How to Build A Better Team

In what areas is your team excelling or struggling? 

This age-old question is constantly in the minds of leaders as well as team consultants who support them.  Because the dynamics of a team are complex, it is useful to have a simple framework to evaluate the team.  Without a framework, we might miss an important element or focus too much on an area that will have little long-term positive impact on the team. 

The Better Teams Model™ provides a framework for evaluating the health of teams.  This model defines the five key qualities amazing teams possess.  Further, it describes three characteristics for each quality which allows for a deeper understanding of the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

The five key qualities in the Better Teams Model™

1.     Encourage a Leadership Mindset

Leadership is the glue that binds a great team. It does not live with a single person, even when someone is designated the lead, but is expressed through the actions of all team members. If leadership is lacking your team will struggle with relationships, innovation, and accountability.

The characteristics of Leadership include:

  • Strong communication skills.
  • Being proactive and looking ahead.
  • Demonstrating accountability to others.

2.     Align the Team About Why, What, and How

Your team must be aligned about roles, goals, and methods. When the team is working in stride towards a common vision, great things will happen.  When the team is not aligned, team members will experience confusion, frustration, and conflict.

Teams must align around:

  • Roles and responsibilities.
  • Vision and goals.
  • Methods and processes.

3.    Ensure the Team is Ready to Succeed

Readiness is not a specific milestone to be reached. Rather, it is a continuous assessment, fine tuning and re-calibrating (as necessary) to meet the demands of an ever-changing business environment. A team who is not ready will be unprepared, overwhelmed, and stressed.

Readiness includes:

  • Being equipped with the necessary tools, technology and information.
  • Competent team members with the skills and knowledge needed for their work.
  • Being adaptive and flexible to change.

4.     Cultivate a Happy Team Environment

Intrinsic motivation comes from doing what we love and loving how we do it.  For a team to be productive and stick together over the long haul, they must enjoy being on the team. A team that is not happy may be isolated, detached, and/or uninspired.

Happy teams are:

  • Connected to each other personally and professionally.
  • Engaged and excited with the work of the team.
  • Fulfilled and satisfied by the work.

5. Build and Nurture Trust

Trust is the foundation of all great teams. You simply can’t achieve your goal of a better team without it. Ideally, the trust factor grows with every team interaction. Without trust, the team will withhold, self-protect, and choose to work in silos.

Trust on teams shows up as:

  • Candid conversations about tough issues.
  • Willingness to be vulnerable with each other.
  • Interdependence on each other to do the work better than it could be done alone.

Consider how your team is going in each quality and characteristic.  Then, build on your team’s strengths and strategize about how to build up characteristic(s) that are creating pain for your team.  You can use the Better Teams™ Assessment to generate a team report that demonstrates how the team views itself.

Summary:

The five qualities of better teams:

1.   Encourage a leadership mindset.

2.   Align the team about why, what, and how.

3.   Ensure the team is ready to succeed.

4.   Cultivate a happy team environment.

5.   Build and nurture trust.

About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field, Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are highly productive and positive. Learn about her Better Teams Model and Team Assessment here.

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