A Winning Team
There are plenty of ways to build a winning team in the workplace, and almost as many strategies as their are people trying to employ them. Teambuilding has become big business, largely due to the fact that corporate execs will try almost anything to get their employees to work together toward a common goal. After all, it is said that the cost of replacing an existing employee is far outweighs the expense of keeping one. But teambuilding in business isn’t as easy as playing games, zip lining, or doing trust exercises under the supervision of an “expert”. As a matter of fact, it isn’t easy at all.
Look to sports if you wish to find examples of successful teams. There are teams built on experience, teams built with youth, and teams that combine elements of both that have varying degrees of success. What works for one team may not work for another. In the workplace, teambuilding is a similar science; a purposeful blend of people working together toward a common goal and driven to succeed. The problem is – as with sports franchises – getting (a) a blend of people (b) working together (c) toward a common goal – is easier said than done.
Determine Your Path
As an employer, setting a clear path is important. What sort of people do you want on your team? Are you looking for stoic, driven individuals or engaged, people friendly free spirits? Are leaders on your radar, or are l you interested in building a team of followers? Keep in mind that while one or the other of these choices may seem obvious to you, it doesn’t mean every employer should be following your lead. Your path may not make sense to another employer, but as long as each gets to his or her destination, it won’t really matter.
Some of the attributes that characterize members of successful teams can be broken down into obvious simplicity. First and foremost, members of successful teams are usually good teammates. While seemingly basic, some highly skilled individuals can end up being poor team players, valuing individual accomplishment and thereby weighing down teammates and impeding sustainable success. Management also plays a key role in good teams. A group of managers that oppresses employees will tend to get poorer results than managers that engage employees and value their contributions. Recognizing the importance of these common denominators can give an employer insight into the future of his team and – ultimately – his success or failure.
While the temptation to “stand pat” is easy to concede to, the reality is that your team will probably be a continual work in progress. You probably already have good people, some marginal players, and one or two “throw aways”. Start building from the bottom up. It is far easier to replace the throw aways than the marginal players, because you have the least to lose at the bottom of the food chain. Keep working at this level and try to uncover that “diamond in the rough”, that may eventually work its way into the ranks of good employees. Marginal employees likely have potential, but may be reluctant to show it. These employees typically respond well to challenges when presented, but are not likely to go looking for one. Again, a diamond may be found here, but digging may be necessary. Finally, your good employees need to be retained. Keep them engaged and pay them well. It is far more difficult for a company to replace a good employee than it is to keep one. The best strategy…keep shopping around for fresh faces. You just never know.
Ultimately, you will need to build off of a solid foundation; ownership with a clear vision to the future, management that understands that goals of the owners and seeks engagement from their subordinates, and employees who are happy at their jobs and willing to do what it takes to achieve the common goal. The realization that your team will achieve success by melding a group of components is key to success.
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