Six levers to use in team building

2018 March 16


Author: Karaoulanis Andreas, Business Development manager, Sales expert, Financial advisor/ manager,international team manager

Working in a team environment for the last 25 years, I became very experienced in how handling team work. Team was always very important to me, from my early childhood as I was the captain of the basketball team till now I have to operate on a daily basis inside a team. Some days before I had a chat with a friend about how team work can be from creative and productive to toxic.

The healthy team

A healthy team can give to the company the boost needed in order to achieve its goals. An effective team exerts power and a positive energy which can be perceived easily from customers. Is a common secret that good teams have a good impact to customers who prefer to work with them instead of working with other teams which are less… teams.

The toxic team

On the antipode, a toxic team, although it might be comprised of excellent individuals, it can exert negative energy and make customers go away. This happens mainly due to bad communication, bad work habits and a lack of positive targets.

The team recipe

So, how difficult is to create a great team? It is not that easy for sure. In order to assembly a great team you need several things. Let’s see the important of them:

1. Gather the right team members. 

This is crucial and not easy. The key word here is “the right”. With the term “right” I don’t mean the ones who really know the job. I mean the ones who match with each other in order to create the right chemistry inside the team. I mean they have to know the job, to be capable of reaching the potential needed but they need to have the right personality which will fit with the rest and the company’s culture.

2. Implement the right incentives. 

This is crucial too because everybody needs the right incentive in order to move towards the target. Incentives can be of many forms. Can be psychological ones, monetary ones, promotions or sometimes a good incentive per se is working under a great job environment/culture. The key point here is to be careful because if you won’t treat the team members in an equitable way your team’s coherence will be cleaved and that will have dramatic consequences. Once I had a manager who was always talking about the team spirit we should have had and that we had to operate like team, but when we accomplished our targets she was giving credit only to her and another person of the team, and the most important, in front of everybody. This kind of behavior, resulted in a toxic team environment which dropped sales dramatically.

3. Leadership abilities

In order to maintain a good team spirit and create a real strong team force, you need to be a real leader. That means that you have to have the right attitude when problems will appear inside the team. I have so many experiences from “leaders” who were not capable of leading their teams. Sometimes was more important to them to keep their in- groups satisfied than to exercise justice in problem solving. This kind of behavior inevitably leads to the creation of a toxic team. The real leader need to have high emotional Intelligence (E.Q.) in order to solve problems even while they form. Also it is important for the leader to be the right role model in terms of justice, hard work and commitment. Such behavior will create a very strong incentive for the team members.

4. To have high communicative skills.

 As the leader of the team, you have to be highly communicative. That means to communicate in both horizontal and vertical way in order to deliver the right outcome. In order to make your team members to understand their targets and how they should operate inside the team you need to be able to communicate with them. Also, you need to transfer the orders/ directions coming from above in the right way in order to make all the team members able to understand which are the company’s objectives, something which will make the whole team more effective.

5. To give distinctive roles to all team members.

 This is very important too, as it will help all team members to function in the proper way and will help you to avoid team members to intrude in each other’s work responsibilities, something which inevitably will create a breach in the team and will generate multiple problems.

6. To cultivate the team spirit inside and outside the workplace. 

This can be done inside the workplace by awarding all team members in the same way, regarding their position, when sales going in the right way and targets are achieved. Outside the workplace, the team spirit can be empowered by gatherings for a lunch or by a gathering of the team members and their families for some kind of entertainment etc. Such gatherings can bring the team members more close to each- others and create strong bonds between them, something which usually results to a strong team commitment. The pitfall here is that the manager need to retain his position and respect and not to cross the thin red line which distinguish a friend from a manager inside the working environment, something which is not easy and needs very delicate moves and an relationships equilibrium.