10 Valuable Actions To Positively Transform Your Team

What makes a good team? That’s the burning question.

There are a number of theories that bring success to a team (take Bruce Tuckman’s five stages of Team Development for instance) that have impacted teams and individuals alike, but what specifically creates a successful team?

Creating a vibrant atmosphere along with perusing a team that strives to hit targets is always made up of a group of strong personalities. These types of individual hold many positive characteristics and always strive to succeed in everything they do.

In this article, provided by Sandy Smith from Maximillion, we gather greater insights into which characteristics are most valuable in transforming your team’s ethic.

Transform Your Team with 10 Actions

1. Understand Your Goals

Before considering how to drastically improve the team spirit, it’s important that the group understand the team goals thoroughly and how these targets will be achieved.

Defining the process allows all team members to relate positively to the work they’re completing whilst understanding the impact it will have. This sense of purpose is crucial.

Many companies, to our surprise, don’t actually set targets or if they do they’re often concrete. This leaves employees guessing their role and responsibilities which should never be the case.

engaged-employee-traits

Image Credit

2. Meetings with a Purpose

Meetings for the sake of meetings can be pretty agonising, I’m sure you’d agree. They are either highly influential or almost pointless, which is why scheduling meetings that display the two P’s are important; purpose and positivity.

On the other hand, when acting as the head of the meeting, it’s important too;

  • Assure people understand what will be discussed and learned
  • Create an action plan beforehand
  • Allow ALL team members to have their say

Making meetings more positive and active for all involved isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Check out this LinkedIn article displaying 10 ways to make team meetings more engaging.

Related: How to Run an Effective Team Meeting

3. Value Every Opinion

If we each value and respect the opinions of our team, this instantly creates a positive atmosphere and is the easiest way to get everybody on the same page and in the right mindset.

There are many ways to allow everybody to express their opinions in productive ways, including:

  • Group work, featuring people with many skill sets
  • Meetings, display work from each individual and discussing with the group
  • Out of work activities, team lunches, team building activities etc

Related: Unifying a Team of Diverse Members

4. Use Your Initiative

Working in a successful team is about togetherness, and for a team reach its maximum potential, individual initiative is also required.

There are a number of ways to encourage initiative; some approaches are more interesting than others.

Marty Fukuda wrote a great piece that offers 7 easy steps to encouraging employee initiative – highly recommend!

5. Trust Others Judgement

It’s essential for team members to trust each other’s judgment whilst receiving feedback in a constructive way. This always impacts each team member in different ways, these include:

  • Encouraging communication
  • Trust levels are increased between employees
  • Encourages transparency throughout the group
  • Develops a consistent and mutual working attitude

There are a number of resources on the web that offers several unique methods of increasing communication amongst your team. A highly praised piece offers 20 ways to communicate effectively with your team.

transform your team

6. Make Decisions Together

Each team contains individuals with unique talents and personalities. The more individuals express their opinions, the easier it will become for team members to share information and therefore become more knowledgeable.

With different opinions and views comes a number of alternatives when it comes to making decisions as a team, and this allows all team members to be heard and appreciated.

The 7 step decision making process is a good place to start for beginners

  • Identify a problem
  • Gather information
  • Analyse the situation
  • Create options
  • Evaluate alternatives
  • Select an alternative
  • Act on your decision

7. Take Risks

Taking an individual out of their comfort zone can be a challenging process. With that said, there are approaches that can be made to make people feel more comfortable during this process.

This kind of technique is often used whilst working in a creative environment, but regardless of the industry, it’s imperative to make clear that it’s okay if we don’t get things right the first time.

It also allowed employees to naturally feel more engaged in the work they’re doing, which is in fact impacted why people leave their jobs. A study by BrightHR has revealed that 34% of individuals choose a job dependant on the working atmosphere and culture rather than leaving for a pay rise (just 21%).

8. Organised Decision Making

Making decisions as a unit is once again crucial to increasing team success, but without an organised system in place, it can become pretty chaotic.

Why is it important to make a decision together? That’s simple. Each team member is valued and contributes to the final outcome; a system which is fair and equal.

