Go Team Go!

team development bobsledBuilding teams, high-performing teams, coaching teams – there’s a lot of talk about teams today. We all work in teams in some form or another, formal or informal. We are, after all, social creatures. Even the solo artist usually has a “team” of managers, agents and the like. But in a business environment are we really getting the most out of our teams, or are we just letting them happen?

Teams are important to organizations today. Brandon Hall Group’s 2015 Leadership Development study found that the top three priorities for improving leadership capability were

  • Developing leaders to be effective coaches
  • Improving innovation capability
  • Developing leader’s ability to manage high performance teams

Yet today, only 18% of organizations consider teambuilding skills a core leadership strength. So how can your organization make better use of teams? Here are three thoughts.

Pay attention. Don’t just point to the three nearest people or your usual suspects the next time you have a project requiring a team. Organizations that use teams as formal development opportunities were 82% more likely to improve revenue over the previous year, and 32% more likely to improve employee engagement over the previous year. Think about the overall talent pipeline and find opportunities to bring people together that can learn from each other. Great teams don’t just happen, they require planning and thought.

Get the right tools. Particularly if you are a dispersed organization. Take advantage of creating cross functional, cross geography, cross generational teams, but make them successful by enabling them with tools beyond email and the conference call. Social collaboration tools to enable synchronous and asynchronous collaboration that not only help teams execute, but help engage everyone on the team more effectively. Don’t miss out on the opportunity for great contribution by someone who is in a different time zone.

Put the I in team. Accomplishing a goal together is the purpose of a team. We are more powerful together than alone. But to take advantage of teams number for the work they produce, but is opportunities to develop individual skills and capabilities, set goals for individuals as well as the overall team. Everyone on the team works towards the common goal, but each individual can have their own agenda when it comes to learning from other experts and gaining leadership opportunities in a more controlled environment.

 Mollie Lombardi, VP and Principal Analyst,
Workforce Management, Brandon Hall Group

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