One of the greatest assets that a leader can have is an excellent team. A strong team provides a wide range of different benefits, from helping with the loneliness that individuals in leadership positions can sometimes feel, to providing trusted people to whom one can delegate tasks.
Leaders often have a great deal of control over the teams that surround them. The best minds try to surround themselves with people who complement their weaknesses and have a strong commitment to the organization and its success. However, teamwork is a skill like any other, which means it can be built and strengthened.
Effective teams bring the best out of other employees and make all members of an organization feel more engaged with their work. This can help the culture of the company and provide a significant boost to the bottom line. Some of the other reasons to focus on teambuilding include:
Strong teams build resilience.
Research has shown that Olympic champions develop resilience by surrounding themselves with people who can offer great advice and strong support. The Journal of Sport Psychology in Action posited that resilience results from having high levels of challenge and support.
Without support, the challenge of leadership can lead to burnout. Support is a two-way street. Great leaders provide their team members with the support they need to flourish while handling stressful situations. They also rely on their teammates to provide crucial support when challenges arise. Ultimately, great teams help leaders tackle larger problems with greater success.
Wisdom comes from the many.
When individuals look at a problem, they have a limited scope from which to develop possible solutions. Their training, background, and experiences only go so far. When several people work together on brainstorming solutions, the synergy fuels creativity and ultimately helps individuals arrive at a better solution.
This concept was scientifically demonstrated by Francis Galton, who named it “the wisdom of crowds.” Galton made this observation at a 1906 county fair. After 800 people guessed the weight of a cow, he noticed that the average of all their guesses was extremely close to the actual weight and much more accurate than any single estimate.
The concept has become popular in the business world, with companies like Amazon asking for feedback after each transaction. For this concept to be effective, the crowd must be diverse.
Great teams push individuals to achieve more.
When individuals are surrounded by other people, their motivation sometimes dissipates because the responsibility is shared. Leaders need to make sure this doesn’t happen by creating great teams that push each other to achieve more. High-achieving teams actually push everyone, including leaders, to push harder and set new records.
Additionally, teams where people experience a sense of belonging make people feel a responsibility to pull their weight. A Personnel Psychology study found that deep and meaningful relationships at work enhances job performance.
Effective leaders create effective teams.
So, what actually goes into making an effective team? When teams function at a high level, everyone benefits. But leaders have the responsibility to make great teams. Building a team involves more than just finding the great people. Leaders need to make an effort to grow the sense of camaraderie and synergy that groups feel. Teambuilding can be accomplished through:
Members of a team should feel like they have a stake in each other’s lives. Leaders need to make an effort to build personal connections with each of the members of their team. Doing so helps leaders learn more about skills, competencies, and personalities. Also, teammates appreciate a leader who treats them like human beings and understands their motivations and limits.
However, the relationship between the leader and each teammate is not enough. Leaders need to facilitate the relationships between employees, which improves communication and leads to greater trust. Team-building exercises can accomplish this task, but they often feel forced. Teamwork is better developed through fun, engaging activities done together that gets everyone out of their comfort zone.
Explicitly understood frameworks
Over time, teams will naturally develop their own values and expectations of each other. However, leaders can facilitate this process by laying down some ground rules. A few simple goals and guiding principles can put everyone on equal footing and establish a baseline for further growth.
Leaders may want to consider explicitly engaging team members in this process to find out what is important to each of them and have them contribute to the framework. This way, everyone feels like they have a stake in the result. Importantly, leaders need to remember that this conversation is an ongoing one and that teams naturally evolve their frameworks over time.
Honesty and transparency
Leaders who act transparently and uphold the value of honesty spire trust in their teams. Trust is essential for effective collaboration. Through trust, individuals can share their ideas without fear and, even more importantly, offer constructive criticism and accept it to make the team work even better.
Leaders can set the tone for transparency by openly sharing information with members of the team and making them feel involved with important business processes. When teammates trust a leader, they feel more motivated to work and spend less time questioning leaders’ judgments. Transparency encourages team members to raise concerns, which can point out shortcomings and avoid feelings of frustration.