But with each team comes a different need to plan decision-making. Mind Tools recently published a video based on decision-making techniques which we’d highly recommend.

teams together

9. Encourage Feedback

Encouraging feedback from your team leader and other team members is important, right? Right.

When you think about it, it’s hard to avoid feedback in any given situation. Each time you ask or receive a question, we answer with a form of feedback. It’s almost impossible not to provide feedback unless you give the silent treatment.

Constructive feedback works and is often a successful motivating tactic when executed correctly. It also shines a light over ways in which performance and specific parts of work can be improved. Therefore, always encourage this type of feedback rather than waiting around for it, and if you’re a team leader, take note!

10. Team Acceptance

There are no two people within a group setting, who are exactly the same in what they say, think and do. Conflict and small misunderstandings can often get in the way of achieving the end goal.

Picking up on any unacceptable behavior early on helps in avoiding these moments developing into habits. Having a plan to deal with these situations and eliminate them is important, especially when trying to establish a consistent and overall positive team spirit.

To conclude, what is team acceptance? In a nutshell, it’s embracing each other for who we are, regardless of cultural differences, characteristics, and experience.


sandy-headshotSandy is an internationally experienced account manager and L&D consultant at Maximillion. He is responsible for managing and developing the portfolio of L&D products and services with our clients, partners, and associates.

The opinions expressed here by the author are their own, not those of Total Team Building.


If you have a new team or are looking to build a better functioning team then contact Total Team Building. We have a range of team building activities that can help team members get to know each other and work together more effectively.

Contact Us Today To See How We Can Help

 

Recommended Reading From The Blog


How to Run an Effective Team Meeting
Unifying a team of diverse members
What is the ideal team size
Qualities of a good team player

How to Run an Effective Team Meeting

Introduction

Meetings are generally considered to be one of the worst parts of most people’s jobs, but have you ever asked yourself why? Even leaders tend to dread meetings, because this negative energy surrounding the word spreads like wildfire. But, there’s no good reason we should all hate meetings so much. In reality, meetings can be productive and useful. It’s all a matter of how you run them.

In today’s business environment, a traditional meeting that lasts for hours and bores everyone in the room is hardly an effective use of time. Time is one of your most valuable assets as an organization, and you’re going to need to use it more efficiently to accomplish real goals. Let’s talk about how you can do a better job at running your regular business meetings.

How to Run an Effective Team Meeting

The Importance of Timeliness

Seeing as time is such an important asset, it’s vital that you use as little of it as possible. Studies done on your working memory capacity have shown that not everyone is able to pay attention equally. Some people have more control over their level of concentration and focus, while others are unable to focus as long in tasks that are uninteresting or unengaging.

This is why time is such a huge factor in the most successful meetings. Most adults are able to hold their attention span for up to 20 minutes, even if the topic they are paying attention to doesn’t interest them very much. If you hold a meeting that’s any longer than this, it will not be very successful. It is far better to have a short, productive meeting than a long, drawn-out and unproductive meeting.

Some occasions call for longer meetings and cannot be shortened. If this is the case, then you need to use your time more wisely. Inform people ahead of time how long the meeting will be, what the agenda is, and how they are expected to contribute. That way people will be more prepared and can be more engaged in the meeting itself, helping them to hold their attention spans for longer.

Record Your Progress

Keeping minutes in a meeting will make it so that anything you talked about won’t be lost or forgotten by the next time you get together. What’s the point of holding a weekly meeting if you end up talking about the same topics each time? Keeping minutes and logging what happened in a meeting will help you save time and make your meeting much more efficient for everyone.

Send out a copy of the minutes after the meeting is complete, so that anything important that was discussed will be remembered by all the attendees, and will be known by those who missed the meeting.

Avoid Monologue

If you’re doing a 10-minute status report on a daily or weekly basis, you can get away with just talking by yourself the whole time. However, if you want to make a meeting that will be longer than 10-20 minutes, you’ll want other people to be engaged and participating. You can either assign people tasks ahead of time to do at the meeting, or you can stimulate discussion and carry on during the meeting.

