Many people use the words “team” and “group” interchangeably; however, they are in essence not the same. One of the most important elements that distinguish a “team” from a “group” is synergy.
Have you ever watched a flock of geese take flight? Seconds after they take off, the geese arrange themselves into a perfect “V formation.” Flying in this formation, rather than each goose flying on its own, allows them to fly faster, conserve energy, and fly longer distances. This is synergy in action.
Observing these wonderful creatures, one would notice that as the lead goose tires, he simply drops back and another bird takes its place in the lead. Working together in this manner, rather than individually, allows the flock to achieve greater productivity. This synergy is a law of nature.
Fortunately, the kind of teamwork that works for geese also works for businesses and organizations. Teams and organizations can greatly benefit from the “V formation” leadership style.
“Synergy comes naturally from the quality of the relationship, friendship, trust, and love that unites people,” relates Stephen Covey.
While a group’s strength lies merely on sheer volume and their willingness to follow orders from a centralized authority, a team’s strength, however, is multiplied several times over because of the synergy within its members.
The concept of teamwork is extremely important for turning any group into an effective team. You may have a group of superstars, but unless and until the individuals have learned how to work as one cohesive unit, your team will never achieve great things.
Here are a few proven ways to help you build an effective team for your small business:
- Get your team to take ownership. A sense of ownership is what propels individuals to excel in their job or profession. In order to get your team involved and feel a sense of ownership, you need to focus on the big picture and encourage open communication, honesty, and trust among members of your team.
- Set realistic goals that challenge your team. Giving your team a realistic goal to work toward will result in rewarding experiences for them. However, remember not to make the challenge too hard because then they may tend to give up early, and consequently, not finish what they’ve started.
- Build camaraderie and morale. The major indicators of an effective team are that the members genuinely like each other, work hard and provide mutual support for one another, maintain their relationships, and exhibit open and honest communication. Teams like this generally have a high level of morale and are able to provide mutual support in hard times. Make sure you create a culture that allows people to have fun and enjoy each other’s company.
- Give your team responsibility. Giving meaningful responsibilities to your team can yield consistent and significant growth for your small business. Giving responsibility is actually a two-way street:
- It will increase each team member’s confidence in the leadership, and
- Giving them greater responsibility demonstrates your confidence in them. With greater confidence, you and your team will be able to achieve your goals much faster.
- Give members of your team opportunities for personal growth. When people feel that they are doing something worthwhile (like learning new concepts or improving their skills), motivation and employee morale will soar. Personal growth is a wise investment because it not only adds value to your employees, but to your business as well.
Making teams more productive is a real struggle for many companies today. While businesses must emphasize productivity to keep their competitive edge, one must never lose sight that the best way to maximize it is through distributed leadership, openness, direct communication, and trust.
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