Developing the Team and its Culture

Henry Ford once said that coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Mr. Ford knew the importance of teamwork. It is human nature to be part of a group. We are social creatures, and working with others makes us feel good about ourselves. Think back to the last time you worked on a team project at school or work. If the experience was rewarding, you know what Mr. Ford meant by success.

The most important ingredient for success in today’s workplace is teamwork. This fact has been recognized by human resource (HR) organizations around the globe, which focus much of their attention on improving human performance through human capital development (HCD). Training can help people perform better; but training only enhances what already exists—it does not create new behaviors or skills that do not exist within individuals or teams., developing human performance falls into three categories:        

– increasing human capacity (physically, emotionally, and behaviorally)            

– developing human knowledge (skills, concepts, ideas)                  

– improving human relationships (with self, others, external environment)                           

The primary responsibility of managers is to help people perform at their best; therefore, one of the primary roles of leaders is to help teams grow. To get the most out of team performance it’s practically mandatory that team members like each other. It’s also important that they develop a high level of trust in one another. It may seem like common sense but consider these statistics:

  • 1 in 4 employees say they’ve had conflicts with co-workers
  • 1 in 5 employees say they’ve avoided co-workers
  • 1 in 7 employees have considered leaving their company for another job because of poor leadership

A big part of the human side of human capital development is helping teams work well together. With that in mind, here are nine tips to help you develop teams and create a productive culture within your organization.

– Establish clear goals                

Setting clear objectives ensures everyone works toward the same end result. It also makes it easier to measure performance and results, which allows managers to make tactical decisions based on “real world” data rather

– Develop mutual trust                  

Team members need to be able to trust one another if they’re going share information freely and unload their emotional baggage.

– Establish ground rules                  

Establishing team norms and work-related expectations creates an “ethical contract” that keeps the team on track, focused, and working together with shared purpose.

– Delegate tasks wisely                  

Be aware of the strengths of your team members, and create a balance among the various tasks. Selecting people to work on the team based on their individual skills and abilities makes for better teamwork.

– Communication is key                

Understand that communication doesn’t always happen face-to-face. It’s human nature to assume the best, but also human nature to harbor assumptions. To avoid misunderstanding and conflict, effective teams establish norms for both verbal and written communication.

– Be open to new ideas

Openness breeds creativity; therefore it is important for team members to feel comfortable sharing ideas so they can generate fresh thinking around current issues or problems.  It’s also beneficial to encourage people to share with one another what they do best—what their unique skills or specialties are—so everyone can bring their “A” game to the table.  And that will make for better performance.

– Create opportunities to build relationships                                  

Provide team members with time and an opportunity to come together outside of strictly work situations. This helps develop cohesion, a sense of community, and a feeling of safety among all members of the team.

– Be accessible                           

Setting boundaries is important but if you want your team members to respect you as a leader then they need to know that they can talk with you when necessary – especially when problems arise. It’s human nature not to speak up when people feel intimidated by those in authority but this behavior only adds frustration and stress not only for the team members, but for the leader as well.

– Reward and recognize team success                  

Acknowledging individual effort and rewarding achievement is important to keep people motivated and bring out the best in people.

Teamwork makes the dream work! Great human capital leadership means having awareness of human behavior and human nature, understanding human relationships, understanding human development through all stages of life so you can help your people do their best work together…and that is what great leaders do: they lead and facilitate great teams.

Article summary: Making good human capital decisions is about more than just numbers; it’s also about human emotions and relationships—understanding where we’re coming from where we’re headed as individuals (or as teams).


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