Six tips to building a great team

  • September 14, 2016
  • /   Quint Studer
  • /   training-development,quint-studer


Creating and sustaining a great team is the goal of every value-driven organization. The better the team performs, the more success there is, which benefits everyone from customers to staff.

That doesn’t mean a great team is free of conflict, but a great team has a constructive way of handling different views and a positive outlook on working together.

Quint Studer Quint Studer.

So here are six tips to create a great team:  

Selection. In reviewing the work of authors and leaders like Jim Collins, Frederick Reichheld and Larry Bossidy, there is universal agreement: The number one area to get right for the foundation of a great company is selection of talent.

Supervisor development.  Most supervisors are promoted from within a company. While an external hire with a fresh pair of eyes can be valuable, research in Collins’ book “Good To Great” shows that great companies promote from within most of the time. There are advantages to an employee moving into a supervisory role. They have already proven themselves, they know the organization and they know the workforce. In fact, if a company goes outside too much, it sends the wrong message to the existing employees. Nevertheless, it is vital for a company to invest in its supervisors. One of the top reasons a person leaves a job is their boss. Developing everyone in a supervisory role is critical to building a high-performing team. It’s also a major factor in creating consistency and predictability, two things that are key to great customer service and employee engagement.

Communication. Have you ever noticed in baseball when a pitching coach goes to the mound to talk with the pitcher, the entire infield joins them? Every player on a football field joins in the huddle, too. Why? Because it is important for everyone on the team to know what is going on. Everyone’s job impacts other workers in some fashion, even if it’s not clear how at first. It is better to communicate too much to too many people than to narrow your scope to the point where the message isn’t getting to the people who need to know. And there are more people who need to know than you think there are.

Grow with team building activities. Here are a few that I have found work well and create a positive work environment.

When the employees are together, have each person write his or her name on the top of a blank sheet of paper. Then pass the papers around the room so every co-worker has the opportunity to write a statement of why they appreciate each co-worker. You may give people an option of passing the paper along without writing, but in my experience, most people will write something. In this exercise, each person leaves with the paper with their name on it with many nice words from their co-workers. Sometimes we just get too busy to share gratitude with others.  

Split your employees into two groups during a training session. One group sits down and closes their eyes. The other group stands. Those standing are told to move to the left a certain number of chairs and whisper why they appreciate the person sitting down. It is a bit uncomfortable at first, but as it progresses, one can feel the energy in the room build. Afterward, ask the group how it felt. There are always valuable learnings from this exercise, even for those who were uneasy at first. Like any action, it takes frequency to get comfortable and effective.

Include employees in crafting company culture. Ask your employees: What makes a great place to work? This is not about parking, pay, etc., but about what makes great co-workers and a great workplace. No one if better equipped to create work standards that will make the company better than the employees themselves. This builds the team and builds employee inclusion and ownership.

Fun. I noticed that an employee was wearing a college football team shirt with the name of the company on it. I complimented the shirt, and the person shared that each of the 130 employees in this business were given the option to pick a color based on their favorite college team. They then received a free shirt and were given the option to wear it on Fridays during football season. Don’t underestimate the role that games, gatherings, and gestures like this one have in team building.

While there are many more steps to building a great team, including some cases of having someone leave the team, the six actions above can make a huge difference.

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