Building an ideal team
IT IS NO co-incidence indeed that great captains seem to have the best teams. It is, in fact, a symbiotic relationship with the team inspiring the leader to greatness and vice versa. Unlike the wild, where birds of a feather flock together, the corporate bulls, bears, bees and the occasional(?) buzzard are as different from each other as chalk is from cheese. It is no mean task to forge a cohesive team comprising of assorted individuals with diverse and probably conflicting personality traits.
How does one build an ideal team? Start by building people. In the corporate world, business situations always percolate to people situations. Winning teams, like Rome in the adage, was not and cannot be built in a day. To do that, it takes some seriously proactive steps:
Be a mentor
To your team be a mentor, not a tormentor! Encourage your people (Think of them as people, and not as minions, serfs or subordinates) to come forward and discuss their problems.
Give inputs, thoughts and a different perspective, but let them make their own decisions.
Generate enthusiasm and harmony among members. Nothing is more infectious or as effective than enthusiasm. Do remember that the role of the team leader is more that of a facilitator and motivator than that of a dictator.
Team members on the other hand should initiate views, make suggestions, and not restrict themselves to following instructions.
After all, it takes two stones to spark a fire and two hands to applaud.
Grow antennae not horns
Its vital for a team leader to be sensitive to the needs and mood of his team. Be clued in to the wavelength of your teammates.
Listen. Understand. Then seek to be understood. Body language is a compendium of unspoken communication. Be conscious of the nonverbal communication sparking around when interacting with your team.
Team members need to be open with their opinions
Participation in decision-making
Team leaders should never impose decisions or ideas on others. People are at their best when committed to thinking and acting of their own accord.
Let all decisions be made with the participation of teammates. Or at least, hear them out completely and give due consideration to their viewpoint before arriving at a consensus. Conversely, teammates should never be afraid to speak out.
It is always better to ask foolish questions, than remain a fool forever. Clear the cobwebs in your mind, hone your common sense, loosen upyour creativity and help make some great decisions!
Praise and critisism
Deserving praise is a great tonic for reviving morale. Praise is akin to chocolate sauce! Be careful not to spread it too thin or lay it on too thick. It spoils the flavour. But don't scrimp on it.
Don't dole it out in private either. If someone has worked hard to make that deadline or has burnt midnight oil to clinch the deals, let everybody know.
Going around shouting slogans in his praise may be a bit extreme, but a pat on the back and perhaps a round of applause would do wonders for his ego.
Team members though, should take the praise for what it is, and not be given a reason to suspect an unstated motive behind every good word.
Nor should they allow it to bloat their egos to the extent it blinds their vision.
As for the criticism, let it be made only in private. Make the criticism constructive. If you don't agree with someone's style of working, politely point it out (with a smile, if possible).
Always offer an alternative. No point criticising anyone, if you can't come up with a better way of doing it. Never argue- only discuss.
Team members should take any criticism with a pinch of salt. Use it gainfully to further your own interests. If the criticism is made out of sheer malice, treat it with the respect it deserves- ignore it completely! Let your work speak for you.
Reign in the rage
Never unleash your anger at your colleagues. It will get you nowhere and you will probably end up losing respect in the bargain.
A cool and firm attitude topped with dollops of praise and sprinkled with nuggets of constructive advice is far more likely to get your team going places.
Talk, lecture, discuss. Get your ideas across. Collect feedback. Ask for suggestions. Brainstorm.
Have informal meetings. Setup action teams. Send memos. Scribble notes on little yellow post-its- Anything- Just communicate!!!
Upward communication on the other hand is like ground water.
It requires a pump and motor to push it overhead. Take that extra initiative. Summon support. There is always strength in numbers.
After all, you are entitled to have an opinion on matters that affect your interests. But make it polite and courteous. A polished presentation may just set the ball rolling for you!
Have a Break!
Science is yet to come up with a better invention than the tea break! It is perhaps the greatest morale booster of harried workers. Take one.
Drag your team along. Get chummy and exchange ideas, statistics or even the latest office gossip over a hot cuppa. It is bound to clear up a lot of smoking heads and steaming tempers.
Let's raise a cup to that ideal team! Tamam Shud!
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