Although participation from others is important, you shouldn’t let someone else hijack your meeting. Remember to keep to the agenda and don’t waste people’s time. If someone is talking too much, isn’t making sense, or is just spending a long time getting to the point, you can take back the reins and stir the meeting back on course. It may be a good idea to talk to that employee afterwards and explain why you had to cut them off, to avoid hard feelings and help them to improve for the next meeting.

Be Purposeful and Direct

The last point is arguably the most important: don’t host unnecessary meetings. Before you call for a meeting, ask yourself if the information can be effectively communicated some other way. If it’s a simple status report or a general informative meeting, can you send out the information to people outside of a meeting?

If you decide that a meeting is necessary, you then have to think about who actually needs to be present for it to take place. Some meetings won’t require the entire team to be there, and you would be wasting time by requiring attendance from everyone. It’s better to selectively invite employees to meetings than to call everyone and have some employees waste time on something that will not involve them or affect them directly.

Meetings should be full of purpose and should be clearly directed. If you don’t have a good reason for why a meeting needs to happen, then maybe you don’t need to have a meeting at all!

Conclusion

Team meetings no longer have to be something to dread and drag your feet about. If you run meetings the right way, your team may not applaud you, but they will become more productive and will use their time for more valuable activities.

Unifying a Team of Diverse Members

We hear a lot about diversity, because of the ever-changing world around us. But, when you’re forced to face it and learn how to unite a team of highly diverse people, how do you do it?

Unifying a team of diverse members

Team Diversity is Helping Your Organization

First of all, it’s important to understand that diverse team members are actually a good thing for your organization. It might not always seem like it, but diversity can aid an organization in problem-solving, creative thinking, and productivity. These benefits can only happen if you can properly manage your diverse team of employees.

How can you manage a diverse team? There is no easy answer to this question and no solution that fits into all situations. However, there are a few great tips that can help you find the solutions to your what’s happening in your own team.

Cultivating Respect

Above all else, respect is necessary if you want to have a rightly functioning group of diverse people. Not only should you respect them all individually, but you have to create a culture of every team member respecting one another.

With diversity comes a plethora of viewpoints on every issue, a variety of lifestyles, and a lot of different cultural differences. This is difficult to navigate at times, but if you train your employees to always act with respect for one another, and if you also embrace that principle, then you can manage to work together more peacefully.

Clear Expectations

Acknowledge to your team that you are made up of a lot of diverse people, and make sure they understand that this was intentional. It’s important that each member knows that they belong on the team and that it wasn’t an accident that brought them there. Show each member why they are important to the team and what you expect from them.

Your entire team should understand your expectations for them as a team, and as individuals. It is much easier to unify people once they have something to work towards!

Inclusive Decision-Making

You are only one person with one way of thinking. If you want a truly diverse team to last, you’ll need to make sure they can be involved in the decision-making process in a meaningful way. Don’t exclude your team from important decisions that need to be made. Ultimately, you are the final authority and the one who makes the call. BUT, you should involve your team in the process of deciding what that call will be and how you as a team will proceed towards your goals.

Teams that make decisions together are more likely to be able to stick to those decisions and create fantastic results. If your members feel like they are not involved in the process, or worse that only a few people were involved and not the entire team, you may lose your unity very quickly.

Be Flexible to Change

Leaders often make the mistake of assuming everyone will respond the same way to their leadership style. This simply isn’t true, and many leaders create problems when they act on this assumption. Don’t be one of those leaders!

Instead, be willing to adapt your leadership style to each team member, according to what will work best with them. Your goal isn’t to make friends and keep everyone as happy as possible, but if you can manage to do that along the way by switching up how you do things, why wouldn’t you? People from diverse backgrounds won’t always respond the same way to your leadership, and that’s okay. Be willing to change up how you do things in order to help make every employee as productive as possible.

Teach Healthy Conflict

Where diversity exists, conflict always follows. It’s natural, and not always unhealthy if it’s done in a productive environment. Plan times of structured conflict where employees are able to discuss their own diverse ideas and thoughts without criticism, just healthy and useful conversations. Make sure to mediate these discussions closely and keep employees from ruining the atmosphere with negative comments or personal attacks.

