You need to create a team atmosphere within your department
with a sense of mission. You need to
share your vision of what the company can be, so they have a common
purpose. To get a group of individuals
to think as one positive team, they also have to see you as a positive, good
spirited and motivated hard worker.
Here are 19 ways to help create and develop a strong team
with solid expectations:
sure the team is set and ready to go.
You need to first make sure you have planned, organized, and
structured your department to its maximum potential. We talked at length about organizing
and structuring in Lesson 2. Once
structured, you will most likely have sub-team goals such as that of a
Tier 1 and Tier 2 group. In most
cases you will have at least one team lead or SME. This person must have the people skills
in order to handle any individual issues in their group. Even though a person might be
technically inclined, they may not know how to deal with the everyday
people issues that are commonplace in the work environment. The ideal is to have a technically
competent person who is also a people orientated team lead. The point here is to have someone in
the group, or in the sub-teams, who can help build teamwork by being there
to help their team address the everyday type of issues. This person might just be you if the
department is not very big. If you
do have your department structured in a way that has sub-teams, make sure
everyone within the whole department understands the goal of being part of
one big team.
- Start off
with a fresh approach. Are
you a new manager with old staff?
Old, meaning they are settled in their bad habits. When trying to create a team, you need
to start with a fresh approach and positive attitude. You might be asked to rescue a dying
department. If so, if you cannot
make the old staff see the new light, you might need to clean up
shop. This also goes for employees
with bad attitudes who are unwilling to change. A few changes like these can turn around a department’s
performance and morale almost overnight.
All it takes is a few bad apples to spoil the lot. You do have to first try to rectify the
situation before making any drastic decisions. Lesson 5 goes into detail on how to deal with difficult
employees. However, if you have
done all you could, you sometimes have to make the difficult, but needed
decisions. It’s important to make
your mark right from the start.
People want a manager who will bring in a new and fresh approach to
an old and stale department. If
there are no problems, then leave it alone. That’s a fresh approach in itself; not changing for changing’s
a one or two paragraph mission statement. This should be sent out and posted on the wall and should
contain the company’s and departments values. When we say mission statement, we are not talking about some
corny poster on the wall that no one reads. This is what you want the department to be known for, and
what you want engraved into the minds of every employee. The department’s goals and mission must
have meaning for your employees.
They should be involved in creating the mission with simple
declarative sentences. The mission
statement should come across, as making it seem like their job is truly
important to the success of the company.
Make them feel connected to the company rather than just a place to
pick up a paycheck. The goal is to
make them feel like they “fit in” and is a good part of their life. The best words you can ever hear from
someone is, “I like this company so much that I plan on working here until
I retire.” Here are a couple of
ideas to use depending on the type of company you work for:
your company provides a service that is making a positive contribution to
the community, then you should promote something like, “Our contribution
to the greater good makes the world a better place.”
your company provides a service that is making a positive customer
experience, then add something like, “Our every action can lift the
customers spirits and soul.”
your company provides a value towards customer service, then you can add
something like, “Providing world class service will set us apart from the
rest of the competition.” You
might want to add something like, “We will win the customer over by going
the extra mile.”
Try to consider things like:
What is the value of the company that the customers pay
What is the competitive advantage?
What kind of quality is expected?
At the end of the day it’s all
about profitability, however, with stringent control and practicing ethical
practices. In other words, you do not
want to make a statement such as, “Do whatever it takes to make the sale.”
The mission statement should be short
and general, yet has a powerful punch.
You might want to throw in some team guidelines, or “Norms,” on team
interaction as well. It is also
important to regularly review the goals with your staff associated with the
Actually make it a point to test
the mission statement. Make sure people
perceive the way you’re leading and managing the organization as being
consistent with the mission statement itself.
This statement might even be used
as part of a marketing campaign or posted on the company’s web site, so make it
walk around the department. Take
the time to sit down with your employees in their environment. Have a small impromptu meeting with one individual or a couple of
people every once in a while.
Bring a notebook with you and clearly show that you are documenting
some good ideas, requests, issues, etc.
If it’s not something you can answer or resolve at that very moment,
tell them you will look into these suggestions and comments and follow up as
soon as possible. They will be
surprised that you truly listened and followed up even if you could not
fulfill the request or idea. They
will know you tried and you will earn their respect.
hold team meetings. For
example, hold weekly meetings to go over the goals and share the direction
in which the team is heading. Go
over items such as performance based stats, sales, customer compliments
(and complaints…), needed materials, training requests, and any other
pertinent information. Also
announce upcoming events such as new projects, new products, visiting
VIP’s, or structure changes. You
want to always keep your team well informed and not left in the dark. This is also a good chance to gain
ideas for improvement, and if needed, how to ease any tension in the
group. Make sure to set up the
meetings in your Outlook calendar to re-occur for at least 6 months. You can update each meeting request
with an agenda with items you would like to discuss. Also make sure you have all of the needed
paperwork to pass out to the team, or show in a PowerPoint
presentation. This will show you
are serious about your expectations.
See Lesson 7 for more advice on holding effective meetings and
sure everyone is fully trained and has what they need. Although training was already
mentioned in Lesson 2, it is worth mentioning again. Always be aware of any training the
team needs to accomplish the goals at hand. They also need the right materials to do the job to its
them how to work as a team.
Talk to your employees about how important it is that there is
support amongst team members with respect for one another. Team members need to rely on other team
members to accomplish the work or the goals of the team, which is the
basic principle of team spirit.
