What is good teamwork worth to your company? Simply assembling a group of people to work on a project or fill out a department doesn’t automatically mean they will work together cohesively and productively. Nor does it mean teams will work cohesively toward overall business goals. Teamwork is learned, and as the leader you’re responsible for helping your teams perform “at speed.”
Creating valuable teams requires regular evaluation. Take these steps and ask yourself these questions, to build top-notch teamwork throughout your organization.
Are you a good leader?
You’re part of the team, too. Peak-performing leaders set an example, with clear consistent communication and superior work standards for themselves as well as others. They show the way, by explaining goals, timelines and other expectations and establishing a regular evaluation process to measure how well the team is doing. Leaders are visionary, always on the lookout to augment teams with skills and knowledge that will be key in the future.
Assess team member leadership skills.
Are individuals willing to help and teach one another? Able to think strategically as well as operationally? Teams are most productive when multiple members can take over for the team leader when needed.
Do they work well with others, even under pressure, and effectively manage conflict within the team? As the leader, you may elect to let the team work out its own issues – that’s part of learning to work together successfully — but some circumstances dictate that you step in and fix things yourself so the team can continue to function smoothly.
Evaluate job-related capabilities.
Does your team have the collective knowledge, skills and experience to tackle their projects and interact smoothly within their group and with external teams or individuals? Does each person understand their role and responsibilities? You can have each team member complete a 360 o review – evaluating their own performance as well as that of other team members. This effort should focus solely on functional performance, not personalities. You can also ask for input from superiors or subordinates, if appropriate.
Use the results to collectively define areas for improvement and devise a development plan to boost the group’s overall effectiveness. Does the team include the right people? Would more or different members improve productivity (or creativity)?
Individual performance review is also important, because team members are people and they need personal feedback. You can praise and reward those who are doing outstanding work and deal one-on-one with anyone who needs personal coaching or needs to be removed. Allowing someone to continue to struggle or a disruptive team member to remain in place drags down the entire team’s productivity, not to mention their morale.
What about resources?
Does the team have what they need beyond people to be successful — time, funding, access to information and tools?
Measure ongoing results.
Does the team have established goals and clear benchmarks, KPIs or other metrics to measure progress? It’s impossible to evaluate the team’s “worth” without a system of accountability. Knowing what needs to be accomplished and when enables members to hold each other accountable for reaching the team’s goals.
High-performing teams are confident and motivated. They work well with one another, other teams within the organization and external players with whom they have contact, from vendors to customers to stockholders. They make your company’s reputation and bottom line look good.
By applying these five assessment steps to individual teams, to departments or company-wide, you can see how well your various internal teams are contributing to enterprise goals and growth.