So, Jane and Bob are once again leading a project. This time, they want to make sure they have a team that is more productive and has less challenges and conflicts.
There's the million-dollar question.
How do you build a “better" team?
First, Jane and Bob need to understand that putting together an effective and productive team is more than just grabbing available bodies ("Jim, you doing anything for the next 6 months?") and assigning tasks and roles.
Fortunately, Jane and Bob have the option to hand pick their team members. They start with the following:
-> Define a clear objective/goal for the team and the corresponding metrics to know when the objective/goal has been met. Define the tasks to be done and the roles in the project
-> Assess staff to determine each person's strengths
-> Build the team and assign staff to tasks based on the individuals’ strengths
Start out strong.
When assessing strengths, look at
-> Who is a starter? This the person you want leading the team - he'll get everyone going.
-> Who has that exceptional attention to detail? This is the person you want to be in charge of actually getting things done.
-> Who has outstanding analytical skills? This person belongs at the beginning of the project so that she can help get it moving, but her role should end there - she would be bored with the actual implementation.
-> Who is a cheerleader? A cheerleader can be a great asset if you have a tight schedule and absolutely need to keep everyone firmly focused and on track.
-> How long is the project going to take? Along with that, you'll want to factor in the team members’ individual boredom quotient.
Tackle those conflicts to the ground.
Now you have a project with clearly defined tasks and roles, and you've selected team members based on their strengths and how those strengths correspond to the project's needs. Is that it? Does it run smoothly from there? Not always. Jane and Bob have a great team, but they have to keep an eye out for conflicts and challenges that may (and could likely if they don't watch out) come up.
Potential conflicts include:
-> asking a starter personality to do the quality control at the end and handle details. The starter sees things at a distance of 50,000 feet; by asking him to handle details, you're requiring him to also see at 1,000 feet. He can't do it.
-> asking a starter personality to be on this project for an extended period of time. He'll get bored and will lose interest and energy. Eventually, he'll become increasingly less productive. There goes your project.
-> using get-along Suzie (the person who does what's asked and never questions anything) to lead the project. For a leader, you need a big thinker, a person who asks tough questions initially, so that you save time later on by not having to recreate/redo work.
-> creating a team of queen bees - you need more worker bees.
-> not clearly defining roles and responsibilities. By not making it very clear up front what each person's responsibilities on this project are is an easy way for people to not accept responsibility or take ownership.
-> not knowing what kind of person you need to lead the project. For example, if you have a short time frame, you may want a more authoritative/decisive leader - one who is decisive and direct, takes charge, delegates responsibility. Or you may need a persuasive leader - one who builds teams effectively, delegates authority, responsibility and tasks, and influences through determination
By starting out from the very beginning with a clear definition for your project, what's needed, and how your team members will fit those needs, you'll find that your project starts smoother, runs efficiently, and finishes successfully.
Jane and Bob are on to the next project!
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