You realize that your department and your organization would be nothing without the amazing employees you’ve brought on board. They work hard, accomplish their goals, and move the company forward.
But sometimes, you wonder if they could be even more successful if they worked together better. How can you take your good team and turn them into a great team filled with rock star employees?
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It’s pretty easy to identify a bad team, right? Employees are bickering, there’s a cloud of negativity in the office, team members are often back-biting and will step on one another to get ahead. You’d probably see high turnover rates, frequent sick days, and an overall lack of performance on the job.
It’s not quite as easy to recognize the difference between a good team and a great team. After all, a good team may have a common culture, common goals, the ability to handle conflict, and impressively skilled people.
A great team, or a “next level” team will exhibit all of these characteristics, but they’ll be stronger, more intertwined, and happier to work together.
If you’re sitting there right now wondering, “How do I know if my team is a good team or a great team?” it’s easy to find out.
Does your team communicate regularly or does communication breakdown at the first sign of struggle?
Does your team support one another to reach not only shared goals, but individual goals as well?
Does your team view conflict as a way to improve?
Does your team utilize the right people for the right tasks?
Does your team celebrate one another’s achievements?
While most bad or toxic teams exhibit some similar characteristics, great teams can be identified by several common characteristics as well. These include:
You may have the best employee in the world, but if they are stuck in the wrong role, performing the wrong tasks, they’ll never live up to your expectations. Teams are useful because they bring a variety of skills and talents to the table and can work together to overcome one another’s blind spots.
Having the right people doing the right job is about understanding your individual employees and what they excel at… and then placing them in those roles.
It’s wonderful to have employees that can cover for one another and perform multiple roles. However, if they don’t know what they are supposed to be doing, some employees will slack and become complacent, while others will take on too much work and become resentful.
Be clear with your employees about what they are responsible for and outline the procedure for requesting help or support with difficult projects. That way there won’t be confusion amongst the team.
It’s easy to say you have a strong culture when things are running smoothly. This is the sign of a good team. The real test of an organization’s culture is what happens when things go haywire. A great team is able to maintain their culture during the most difficult times.
Clearly communicate your culture and values to the team and put procedures in place to maintain this culture during the rocky periods.
Good teams understand what they are working toward in the future. They know what the mission of the organization is and they understand that everyone is working towards the same thing.
What separates the good teams from the great, is the fact that every member of a great team understands their role in the mission… and everyone else’s. This means that they not only recognize why everyone is there but have a strong sense of respect for each person’s contribution to the greater good.
As challenging as diversity can be at times, it’s essential to a great team. Having opinions from different cultures, religions, age groups, nationalities, lifestyles, and more will help your team better understand the needs of their consumers and respect one another for their differences and what they bring to the table.
When you put your team together, you should hire based off of experience and skills, but also keep their background and differences in mind. The more varied your team is, the more successful they’ll be.
While a good team should have open lines of communication, a great team takes it one step further. Your employees should feel that they are safe to share their feelings, their concerns, and their ideas. They should be praised for offering suggestions and for addressing any challenges that they see.
Communication starts with the leadership. If you reward employees for speaking up, they will continue to do so. If you don’t create the opportunity for them to share, or even worse, you penalize them when they do, you will create an environment where employees are not comfortable talking to you or to one another.
Very few projects are completed in solitude. It’s much more likely that your employees will need to lean on fellow teammates for support, encouragement, and assistance. While in a sales culture, employees may actually be competing against one another, a great team will find ways to make the pie bigger rather than fighting over a single slice.
Reward your employees for supportive behavior. When you see someone holding out a hand to assist a coworker, thank them for doing so and take this into consideration come review or bonus time.
When you look closely, great teams are easy to spot. They’re the employees who laugh together, cry together, and grow together. With the right encouragement and training, you can take your team from good to great and create an environment that rocks!