You have probably noticed that projects don’t always run according to plan. Too many projects start life doomed to failure. Poorly defined business objectives and unrealistic delivery deadlines are very common. Managers rarely inherit a fully fledged and effective team. Putting together a great team, whether for a new project or initiative, requires more than technical skills. Building the right team is one of the factors critical to the success of any project.
Here are 5 secrets about assembling a great team:1. Less is more
Fewer of the right people is much better than more of the wrong ones. When it comes to team selection, quality trumps quantity. For example, a team could comprise of only 4 people. Each member of the team understands the project’s direction and their role. This team will work more efficiently than an over-staffed team. There are also situations where there are some projects that require bigger teams, but the productivity that a project manager gets from each individual member of the team diminishes as the team size grows. Thus, it is in the best interest of the group to keep the team size as small as possible.
2. Availability is key
Time is always a commodity that we always need more of and every project has a schedule to abide by. Are the people you have chosen available 100 percent for your project? If not, will they be able to multi-task on your project and manage other activities? It is important to talk to the individuals rather than their managers to fully understand what is their level of commitment to the project. When you have decided on who to recruit for your team, book their time and ensure that they are available for the tasks you need them. Projects plans can be derailed if the people are not able to commit to the project deadlines.
3. Attitude counts
It is better to have fewer highly motivated individuals on the team than many less motivated people. You can nurture and develop someone who falls short of the skills you need, if they are full of enthusiasm and are committed to doing their best. If there is a need to choose between skills and attitude, go for attitude. A team member who has good work ethics, respects others can uphold team spirit while a cynic can spoil the entire team’s outlook and morale.
4. Build relationships with the team
Teams run on trust. To minimise the risk of communication and coordination issues within the team, team members need to have strong work relationships with one another. They need to see one another as human beings and not feel marginalised by the group. The work that you do at the beginning of your tenure as a team leader will make a different in how your team works out. Pair team members on a rotating buddy system for regular one-on-one lunches. Set up a dedicated channel for communication like group chats for casual check-ins and banter. When your team members “click” together, they will be more committed to a common cause.
5. Define group norms
While diversity of thought and perspective are good bets to developing a high performing team, there are also challenges that arise from it. This is because differences tend to breed conflict. If someone on your team prefers to work on a fixed schedule, then someone else who prefers improvisation will stress him out. Similarly, if someone on the team is used to looking at a task from a marketing perspective, she will not appreciate it when an financial expert jumps in with his point of view. To reconcile differences and preserve diversity, there is a need to define group norms where everyone has a clear picture of how a good team member should be like. Set group rules on respect and trust, decision making, feedback and conflict resolution. For instance, group members may discuss how meeting and discussions should be. Sharing “airtime”, listening and no interruption when others are speaking are the rules that everyone should agree on. Having a common understanding of what to expect means you spend less time on processes and more time on delivering outcomes that truly matter.
We hope that this article is helpful. Do you have any tips you would like to add?
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