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How Good Are You at Building a Team?

Are you giving them the start they need?

Too often we don’t take the time to really build a strong project team. That’s a real shame because in order for a team to be effective and successful at what they are tasked to do, they must have a good start. A good start means that they are on their way to being a high performing team. It means that you – as the project leader – must give them that good start.

So how do you do that?  Take these steps:

  1. Take the time before the project actually starts to get the team together in a social environment. Let them get to know each other on a personal level. This increases their comfort level and enables them to more easily develop a “team outlook.” It enables them to trust each other.
  2. Once the project begins, have a kick off meeting with the entire team. As a group, assign roles and responsibilities, decide on the approach to be taken to ensure the project meets its goals, determine how problems will be handled and decisions made. Remember you are the team leader with ultimate responsibility, but share that responsibility with the team. Enable them to participate in how the project will be managed toward its successful conclusion.
    Now that you have the team off to a good start, keep the momentum going!
  3. Allow the team members the autonomy to make decisions around their particular tasks. I’m not suggesting that you should be out of the loop – but allow the team to get the work done as they see best in order to meet the timeline, budget and quality needs of the project.
  4. On a regular basis – have a small team get-together (other than the regular team meetings) – go out for coffee as a group, have lunch out, get together after work for a few drinks or dinner out.
  5. Recognize the team members’ efforts regularly. When someone on the team has done an outstanding job, completed a task earlier than expected, helped out someone else, or solved a tricky problem, acknowledge their efforts and make sure the higher-ups know about it.
  6. If possible, invite team members to present status report updates to the stakeholders to give them visibility. This works in some businesses and not as well in others. But if it works in your company, why not give them the chance to be in the spotlight on occasion.
  7. When the project has been delivered, celebrate the successes. Take the team out for dinner and drinks after work or for lunch. Thank them for the efforts and for helping to make the project a success. Ask the sponsor and other key stakeholders to join in and also thank the team for their success. The team will appreciate it!

If your team is virtual, you can still make this work though sometimes it can be a bit trickier and take longer to build a highly performing team.  Get them together for kicking off the team starting up and closing out the project if possible and then be sure to check in regularly via phone, email, the computer (such as Skype or Webex) and/or a collaboration portal.

What can you add to the list? How are some ways you have built your project teams? Please share with others in the Comments field below.

See related team posts here: