Creating a winning team is not only sufficient to win in any business, it is an ultimate necessity. A winning team creates suitable impression and most of all, is great to work with. Ideas are exchanged, environment is charged and it is fun to be at office.
But is creating such a team easy? How do you balance the different personality traits, working styles and mode of operations of individuals in the team.
When I was leading a team, I often had members who had widely varying personalities. It was not always easy to work with them.
I applied some of the techniques using which I was able to create a great team.
I would like to cite an example of a team, I once handled. I have used fictitious names to describe each team member. Let us have a look at my team.
a) Bob: He is a self starter, highly motivated, likes to work late . However he is aggressive and causes friction in his team because of his comments on working style of other team members. He is a plus when he is on an assignment but constantly lets team down when catering to team objective
b) Alice: Alice is a shy worker. She organizes work in a methodical manner. She is not as fast and technically good as Bob but whatever she does, it is with perfection. She is a team player but does not want to participate when she is asked to speak to customer for e.g..
c)Jim: He is a good team player though not as technically good as Bob. He, however completes all his assignments on time and in budget. He is a slow learner but once he knows something, he is good at it. He has got great communication skills.
I have outlined only basic characteristics of team members. Situations can be much more complex than this. However you can use the tips I am going to talk about in your situations too.
So our three employees Bob, Alice and Jim are now in a team. I was their project lead. How did I manage to create a winning team?
Here are some things I did.
- I first analyzed my team members’ personalities and traits:
- Bob is a fast learner and is intelligent but is quite aggressive
- Alice will take time to do a task. She would be good at finishing the tasks but not fare well where communication with customer was needed
- while Jim will fit into almost any task that is assigned to him, he will not be able to perform when there is an urgency
- I determined tasks suitable to each team member
- I assigned Bob to the task that were required to be done immediately. Bob got the thrills from doing the job fast, while I got the job done.
- I assigned Alice to the tasks where she was not required to talk to customer. She was assigned a lot of coding tasks, where she could work independently and her work was presented to the customer either by Bob or Jim. This made her happier.
- I assigned Jim to the tasks where customer interaction was required. Since Jim had necessary skills to deal with customer, he could do the job well .
- I made them follow a common objective
- I set up ground rules for communication
- I praised individuals publicly but emphasized on team being together and above all
- I Inspired Inspired Inspired
I found out that
It was important that everyone understood what we were working for. That means communicating to everyone what was expected and when it was to be done. At the start of every week, I made a list of things to be completed and our achievements of last week. It helped everyone to be focused on the work without compromising their individual styles.
I communicated that all are equal in the team. There was no reward for doing a faster job but one for doing it well. There was no penalty for not being able to talk to the customer but one for not delivering on time. Also, everyone had to respect each other and their differences.
Whenever we got appreciation from the customer, I made sure that everyone in the team had their share of it. If the appreciation was for an individual, I praised him or her publicly. However I always emphasized that the team was larger than anyone of them and we could only win when we were together.
We celebrated every win however small I would ask my team members to narrate their success stories. I would sometimes cite customer emails to show their appreciation. It created a spirit of togetherness. Harnessing the positives and underplaying the negatives, I was able to inspire the team to do their best.
PS: Bob, Alice and Jim don’t work with me anymore but they still recount the good days we had when working together.