Teamwork. It’s one of the oldest buzzwords in the business. Every business owner dreams of assembling an unstoppable team of skilled, driven individuals and driving them to excel. But the reality is often much more challenging. Assembling a team is hard work, and keeping them coordinated even harder. Even the most specialized team can fall apart if not properly managed.
To make your team work like the well-oiled machine you want them to be, you need the right approach and the right tools for the job:
Know the Big Picture.
Good planning is all in the details, but before you can get there, you’ll need a strong vision of your team’s overall goal. Without a clear, concise, and concrete goal, your team will be floundering from the first minute. As circumstances change and unforeseen obstacles arise, a team leader must keep the big picture in mind at all times and make changes accordingly.
Create Well-Defined Roles.
Teams work best when everyone has a role that plays to their strength. The last thing you want is team members competing with each other over resources or tasks. That’s why it’s critical to know the strengths and weaknesses of your team members, and assign them where they’ll be able to work best. Some people like to joke about org charts, but they can be a lifesaver when it comes to team coordination.
Foster Great Communication.
Good communication is at the heart of any successful project, business or otherwise. This doesn’t just mean meetings – too many meetings can drag down productivity and erode morale. Good communication should run through everything you do, whether it’s via email, text, communication software, or in-person interactions. Transparency, clarity, empathy and respect are all critical. A good team leader must have have great communication skills to keep their team motivated and coordinated… and the right tools don’t hurt, either.
Master Your Planning.
The most crack team in the world won’t get good results unless you start with a plan. There’s a strong temptation among many small business owners to “figure things out as they go” or place heavy emphasis on improvisation — and this is in part why so many businesses fail so quickly. To be successful, you need to know your objectives, know the time and resources necessary to reach them, and deal out tasks accordingly. Of course, a plan must be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances – but it remains the backbone of your business’ success.
Don’t Overdo It.
Believe it or not, there can be such a thing as too much coordination. Even the most well-designed team may have disagreements about how to manage their resources and time… in fact, it’s pretty likely. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming everyone has to work like a well-oiled machine all the time. Too much coordination can cost you productivity in terms of pointless meetings, long presentations, disagreements between colleagues, and poor results. Know when to loosen the reins and let people work.
Team coordination isn’t always easy. It can be a challenge to keep teammates working together smoothly, and there are bound to be obstacles and mistakes along the way. One of the most important skills you can cultivate is learning from these challenges and refining your approach, so your next team – and your next project – will be better than ever.