Diversity and Inclusion Infographic

Infographic courtesy of 4imprint based on the Diversity in the Workplace Blue Paper 

Conclusion

Managing a diverse team is not going to be easy, but the benefits are clearly there if you can be successful. Use these tips to help guide you towards a healthy team full of diverse thoughts and different ideas.
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What is the Ideal Team Size for a Working Team?

In many organisations worldwide the question of team size comes up any time a new team needs to be formed or an existing team is being evaluated. While this isn’t the only factor that affects how a team will behave, nor is it the most important in the majority of cases, it is an undeniably relevant question that demands a logical answer.

What is the ideal team size

Why Team Size Matters

Teams of different sizes behave in vastly different ways. If you don’t manage to strike the balance properly with regards to the size of your team you might end up with a lot of preventable problems. Those teams that are too small risk having a skills gap in an important area while teams that are too large risk a loss of productivity and cohesiveness.

While it’s true that each team and each company is in a unique position with its own employees, there are some standards that have been proven true throughout a wide range of companies in hundreds of studies done around the world. When it comes to teams, size matters. There is no set number that everyone agrees is the best, because it can be different depending on a few variables, but it is certainly something to take into account when you want to form a working team.

Theories About Team Size Versus Productivity

Productivity is one of the main reasons teams are formed. Some company tasks can only be completed well when a team is working on them versus an individual trying to accomplish the same task. However, if a team is too large there is a huge risk of productivity of each individual worker going down as the size of the team goes up. This is referred to as social loafing and is illustrated beautifully by the Ringelmann effect.

The Ringelmann effect refers to some of the earliest research ever done about team size. Through an experimental process involving increasingly large groups of people pulling a rope, Ringelmann deduced that for every person added beyond 5-6 people, individual contributions to the group became smaller. Essentially this means that although larger groups might have higher rates of overall productivity than smaller teams, the individual members of the larger team have lower rates of productivity than those in the smaller team.

This theory is commonly referred to as social loafing. When efforts are being expended by more people, the team as a whole is more likely to experience a decrease in individual work efforts. Some employees may start to slack off, knowing that their lack of effort will be compensated for by the other working members of the team. Others just simply won’t work as hard as they otherwise would because it is more difficult for them to see the effects of their contributions to the team. Altogether this leads to increased overall output and decreased individual output, a scenario that doesn’t suit your company well.

How To Determine The Best Size For Your Team

So, how can you avoid the Ringelmann effect in your organisation? How can you know the ideal size for your particular team? These are questions that have been asked by millions of companies around the world. Unfortunately, there is not one answer that applies to all companies, as the size of the team is completely relative to the task that must be performed by the team.

Team size depends mostly on these three variables:

1. What is the team trying to accomplish?

Different organisations have their own needs. For example, a team of painters can never really be too large as the building will get painted more quickly with a larger team than a smaller team. However, a corporate team of auditors will not experience the same effect and might see more negative results from having a team that’s too large.

2. How many specific and separate roles are necessary to complete the team goals?

What is the absolute number of unique roles you need for your team to succeed? You have to ensure that the team will not have any skills gaps, as this may prevent success and cause frustration. But, you also want to avoid having too many people with similar job skills and roles on the same team as they will begin to lose motivation and productivity.

3. Is there a deadline set for work completion?

Work that needs to be done quickly can sometimes call for a larger team with more working power to accomplish all the necessary tasks on time. This is especially true if no creativity is required for completion of the tasks. Longer-term projects can benefit from smaller teams that will experience more cohesion and positive discussions about the work.

The Widely Accepted Answer

According to Katherine Klein from Wharton University, the widely accepted ideal size for a working team is five people. If you go beyond five people the team starts to lose individual performance, while teams smaller than 5 people can experience awkward team dynamics and skills gaps.
Klein’s research matches that done by other researchers around the world who have also tried to answer this question. The second most common answer to the question of ideal working team size is six people, as the dynamics of even versus odd numbered teams can cause some differences in opinion.

