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“Team” is a popular term in work environments these days. Individuals working together to achieve a goal will yield better results, right? That’s the hope, at least.

Organizations create teams to bring individual intelligence together to solve problems or execute projects that are too complex for one individual.

“Team Smart” is the skill set that creates collaborative intelligence. Collaborative intelligence is the process of exploring alternative views and opinions to find a solution that integrates the wisdom of the team. The goal is to create a team whose intelligence is greater than the sum of its individual team members.

In other words, they need a team that will operate with synergy. That’s the key to success.

It is easy to understand the logic behind teamwork; however, companies continue to fail at building effective teams.  Why?

Because companies don’t strategically assemble and develop their teams.  All too often, they simply stick individuals together and hope for the best.

Instead, what they should do is invest resources into assembling and developing smart teams that function with synergy.

Steps For Building a Synergistic Team:

Here are steps to help you assemble and build an effective team that will operate with synergy:

(1) Select the right people with the necessary creative intelligence. Pick people who possess the required expertise and personal characteristics. Individuals’ strengths and weaknesses should work together rather than contradict one another.

(2) Choose a strong team leader who has the leadership capabilities to effectively build, mentor, and direct a team.

(3)  Establish a team identity with clearly defined goals. It is imperative that your team understand its purpose and how your goals will be achieved. Ensure adequate resources are available for your plans to be executed.

(4)  Create commitment among team members to your team’s identity/purpose. If members are not passionate about the value their team is adding to the organization, your goals will not be achieved.

(5)  The team and its leaders must understand personality differences. Typically, organizations use developmental tools including MBTI, gap analysis, 360 degree feedback, etc. Team members should understand their own preferences and their teams. Gaining emotional and social intelligence will allow the team to communicate effectively, manage conflict and stress, and motivate one another.

(6)  Team discussions should encourage members to share ideas and thoughts openly. However, conversations must be guided by intelligence and purpose.

(7)  The team must operate with a high level of trust. People must be willing to become vulnerable and communicate freely.

(8)  Once trust is established, the team needs to develop rules or procedures for managing conflict. It is the leader’s responsibility to guide the group through conflict resolution.

(9)  Hold team members accountable. Peers and leaders should hold each other accountable to both quality standards and deadlines. When one team member is failing, the entire group is failing.

(10)  The team leader must keep the team focused and energized to sustain commitment.

Developing a team is a critical leadership skill that requires dedication and work. I have worked with several teams and found it can take over a year to build a team strong enough to run a company.

Conduct an assessment of your team(s) to evaluate its effectiveness. Learn how each team member feels about the team and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Poor to moderately performing teams can be improved.

Remember, a team is a reflection of its leader. Your investment and enthusiasm towards your team’s vision will be replicated by your team members.


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