal relationship with the individuals. Critical negative points or problems or threats in the project are brought out at early stages when TL gives freedom to members to talk.
- Effective monitoring of progress of work and periodic visits to members should be reasonable. Please note that they should not be too early or too late. The time period varies from task to task. If the visits are too early the members may become irritated and may feel discomfort doing their jobs. The purpose is to ensure individuals to think that TL is available all the time to address the problems or seeking any help and is part of the project. Always say that “We have to do this” not “You have to do this”. TL should assure that he/she is also part of the job.
- Seating arrangement or Location of work to be planned so that communication can be done easily within the team. This is just like an effective arrangement of a layout in manufacturing units and offices
- One day picnic on weekends with Team along with their family members may help a TL to build best interpersonal relationship. Alternatively, a family get-together can be a good idea. Or a lunch with all team members may be affective.
- Good results are possible when Transparency is maintained if possible. The information should be circulated throughout the teams to ensure that each and every member is important for the TL and part of the family. This builds cohesion; an honest relationship between TL and Team members.
- Appreciation and rewarding a good job keep the team motivated. When this is done in public, it will be more effective. Criticism has to be avoided as this creates de-motivation. The incidents/errors have to be communicated in the form a feedback but no scolding for errors be practiced to avoid dissatisfaction in the members. The credit has to be given to the individuals for the work done. TL should always be ready to take ownership of any failure and not to simply blame the team members.
- Creating a competitive environment among the team members will help to find out the performers and non performers. It improves overall performance of the team. Training needs are identified and non performers can be trained. Multiple ways of performing one task can be recorded and most innovative method can be picked. The same methodology can be standardized and rest of the people can be asked /trained to follow the best method of doing the job. Corrective Actions and Preventive Actions are applied to improve overall performance of the Team.
- Tuckman’s stages of group development Forming, Norming, Storming and Performing concept to be applied while leading a team to manage efficiently. More details of these stages of Team Development can be seen on web.
Having discussed the above points, I would say that a Team Leader should be a very sensible person who is technically strong with managerial knowledge/skills like Effective Communication, Organizational Behavior and Project Management. Please note that Team is a Temporary collaboration with specific START & END. It provides the best platform to make good relations as well as opportunity to share knowledge. I wish everybody should utilize this opportunity to grow up to the next level of your career.
Vennu Manhoharr did his Masters in Applied Geology and currently doing MBA from University of Pune in Marketing Management. He had 9.5 years of experience in ITES Industry dealing with Quality Management, Project Management, Project Training, Technical Support and Bid Management. His hobbies include Fine Arts, Photography and playing Chess.