Forming Your Ideal Team

At the end of the day, you have to look at the needs of your organisation and the reasons behind team formation. Why do you need a working team formed, and how many people will be required to best fulfill the requirements placed on your team?

Don’t stress as much over the size of the team as you do about more important factors of team success, such as the ability to work well together, filling all the necessary roles, and diversifying the team. Total Team Building

If you have a new team or are looking to build a better functioning team then contact Total Team Building. We have a range of team building activities that can help team members get to know each other and work together more effectively.

Contact Us Today To See How We Can Help

Qualities of a Good Team Player Versus a Bad Team Player

Teamwork is very present in business today. As a result, many HR departments and hiring managers are looking for those who are going to work well within teams to achieve their goals. Being good at working with a team, sometimes referred to as being a “good team player”, can come in handy for advancing your career and doing better in your workplace.

Qualities of a good team player

What Makes Someone a Good Team Player?

Those who are good at working in a team don’t necessarily act or work the same way, but what they do have in common is that you can count on them to benefit the team rather than breaking it apart. Not all employees are good at being in teams. There is a certain set of qualities you can look for in a good team player versus a bad team player.

Misconceptions About Team Relations

Hearing the phrase “good team player” makes it sound as though the person you’re referring to goes along with the flow of the team and does their work without questioning anything. This, however, is not the ideal way for a team member to act and would actually make them a poor team player.

Keeping the peace in a team is useful, but controversy can actually bring about a lot of good solutions to problems and add new points of view to a conversation. The definition of a good team player is not someone who is overly compliant and unquestioning of the leadership, but someone who pulls their own weight, contributes positively to the team, and works hard to achieve the goals of the team.

Qualities of a Good Team Member

These are the qualities that a good team player should possess:

  1. Reliability

Team members rely on each other heavily to get work accomplished and reach milestones and goals. Good team members must be reliable. Without reliability it doesn’t matter how good of work you do.

  1. Understanding of Strengths and Weaknesses

If you want to contribute as much as possible to the team, you need to know what you have to offer and what it is that you’re bad at. This will allow you to work more in the areas of your strength and add value to the team while letting others help you fill in your weaker spots.

  1. Good Communication Skills

Communication within a team is needed on any project. A good team player is able to share information and resources with other team members and communicate whatever is necessary.

  1. Flexibility

Teams cannot always make exceptions and work around your needs. You have to be flexible to accommodate the needs of the team and to work well with others.

  1. Willingness to Compromise

Recognizing that your point of view and your ideas are not always going to be embraced is important. It’s a good skill to learn how to compromise. However, that doesn’t mean you should let others walk on top of you and dismiss your ideas.

  1. Listening

Learning to listen to your teammates can help you to understand everything that’s going on within the team and what needs to happen. Knowing where others stand on issues is important before you can give an informed opinion or idea.

  1. Commitment to Team Goals

The primary goal of a team is to accomplish some goal or purpose. In order to be a good team player, you have to be committed to that goal and keep it in focus.

  1. Problem Solving

Anyone can point out problems. However, those who not only point out problems but also offer a solution are much more valuable to any team.

  1. Support Team Members

Sometimes your team members will have more success than you or will need help from you. In either case you should be a supportive team member in order to be of most use to your team.

Qualities of Good Team Player Infographic

Other Opinions About Teamwork and Team Dynamics

Some professionals have a differing opinion. In the opinion of others, team players are not useful and businesses should look more for those who can do the job on their own if necessary. By finding those capable of doing the job themselves, you’re more likely to have a stronger team.

This is a different way of thinking about teams, and while it’s not the best way to arrange a team there may be some merit in this thought.

Conclusion

Teams need people that work well together to accomplish a unified goal. Without this, a team will fail. Whatever you believe makes someone a useful part of a team, the qualities listed above will always help you to succeed in teams.


Team Building helps build working relationships and better team players?

Total Team Building specialise in teams…we facilitate a range of team building activities that help build team morale, trust, leadership & communication within a team. For more information about how Total Team Building can help you contact us today.