Dear Friends and Clients,

For years Sheila wanted to move into management, but when the opportunity arrived she was on the brink of panic.

She had wanted to move up, to run her well-established unit. Instead, in the wake of a corporate merger, Sheila was named director of a new department charged with performing several functions that had been spread across the two companies being joined.

Sheila didnít know how to turn her group of resentful and nervous professionals into a happy and productive team. During coaching, however, she realized that she had enjoyed varied team experiences in many spheres of life. And she saw that her own positive attitude could help her get off to a good start as a team leader.

Sheila helped her team to understand the merged companyís vision, and she encouraged discussion about how the departmentís activities related to the bigger picture. She took time to learn about each team memberís skills and she found ways to put them to good use. She set modest, immediate team goals and made sure that everybody could share in the celebration when the missions were accomplished.

Understanding how to build a team can be critical to assuming effective leadership. Even if you are not a manager at the office, you can practice team building in other parts of your life. With that in mind, in this issue I offer you tips on team building.

Warm Wishes, Bev

Build Your Team
To Deliver Results

May 19th, 2009 * Number 104

Whether you are trying to turn a company around in the midst of the recession, or manage your home renovation, you are well advised to pay attention to building and supporting your team.

A team is a small group of people who share a goal and work well together. Research suggests what experience has taught us: teams tend to out-perform individuals. This is particularly true where team members have diverse experience and complementary skills.

If you are creating or leading a team, keep these strategies in mind:
  • Share the goals. On a strong team, members understand their immediate objectives and how they are aligned with the broader organizationís mission. Spend the time to promote discussion about both immediate tasks and the big picture.

  • Respect each memberís contribution. A team is like an orchestra, where roles vary but each player has a specialty. On healthy teams, every memberís contribution is recognized and appreciated. Spend the time learning about each memberís strengths, and look for ways to give each person a chance to shine.

  • Understand the need to belong. We each have a fundamental need to belong to communities, particularly those that allow us to make contributions that are appreciated by others. Successful team builders understand the power of belonging, and find ways to reinforce it. Team T-shirts may not be the right choice for you, but look for ways to recognize and cheer for team membership.

  • Communicate. Share important information with your team members and create opportunities for discussing it. Establish methods for giving and receiving feedback. Allow members to express diverse opinions within the group and find ways to address conflicts. Foster an environment where members listen to each other.

  • Celebrate small victories. A feeling of success can empower your team. Identify achievable objectives and commemorate each win. Something as simple as a group coffee break outside the office can make the day feel special.

  • Build rituals. One way to foster a team culture is to be conscious of the routines that shape your time together. Patterns will develop around factors as simple as when you meet or where each member sits. Be aware of the traditions you are creating, and look for ways to make them more fun or meaningful.

Want more ideas for stepping into leadership? In addition to providing executive coaching, Bev is available to speak about a broad range of issues related to your work life. Visit her website at www.ClearWaysConsulting.com or email to Bev directly. Bev is associated with Executive Coaching & Consulting Associates.

Bev’s Tips for a Better Work Life is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month by Beverly E. Jones of ClearWays Consulting, LLC.   Bev is a lawyer and former executive who now coaches accomplished executives and other professionals to bring new direction, energy and enjoyment to their work lives.

Copyright ©2009, ClearWays Consulting, LLC  & Beverly E. Jones

All rights in all media reserved.  However, the content of Bev’s Tips for a Better Work Life may be forwarded in full without special permission on the condition that (1) it is for non-profit use and (2) full attribution and copyright notice are given.  For other uses please contact Bev Jones.

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