They will listen to you as you are their manager and more
importantly, especially in this aspect, their leader.
how the goals of the team tie into the organizational goals. Explain to the team why their part in
obtaining the departmental goals are also part of the big picture within
the company’s goals. When they
perform to or above standards, the company is more likely to succeed. Keep in mind that even though you do
not want your department to be the weakest link within the departmental
chain, you should still want to see other departments succeed. You will have a solid company in which
to work, and a very happy upper management team. This should be stressed to the team as well.
their opinions count and always follow up. If someone brings a training idea, talks to you about
furthering their career, or confines in you about how some improvements
can be made, make sure you follow up on everything that has been brought
to your attention. If you can
provide what was requested, you will not only build that persons morale,
but it will inevitably get around the department that someone approached
you with and idea and you followed up.
People like being taken seriously and if an idea is implemented, a
strong sense of pride happens which can be contagious amongst other team
members. Stress that you want your
team to be innovative and that you’re always willing to do whatever it
takes to improve any process, procedure, or make any functional improvements. Even if you cannot accommodate the
request, or it is something they do not want to hear, at least they know
you listened and took them seriously.
Just make sure you always follow up with the reason why.
the differing strengths of your teammates. Allow each person to bring their unique qualities to the
table. There can be some new and innovative techniques and processes that
can lead to doing things in new and different ways.
let the team decide. Encourage
the team to come up with improvements to existing processes, ideas on
troubleshooting, equipment they need, etc. If you build the right type of team, you can trust what is
presented to you, and you can give it your blessing. This is a great motivational tool as
sure your team members are not afraid to speak up. If no one speaks up or contributes
anything during a meeting, there are potential ideas that will not be
shared, or even worse, there may be problems that are not identified. You want any ideas or concerns to be
dealt with right then and there.
Make sure you stress that you want people to share even if they
might create some waves. You also
want to make the timid people feel comfortable to participate. Let them know that their contribution
to the team is just as important as anyone else’s opinions.
sure everyone understands what is expected. Just saying we need to work as a team and leave it at that
does very little and sounds like a corny cliché. You need to give clear details of the expected goals, and
potential consequences if the goals are not achieved. Clearly defined roles and
responsibilities for each team member is key.
- Demand the
needed attention to detail.
Express the importance to become a world-class organization by
striving for perfection. Make sure
to stress the importance to “dot every I and cross every T.” Inspire the team to make it their goal
to treat each situation they find themselves in with absolute
professionalism. Customers and
upper management knows the difference between good and great, or even
great and brilliant performance.
Strive for brilliance in making sure every possible detail is given
full attention. You have to be excessively meticulous or else the
flaws will become acceptable. Once
your team knows the attention to detail that is expected, you will see
excellent results. The higher
quality the team, the better the teamwork.
- Stress that
the customer is right, no matter how wrong they are... When you are creating your team, you
need to make sure they understand this simple core value. Always tell your staff, and yourself,
that without the customer there is no company, thus no paycheck. You do not have to be quite so dramatic,
but this is basically the truth.
Teams work a bit harder and are a little more patient when they
remember this fact.
to curb any negativity about customers or other
departments. It’s so easy to
complain, criticize, and always find faults in customers or people in
other departments. A prime example
is how customer service is always bashing a salesperson. Even if it’s justified, you as manager
do not want to add fuel to the fire.
You can always have a lighthearted thing to say like “Sales sure
seems to pass the buck,” but follow it up with something like, “but we
need sales to sell or else they will not bring income into the
company.” Then follow up with
letting the team know that if it gets too out of hand, you will meet with
the salespersons manager (and you should truly have a brief discussion
with the sales manager). Your
staff might have a common grief about a customer or company employee, but
watch it closely and don’t let it get out of hand.
- They should
act as if a camera is filming them.
Have them pretend that a camera is filming their actions when
working. They will find themselves
treating the customer like gold or
precisely producing a product.
This little tip will always keep them in check (try it
- They should
act like they are Ambassadors for the company. If an employee and team feel like they
truly represent the company in their actions, words, and attitude, they
should feel like ambassadors to the company. The team will feel their contribution to the company means
something. As ambassadors, they
should feel like a true part of the success in the growth of the company.
Building is not a one-time activity.
Be prepared to continually work on improvements, ideas, functions,
etc. Just calling a group of
people a team does not necessarily mean they are working in harmony as a
team. This should be looked at as
a continuous ongoing project.
Points to keep in mind:
teams do not need to be micromanaged.
Even though micromanaging was mentioned in lesson 1, it is worth
sure you know what they know.
Just saying “do it” without knowing what needs to be done is a
morale killer that will destroy teamwork.
You should be able to do the basics of each individual’s job in
your department whether it is answering a phone, taking an order, making a
product, or technically supporting a customer. Besides, your confidence level will also rise if you
understand the work being done by your team.
is key. You want your team to
be happy, but at the same time not acting goofy. You want them to be serious, but at the same time not
stressed. You want them to
communicate openly, but at the same time not always complaining. You want them to be easy going, but at
the same time not flaky. You want
them to be communicative, but at the same time not so much of a social
butterfly. You want them to be
independent, but not disrespectful.
Always make sure there is balance in the air and be prepared to
counter-balance as soon as possible.
teams within a team. This is a
temporary team used for a specific reason. For example, you might need to have some of your testing
software updated. This would not
need the whole teams participation, but it is too big of a task to
delegate to just one or two individuals.
In this case you would pick a small team whose task would be to
work together on the project until the mission is complete. Be sure to communicate exactly what is
expected and in what timeframe.