Jack Welch writes in his book “Right people for the right job” is one of the powerful strategies that he used during his successful tenure at GE. In organization “We all win as a team or not at all” is the quote frequently used by one of my manager to bond the team. This statement emphasizes the importance of team and team development. It is true that for a team to be successful you need to have the right people carrying out their responsibilities. Apart from this as manager each one of use needs to spend time and effort to develop the team. Listed below is what I learnt in my experience on “Team Development”.
1. Know your team members beyond work: Spend time with each team member to understand their passion, likes, dislikes extra-curricular activities, their family and hobbies.
2. Orient yourself with the team: In point-1 above you get to know about the team member and here you provide an opportunity for each team members to know about you in detail. Some organization have new manager assimilation program, use it effectively to orient with your team.
3. Maintain the professional and personal relationship: It is striking the right balance between these relationships. Don’t mix up one with the other, establish clear boundaries for both.
4. Simple things like lunch together, picnic, family get to gather will help build better personal relationship with the team & family.
5. Team building workshops & experiential learning. Team get-to-gather with experiential learning opportunities will help team bonding. The learning from such exercise gets registered quickly and delivers results immediately.
6. Help team member to identify the exact development needs and extend help to work on SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic & Time bound) action plan.
7. Provide periodic feedback: Appreciate the good work done by the team member at the earliest instant. Similarly provide feedback on improvement needs if any as well instead of waiting for appraisal discussions.
8. Goals and Directions: Team members should be well aware of the department’s Goals and directions. Team members should be taken into confidence on new initiatives & changes that are getting implemented. Obtain feedback and incorporate feasible ones.
9. Effective delegation with authority and responsibilities- we discussed this in the article titled “Effective Delegation”. Each member should feel he is contributing to the success.
10. Periodical review meetings- depending on need ensure weekly/fortnightly/monthly review meetings are held to get an update of various activities as well understand the areas team needs your support.
11. Get on to the ground to understand the reality: occasionally get on to the ground or the workplace of employee and understand reality rather discussing things only at your office or conference room.
12. Highlight the team’s success periodically to the management and leadership team. Monthly/Quarterly Newsletter is good option to bring this out.
13. Establish task force team/s and assign clear roles and responsibilities based on overall departments Goals and Directions. This helps establish a culture of shared responsibility and team development.
14. Rewards and recognition-quarterly rewards and recognition program to appreciate the outstanding work of few members in the department will help build a healthy completive work culture.
Nothing is impossible once you have clear Directions & Goals with empowered team to take up the task. Provide necessary support through periodical reviews. I am happy to share the following real life example of what an empowered team can do.
There were many complaints on employee transport. We decided to meet up with them and discuss on this topic. Normally such meetings are held only to scold them as there were complaints on transport operations. We did it differently, provided them inputs on “World Class Service”, listen to them about their issues/problems and possible solutions to them. Finally the team has been asked to work on doing the exercise by answering the following questions:
1. List down the 2-3 things which is bothering them to perform the task effectively
2. List down the 2-3 things they need from us to deliver World Class Service
3. List down the 2-3 things which they will promise to do enhance the current levels of service.
While necessary steps and POA worked out to address points came out of 1 and 2, answer to the question 3 is converted in the form of “Promise” & is given below:
Track & ensure cab reaches 1st point and every pick-up point to ensure on time arrival.
Understand member requirement & provide service first then complete paper work.
Give priority to breakdown cab.
Understand and assist female member’s requirements with care during night.
Ensure timely response and resolution to member request.
The team started fulfilling the promises the complaints in this area dropped down drastically and employee satisfaction increased. This happened because of team and the efforts put in developing the team to deliver the results. The session helped to realize the purpose of the transport team and their deliverables. It answered the question “What is in it for me?” It answered the question why it is important to reduce employee complaints. The entire team worked out details of what needs to be done rather it is getting imposed on them. Shared responsibility helped to achieve results faster.
Team always wants to do the good job, the leader’s responsibility is to meet up with them periodically and understand the support they need from you and do the needful. Many a time things don’t work for want of clarity on boundaries with which the team can work. Provide a clear objectives and measurement criteria and set up review schedule for achieving greater results.
The speed of the boss is the speed of the team. -Lee Iacocca
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. -Henry Ford
It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed. Napoleon Hill