Why Every Leader Must Understand the Importance of Team Building
Every great leader clearly understands the importance of team building and consistently focuses efforts to building performing teams. This is because organizational performance is a direct result of team synergy. When you know how to build teams then you know how to build organizations.
The productivity of a team is simply a reflection of how team members relate. Interpersonal relationships become critical for optimal productivity in any team. Team members ought to relate as friends and not mere colleagues so as to establish and sustain the appropriate levels of trust and commitment for enhanced team productivity. Although every individual is different, we can engender the right relationships that respect this individuality and at the same time exploit the richness of this diversity for enhanced team management.
The Garden Approach in Understanding the Importance of Team Building
The analogy of the garden can help us better understand the importance of team building. A team is like a crop in the garden. The team leader is like the farmer. The farmer decides what crop to plant and why. He is also very clear on the nature of harvest he expects from the planted crop over a specific period of time or in the season. Once the land has been prepared for planting, the farmer then chooses his seed and plants it. He ensures the provision of the best environment to produce the desired harvest. He nurtures the crop by providing the necessary nutrients, water and sunlight and also protects the crop from weeds and vermin. The farmer takes gradual and conscious actions until he gets his results.
It’s the same approach that every leader should take in respect to team building at the workplace. The team members are the seeds and have the potential to deliver team excellence and hence the desired organizational results. The team is the crop that is planted in the garden where this garden is the organization or more precisely the leadership. Clearly, the leadership is the environment for the crop. These ‘seeds’ have to be taken care of through a leadership that inspires self worth, a sense of purpose, goal orientation and excellence in results. It’s the cumulative efforts of the team members (seeds) that provide the effective team results. This is what the organization harvests as the crop.
Importance of Team Building in Strategic Growth
The importance of team building in the strategic growth of an organization cannot be gainsaid. What you plant is what you reap and this means that how you nurture and build the team will determine the team results. Building a performing team is one of the key challenges of any leader. Team building is all about developing people to ensure that there is mutual trust between team members to facilitate productive relationships that help to deliver both team and organizational goals. Some of the strategies for building strong teams include:
1. Recruitment that is based on strong personal competencies, personal vision for life and self motivation as opposed to mere academic prowess.
2. A corporate culture that creates a powerfully enabling environment that stimulates personal growth in an environment of collaborative effort.
3. A well crafted Strategic Plan that is internalized by all team members who are aware of their contribution to the ‘big picture’.
4. Clearly defined job roles enshrined in a well structured performance management system that continuously rewards excellence.
5. A flatter management structure that encourages 360 degree communication and which values staff ideas.
6. A clear structure for staff development and motivation where each staff understands ‘what’s in it for me’.
7. A knowledge based leadership that embraces continuous growth and improvement through proactive approach to change.
Key Benefits of Team Building
Effective teams are the panacea for business growth. Some of the key benefits are:
- Customer satisfaction leading to business growth through both customer retention and acquisition.
- Increase in shareholder value through better financial returns.
- A highly motivated team leading to less time in supervision and minimal conflicts.
- Personal ownership and accountability for results.
- High staff retention reducing on cost of recruitment and training.
- Innovative staff ideas and contribution leading to business growth.
An effectively build team is like a well serviced and mechanically sound vehicle. All parts are harmonized to work together to keep the machine in motion in order to achieve the results. There are what ought to be daily checks, there are times to wash the vehicle, service it or even replace some parts. The leader must take a similar approach if the teams have to remain fresh and energized to help sustain performance. Effective communication becomes a critical component toward this end. This may be achieved through a variety of ways such as regular and well planned office meetings, job shadowing as well as inbound training and outbound team building events.
Team building will call for role model leadership that aims at inspiring people to achieve greatness by doing what the company is asking them to do. The leader then is the molder for the greatness that lays dormant in his staff. This is the leadership that provides the requisite physical and mental environment for optimal productivity.
Why Some Leaders do not Fully Appreciate the Importance of Team Building
In several of our trainings many lower cadre staff opine that most leaders don’t seem to appreciate the importance of team building. It’s true that building effective teams is not easy. It’s a calling that requires a vision, commitment, patience and above all love for people. Building teams starts with the conscious choice of building people which is motivated by the concern for the goodness in every person.
It’s more of a long term approach than an attempt to achieve quick fixes in performance. Many managers or leaders may be impatient in developing people to a level where they achieve the necessary levels of self awareness in order to be self driven. A manager who has low concern for people and just focuses on results will end up being a dictator who attains results through destructive motivation of intimidation and threats. Dictators want immediate results no matter what. However these results are not sustainable in the long term. That’s why they rarely involve others as they believe they are ‘bankers of knowledge’. To them your opinion or contribution is irrelevant.
Great leaders try to attain the requisite balance between people relations and attainment of results. They are responsive to people’s needs and at the same time motivate them to ensure delivery of results. They see themselves as mentors and coaches by trying to create more leaders below them. These leaders build results oriented teams through involvement, collaboration, consensus building and embracing challenges and change. Their results are sustainable in the long term.Share this inspiring article