Life, Leadership and Business

Sunday, 17 April 2016

5 Steps to turn your Group into a High Performance Team


5 Steps to turn your Group into a
High Performance Team

All teams are a group, but not all groups are teams. In order to understand this opening statement it is important to understand the dynamics and definition of a group, and of a team. A Group is a collection of people that have come together, joined by a common cause. A Team is a collection of people, already united by a common cause, and have a common objective or goal to achieve.
To illustrate the difference between the two, imagine a stadium for a highly anticipated soccer
match between two popular clubs. Large numbers of people pour into the stadium before the match. People move towards the side of the stadium where there are like-minded supporters. The supporters will sing and dance, charging the air with excitement and expectation of victory. In the stadium we have a group. In fact, we have two groups of supporters, one for each club. These fans are united by their love and passion for the game of soccer, as well as their loyalty to the Club of preference.

Groups are loyal to a cause. They experience a lot of emotion, but by their nature, groups are not productive. It is the people standing on the soccer field that will do the work. Joined together by their love of the game, the players have been selected for their abilities and assigned specific roles and duties to carry out. The players have been given an objective: Put the ball in the back of the opponents Nets. The players on the pitch are a team, with a common cause they are focused on a common goal. By their nature, Teams are productive, designed to produce results.

As a leader, whether a team captain, a manager, a supervisor or project leader, it is important to ensure the progression from group to team happens smoothly and efficiently. Here are four basic steps that will move your group of people into a high performance team:

Step 1: Select people for your group that already have a passion for the cause, or at the very least, appeal to potential team member’s intrinsic motivation before appointing them. Skill can be taught, but team members must arrive with their own motivation. As the leader, you will have to encourage and refocus your team when they get tired and lose focus. You can inspire them by referencing to their existing loyalty and passion for the cause in order to motivate them. If they don’t have passion and motivation at the start, your group may never become a high performance team.

Step 2: Clearly set the Objectives. The group must know exactly what it is that they have to achieve together. Using Vision and Mission, move your group closer together and focused on the cause. Using objectives and goals, you lay out the path they need to move in order to achieve results. A clear goal demands clear actions which will produce clear results.

Step 3: Define the role and responsibilities for each team member. Just as each player in the soccer team has a specific role and position t play, so each team member must have his or her boundaries defined. Not everyone can be goal keepers on the field, but in the same way not everyone can be strikers either. Assign the roles to the individuals based on the skills set for which they were appointed. Be sure that every person knows what each team member’s role is so as to avoid confusion and duplication.

Step 4: Delegate the necessary authority to each team member. This is the step that normally gets managers panicking. Did you not appoint capable if not qualified persons to function within a role?  Did you not assign them responsibilities? Good! Now to make sure they become the “Go-to-Guy” within their field of responsibility - delegate the required authority to them. Failing to delegate authority will result in team members bypassing them and approaching the team leaders or supervisor to get the answers they seek. This is counter-productive. And really, leaders: here you can step out of the norm, and turn your team into high flyers – Validate the decisions team members make. Give your stamp of approval. As the leader you remain supportive and offer guidance to ensure each team member stays aligned to the objectives as they make decisions. This will boost their confidence, demonstrate your support and seal their authority over their designated role.

Step 5: Celebrate the successes. Obliviously, the achievement of the main objective is the focus of the team. And when success is achieved, celebrate accordingly. Remember to celebrate the achievement of milestones within the main objective. Rewarding and recognising the mini-victories boosts confidence and builds anticipation for the ultimate reward. A well timed “Good Job So Far” celebration helps team members reflect on what they have accomplished to date and energises their focus on what still needs to be done.

As a leader, your aim is to move your group into a high performance team. The number one responsibility of the leader is to ensure the correct timing of each of the steps. Waiting too long to move to the next step will cause fatigue and your team will lose focus of the cause. Moving too soon and the hype will result in false expectations which will end in the team breaking up before the objectives are achieved.    As a leader, your function will to be guide and inspire the group into the team realm. Make this process a fun experience and the team’s achievements will be legendary.

More Articles by John Usher on Team Building:
1. 5 Key Principles a Leader should Know about Team Building
2. 8 Comparisons between groups and teams
3. 5 Phases of a Developing Team
4. 5 Steps to Authentic Leadership

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