The best teams aren’t just a random conglomeration of strong team members, just as a quality jewelry chain isn’t simply a bunch of precious metal strung together. Fine gold doesn’t gain any value if it’s soldered together without care, and the same is true for your work teams. Approaching team building with the right resources and level of consideration lets you increase the value of each member’s contribution and ensure a culture where everyone supports each other in a positive, productive manner. One way organizations can invest in their teams is via customized team development training.
An effective team is a collaborative unit that's able to work toward a common goal successfully. If your team is dysfunctional in any way, you'll see a failure to meet your goals or a delay in meeting them, as well as fractured relationships and non-productive interaction between team members.
Turnkey Coaching and Development Solution's team development program focusing on the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team provides a highly useful metric by which to evaluate your own work team or leadership team.
In 2012, Google began a new research project in team development, which it dubbed Project Aristotle. The Googlers studied 180 productive, effective teams but couldn't figure out what they had in common. Was it hierarchical structure? No. Did the team members have compatible backgrounds or personality types? Sometimes, but not always. Were all the team members friends who hung out together after work? Again, sometimes.
The Google researchers drilled deeper and deeper, finally discovering the one element that all great teams share: psychological safety.
According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson, psychological safety is the "shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking." To reach a point of psychological safety, trust is vital, as is the ability to disagree in a healthy manner.
The Project Aristotle researchers then looked at how psychological safety manifests itself in healthy teams, highlighting two defining factors that show up in the give-and-take of the top productive teams.
Your team development program must include a way to assess whether your development efforts are working. The Harvard Business Review recommends paying attention to the team's output and the ability of the team to collaborate, as well as individual assessments of each of the team members.
The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Progress Report provides a template for just such an assessment, allowing you to pinpoint areas of improvement to celebrate and build on as well as those ways in which your team still needs to improve.
If a team is truly working together in a relationship of mutual accountability, the Progress Report makes that clear. It also shows obstacles to development and paves the way for team members to assess their own collaboration.
In many companies, teams exist within departments, and team members usually work in the same buildings. That type of setup isn't universal, and remote teams have become an alternative to traditional in-house groups. Maybe your team holds remote meetings via services like Skype and communicates largely via email, SMS, and project boards like Basecamp or Asana, for example.
Virtual teams face a unique set of challenges as they work toward shared goals. Still, according to MIT's Sloan School of Management, remote teams can outperform on-location teams if they have the following task-based and socio-emotional systems in place:
- Tangible Feedback
Because they work remotely, virtual personnel are particularly prone to feeling out of the loop; indeed, some work-from-home executives are forgotten when in-office staff plan events and meetings. To get the most out of your remote team, make sure you give each member regular personalized feedback. Calls and emails are fine, but videoconferencing is particularly effective because it puts you face to face with your manager. When remote managers feel appreciated and supported, they work productively as individuals and within the team.
- Project-Related Communication
Email might seem the easiest way to ask questions and handle feedback, but countless back-and-forth exchanges make queries and suggestions really hard to follow up. Instead, try hosting discussions on an online bulletin board or a well-constructed forum to streamline your virtual conversation. Predesignated hashtags make specific subjects easier to keep track of, so team members feel less frustration and more enthusiasm about the projects they're involved in.
- Remote Organizational Tools
Consider building a platform for your team on Basecamp, where shared calendars and goals help keep your project on schedule. You can create tasks, set deadlines and distribute timetables to your remote team via email, so everyone stays up to date. Your virtual executives gain access to the tools they need to work seamlessly with one another and can view project objectives easily whenever they need to.
All teams, whether terrestrial or remote, benefit from honed training programs in which members first identify personal challenges and then find new solutions to help them overcome roadblocks. Business owners who need to form solid virtual teams frequently decide to set up team building retreats, where remote executives get the chance to meet and form relationships with their peers. Later on, they can use progress reports to efficiently track challenges and the team's cohesion (and thereby its effectiveness) over time.
Formulaic day-long or week-long training programs may seem like a tempting low-cost way to train staff members, but they provide far less value than a honed development program designed with your company in mind. At Turnkey Coaching & Development Solutions, we work with both small and large teams (or work groups) at a time to craft unique leadership team training programs and team development programs based around each client's business.
The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team leadership team training and development program is tailored to meet your organization's very specific and unique needs and culture. Through training, coaching and team development, you can facilitate trust, strengthen your team members’ ability to deal with conflicts, and their collaborative skills, all of which come together to produce the results you want your executive and work teams to achieve.
When you're able to harness the talents and personalities of your team members to work together cohesively toward a common goal, everyone benefits. Imagine your team making smart decisions together, tapping into each person's special abilities, and staying focused cooperatively to get results. That's the kind of teamwork that provides your organization with the ability to compete at its best.
The right team training and development programs help your work groups move toward cohesive teams. At Turnkey Coaching & Development, we provide training for both small and large teams to ensure your entire group is equipped with the tools and skills needed to work inclusively, positively and productively. Whatever stage your team is at today, we can help them increase communication, collaborate more effectively and resolve conflict in positive, meaningful ways.
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