For any team to work effectively, its foundation must be strong.
To build a strong team, members need a common goal, work together on tasks, and have authority over their work. To sustain strong foundations, leaders need to undertake three crucial steps.
First and foremost, leaders must ensure team members are crystal clear on their shared goals. Members should know how team goals link to one another and where they fit in the company strategy.
It is good practice for teams to be bound by a “team contract” or a “team charter” whereby each member knows what is expected of them and conforms to the set team performance metrics. Members who need help should have access to resources that support them in completing their tasks. This level of clarity facilitates delivery of work tasks in a timely manner with upmost quality.
Secondly, leaders need to keep motivation levels high. An effective way of doing this is linking goals to rewards. Team members need to be given visibility on what they will personally gain when they deliver their part of the team goals.
Rewards need not be only monetary. Non-monetary rewards such as offering training and development opportunities or exposing team members to VIP stakeholders are highly appreciated. A simple “thank you” note can work wonders in motivating individuals to do more.
Last but not least, leaders need to create a healthy work culture that promotes diversity of thought and removes pressure towards uniformity. Instead of group-thinking, leaders should encourage team members to be open to different viewpoints and avoid tunnel vision.
The organization’s leadership is accountable for the work culture. To create the desired culture, they must adopt the values they want others to follow.
For more information on team characteristics, lookup a book titled "Making The Team, A Guide For Managers" by Leigh L. Thompson. It makes an excellent read on designing and supporting high performing teams.