Building A Powerful and Successful Team

Before building a team, it’s important to understand the purpose of the team.  In general, teams are interdependent groups of employees who unite around a particular task, project or objective.  A team with a clear understanding of the goals of the company will reach a higher level of success.  From clear expectations to appropriate methods for collaboration and communication, you can create a successful team.  One of the first steps is to hire the highest-ranking member of the team first.  This person will be able to help you put together the right group of people for your team.

If your employees respect you and trust your judgement, they will work effectively even when you are not around.  This doesn’t mean asserting authority, instead foster trust through honesty and transparency.  Once you have established relations with and between your employees you can help them work together effectively.

Establish expectations for each employee and make them accountable as individuals, as well as a team member.  In order to have a successful team, each team member needs to pull their weight.  Nothing can pull a team apart faster than co-workers who are slackers.  While it’s important that as their employer you value and honor each individual member of the team, it’s also important that the team members themselves exhibit that same respect towards one another and their employer.  Encourage individuals to regard one another as business partners who will work toward a shared goal of business development, individual success, and achieving team goals.

Motivate your team with positivity.  It’s more effective to shape behavior with positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement.  Create a positive team environment by citing events and behaviors that you particularly liked, and encourage your team to bring more where that came from.  Positive reinforcement is a far more productive manner of motivating team performance than negative reinforcement.  

Communication is extremely important when building a successful team.  As humans, we all love to know where we stand.  Do I need to improve on something?  Am I doing my job effectively?  Assume that your team wants to know.  If they sense you are unhappy with their job performance, that can lead up to stress and even resentment, which will result in poor performance.  Or if they think they are doing a great job but you as a boss aren’t satisfied, this can lead to unwelcome shock when you tell them that they have been underperforming.  Effective communication can keep working relationships strong for decades, while silence can break things apart very quickly.

Look for ways to reward good work because people love affirmation of their hard work.  If you are fortunate enough to be able to give financial bonuses, this is a great way to show appreciation.  If you are a startup with little cash on hand, think of other ways to show gratitude and trust.  An easy way is to practice the art of delegating if a team member shows great judgement, allow them to make some key decisions.  Finding small ways to show that you are paying close attention to your employees and their efforts are appreciated.  It will reflect well on you as a boss and help remind your employees that they are a valued member of the team.

Gina Cheatham 

Sales Director at The Firm, Inc. and former owner of an Allstar Competitive Cheerleading Gym.