Craig discusses what makes an effective team.
If you look for the definition of an effective team, people will give you different answers. For me, I believe an effective team is where:
• people feel engaged, confident and competent with their work
• people build meaningful relationships with each other, and conversations about home, hobbies and non-work stuff are encouraged
• people seek advice and guidance and ask for help when needed
• individuals trust each other and hold each other (and themselves) to account
• each person understands their purpose and how they make a difference to each other, the team, the business and their customers
• the environment is fully empowered, with individuals having the freedom and space to make their own decisions
• people know exactly what they need to achieve and how this will help the organisation achieve its goals/targets/strategy and vision
• each person thrives on feedback and development and learns from stuff that goes well, as well as things that could have gone better
• people think about the good of the overall team or business
• people feel comfortable being vulnerable with each other
• people are open to helping out with tasks not specifically in their ‘job description’ or within their immediate team
It’s important for leaders to create an environment for an effective team to grow. You can achieve this by being a brilliant communicator, who understands the challenges your team is facing. By trusting your team and empowering them, they’ll be able to fully develop into their roles.
As a leader, it’s important to see all the members of your team as individuals. Recognising everyone’s individual strengths means you’re able to play to those strengths and identify areas for development. The best answers really are within your team, you’ve just got to give your people the space and support to realise they know the answers and use a coaching style to draw them out.
When we started Rambutan, one of the first things we thought about was how we, as a team, wanted to be, what our culture would be like and the values we wanted to live by. As we started to build our team it was really important for people to be aligned with and live our values. We also wanted new bunch members who could build and bond with the existing team. When you’ve built the perfect, effective team, there can be a challenge to bring in someone new who’s the right fit.
An effective team can have open, honest and totally candid conversations. As a leader, you should be able to call people out when they’re not performing, because you’ve built an environment where you’re comfortable doing so. These conversations are sometimes challenging to have, but it’s important to have them, for the good of the team and the business.
Diversity in effective teams is so important. Not only diversity in terms of race, religion, etc. but also in terms of personality. Seeing the world through someone else’s eyes and thinking, ‘What might their experiences be? How does that drive their behaviours?’ will help you to fully understand others in your team and appreciate them for who they are.
I love working in the Rambutan team because we’ve built a group of people who are always striving to be the best they can be. We’re constantly thinking, ‘What can we do better for our clients? What can we do better for ourselves?’. We have two apprentices at Rambutan, who are only just starting out their careers, and it’s great to discuss how we can help them to develop, so when they want to move on, they’re in the best position possible.
How would you build an effective team?