21 ways to build a stronger team

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff Benjamin

Statesman, inventor, America’s first personal development author Benjamin Franklin eloquently wrote, “We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

Teams are essential to your personal and career success. You are already on multiple teams from work-related ones to friendships to family members.

Here are 21 tips to build and strengthen teamwork.

1. Make a verbal commitment to follow through. A verbal or a public commitment is ideal. It is also a great way to bring a team together when each person on the team verbally makes a pledge to the success of the team.

2. Fulfill your obligation. Give 100 percent of yourself. Do your absolute very best to do your part.

Unless you do your part within the equation, then the equation will not work. Be someone who always follows through and can be relied upon to get the job done — a person who brings value to the team.

3. Define the expectations of all team members. This also includes what the measurable objectives of the team are, and the role of each person in that measurement.

To create a team that works together well, all members must know and agree on what it is they are going to contribute to the team’s purpose.

4. Treat everyone as important. Each person contributes in some way to the success of the team. From janitor to CEO, each provides value. No job is too small or insignificant.

5. Express areas of improvement. A team is not effective unless it is able to discover and express inefficiencies within the team.

Be open to informing others of ways to improve. Also, be open to others sharing with you how you can improve.

6. Emphasize shared goals. People are drawn closer together when they have a similar aim or when their goals can be mutually satisfied. Give attention to how your cooperative efforts can help one another achieve a higher level of success as opposed to doing it alone.

7. Allow others to be right. This does not mean you are a “yes” person. This does not mean someone wins or someone loses an argument.

Giving someone else the chance to be genuinely heard and respected can be far more satisfying than attempting to convince someone that you are right and they are wrong.

8. Appreciate your team members. Prevent lack of respect by giving respect and appreciation, sincerely. Recognizing others when they do a great job is the best way to get them to repeat it.

9. Define the goal of the team. A team is gathered together because a larger goal is set that one individual cannot achieve on their own.

What is the goal of the team? Why has the team come together — to achieve what goal or objective? Make it clear.

10. Embrace diversity within the team. Varying ideas, perspectives and insights are needed to solve problems and achieve the goals of a team. Seek out people with diverse backgrounds.

11. Compliment the ideas and work of other people. Acknowledge your friends and peers when they do a great job.

Too often people don’t acknowledge others for their contributions. It takes only a few seconds to offer an accolade or a few kind words of appreciation.

12. Be aware of the individual realities of others. Take the time to tune into what really matters to them. Read between the lines. Think of the rights and feelings of others rather than your own.

13. Pick a team captain. Indecisiveness and chaos ensues when a team does not have someone at the helm.

Before engaging on a team project pick your team captain. Then, let that person lead.

14. Allow cordial and honest debate. Disagreements, opposing opinions, different viewpoints need to be encouraged. One way is not always the best way. Most likely a combination of collective viewpoints leads to a stronger team.

15. Keep communications open and ongoing. Who is on first base, second base, outfield, etc. Roles change, circumstances arise, contingency plans are in order. Open communications helps everyone on the team to more effectively execute what is expected and changes within those expectations.

16. Apply the same rules and standards to everyone. What is good for one is good for all. Set the standards, norms, values rules, constitution, milestones, and objectives. As soon as rules and standards apply only to a few is when you create many problems within a team.

17. Foster trust. Trust is the main ingredient to successful teamwork. Trust is an undeniable belief or truth or strength of someone or something. If you don’t have trust you can’t create a team, build or sustain one.

18. Measure and evaluate performance. Competency is usually governed by measurement. Keep records of performance. Review them on a regular basis.

19. Recruit new members. Inviting new team members allows for greater strength. Succession planning must be at the forefront of every group if it wants to survive and thrive.

20. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Who is great at what? Who is mediocre or poor at what?

Put the right people in the right positions. Knowing this can make or break a team.

21. Strive for win/win relationships. Relationships are built on win/win, not the lose/win or the lose/lose. Don’t be taken advantage of.

Don’t take advantage of others. Every successful continued relationship is built on each party exchanging value to one another.

Jeffrey Benjamin is the founder of Breakthrough Training that provides team building, leadership, strategic planning and effective communication skills training in Reno. Visit www.breakthroughtraining.com to learn more.


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