Building a great team is a process.
It’s not always easy, but when it works, it creates a team that’s a major force and a key aspect for project success.
When building up a team, a few principles should be established right from the start. If implemented correctly, they become the basis from which the team draws their strength.
These principles are: leading by example, good communication, and reliability.
Teamwork makes the dreamwork
A young business like a startup begins their journey with little resources (and money). It’s not uncommon for startups to work with an “all-hands-on-deck” approach.
And as the business – hopefully – scales, it can be hard sometimes to keep the environment positive, collaborative, and healthy.
A toxic work environment ultimately damages the startup reputation, undermines the core mission and leads to missed goals, and high employee turnover.
This is way, from the very first stages of the team’s life, the leaders should put down the basis for collaboration and teamwork.
#1 Give a good example
“Leading by example” should be a core principle of everybody looking to build – and lead – a team.
How can leaders expect their teams to follow the company culture and processes, if they don’t do it in the first place?
If startups and young businesses want their profiles to survive, that the process must begin from the top.
So if it’s established that every Monday begins with a stand-up meeting to update everybody on the work, then managers and founders must attend, too. If it’s decided that the hours must be diligently tracked with a time tracking software, then managers should track their time, too. If punctuality is considered an obligation for the employees, employers must make an effort, too.
Obviously, people make mistakes and even those in the top chain of command are allowed a misstep.
But if those who create the company culture don’t even follow through, then it becomes an empty promise.
Also, leaders can easily identify flaws and possible problems in the processes they have implemented if they experience first hand how they work. This benefits the team – and the mission – as a whole.
#2 Promote communication
One would think that in a very small team communication comes easily. After all, if one needs to talk to a co-worker/manager, it’s enough to just walk to their desk. Right?
Well, you’d be surprised how miscommunication happens in small teams too.
I’m not saying that startups should establish an intricate chain of tools and passages just to talk to each other.
What is important is that teams establish clear communication as a core principle right from the beginning.
Simply setting up a company account for Slack is not enough. It means making an effort to always explain, clarify, and be ready to answer questions.
Also, don’t forget: the first part of communication is listening.
#3 Enforce reliability
Successful team members have to trust each other.
Without trust, teams risk crushing under pressure and missing key business goals. This is why from very the beginning, every member of the team should realize how their work is important to other members success, and why missing the target will affect everybody.
From sticking to deadlines, to completing tasks, to staying withing budget, reliability builds collaboration and trust across the team.
Of course: people make mistakes. And projects, despite the best effort and planning, sometimes go out of track for reasons that are not exactly the team’s fault.
Ant this is where the element of communication that we talked about comes in. When teams communicate clearly, it’s easier to monitor processes, improve efficiency, and raise a red flag for when things start to go wrong.
Bonus tip: reiterate and adjust
Businesses grow and change, and that sometimes brings aftershock and the need to reorganize the work.
This is why from time to time, it’s a good idea to think back about company culture. Keep the core values at heart, but review processes, structure, and the way work is conducted, to find out if there is the need to adjust.
When that happens, then the contribution of all team members becomes vital. But in a context in which there is no trust or collaboration, team members won’t feel free to share their insights, or just won’t care.
Teamwork and collaboration go beyond the execution of everyday tasks. They affect a company as a whole and give a direction to its future.
Thank you for reading! Make sure to share your team building tips in the comments below.
Cover image via Stocksnap.io