Turn Your Staff Into A Team


How would you define a team? Most definitions include ideas like these: A group of skilled individuals who work together to achieve common goals and produce quality results for their organisation. On this understanding it’s not every business that can say it has a ‘team’. Many businesses have ‘employees’ or ‘staff’ who go about their job sufficiently well to justify their pay-packet; but these businesses are missing out on the rewards that come from real teamwork and team commitment.

You know you have a problem when you ask one of your people a question and their answer is along the lines of “You’re the boss - you should know what to do”.

The solution to this situation is to turn your ‘staff’ into a ‘team’. Team building can transform your business into a smooth running, harmonious workplace with better interpersonal relationships and a greater level of satisfaction for all involved. But it has to start with you.

One of the keys to building a team is to systematise the business’ processes and operations. This might sound like a mechanical rather than a personal approach to fixing the problem, but if you think about it, this makes good sense.

Systems make it possible for team members to work together better because they understand one another’s job and can pitch in when help is needed. This means less opportunity for people to develop the ‘this is my job - keep your hands off’ attitude. Real team players don’t try to keep their job functions a secret to protect themselves.

If your business has good systems in place, that are communicated to everybody on the team and well understood, then you’ve already gone a long way to creating a better place to work, as well as a much more efficient one.

Another key to team-building is for the business to have clearly defined goals. This enables a commitment to achieving these goals to be shared by all the members of the team.

Whenever possible, involve your team in the design of systems and the defining of the businesses’ goals. I find it gives them a feeling of participation in decision making instead of them just coming as a dictate from above.

Seek their input into updating the systems they work with and let them have their say about how the business can achieve its goals. This will take a big load off your own shoulders and give them a feeling of genuine ownership.

You’ll need to accept that your team isn’t necessarily going to do things in exactly the same way as you do. You might also have to accept that, for a while at least, they won’t do some things as well as you do them. It’s up to you to bring their performance up to the standard you want by providing the opportunities for them to improve.

The worst possible example you can set while trying to build a team is to become impatient and say things such as: “That’s wrong. I might as well do it myself”. Give others a chance to perform and with adequate support they’ll measure up. Now look at your business and see how many of these team building characteristics you already have in place:

      -  A shared vision for the business 
      -  Well-understood goals to which team members can commit themselves 
      -  Enthusiasm for achieving these goals 
      -  Strong leadership along with a sharing of responsibilities 
      -  Effective decision making processes
      -  Team members who feel appropriately recognised for their contribution to the business
      -  A spirit of working together

How did your business rate? Chances are you found that there’s still room for a bit more team building. Well, there’s no time to start like now. Call a meeting of your team and be open with them. Tell them what you’re trying to do and let them tell you what they think. That’s how it begins - and exactly how the process should work from then on if you want a team rather than just a staff. And remember, this is something I can assist with.

Until next week,
Mike Reddy