The secrets to getting more than the sum of the parts.

Few of us would contest the value of teamwork would we? Regardless of sector or type of business most people’s roles are demanding.  The environment can be challenging, with opportunities and threats at every twist and turn of the working day.  So co-operation is vital.  A team is not a disparate collection of individuals, but ‘a group of people cooperating with each other to work towards achieving an agreed set of aims, objectives or goals’. What I find really interesting is that if you have a high performing, cohesive team, there’s so much value add.  It’s what we call the synergistic characteristics of a team.  You actually get more out than the sum of the parts.  There’s also lots of evidence that points to contributions from such a team being so much better than if the most capable, intelligent team member beavered away on their own.

So how do you achieve this? How do you get your hands on a team like this?  Well, you have to build one usually.  If you inherit a great team then that’s fantastic, but you’ll have to work even harder to keep the dynamics stable and cohesive.
You’ll need to have an explicit common goal, even a vision and mission or at least aims and objectives.  As a manager you also need to be aware of and take into account the individual needs and interests of team members.

But what else do you need to do?  Here’s some great ideas that you can apply easily, whether you manage a team of 1 or many.

1. Avoid a mirror image

Avoid the trap that many managers fall into.  Don’t continually try and appoint people who are like you.  Usually a diverse team with different but complementary communication styles, personality types and skills sets works well. Diversity makes good business sense too.  So make sure you build all these requirements into your person specification and interviewing processes.

2. Motivation matters

Don’t assume that what motivates you and makes you want to come to work in the morning is going to be shared by your team members.  Take the time to get to know what their motivators are and where possible use these to ‘take your team’ with you.  Try and do this as soon as you can when you are appointed to the role.

3. Teams go through different stages of development

A team develops over a period of time and every time you introduce a new team member or change around people’s roles, this may temporarily dent progress – teams may need to go back a bit more moving forwards again. So accept this and think about what you can do, and what you need to avoid doing, to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.

If you have enjoyed reading this blog and found it useful, then get the rest of our team building tips by grabbing a copy of our free book ‘New Manager Secrets – How To Accelerate Your Success As A Manager Immediately‘ You can apply for this on the Home Page of this site.