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How can I create an effective team?

How can I create an effective team?

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By Helen Whitten, Positiveworks

Creating an effective team can be complex. The tendency is to pick people who are similar to the rest of the group and will integrate easily, but whilst it's important for people to get on, diversity of approach is essential to ensure that lateral aspects of problems, projects and challenges are addressed.

A cohesive team helps you:

  • complete projects quickly and effectively
  • bring out the best in team members
  • choose and recruit new team members
  • provide information about performance and communication issues
  • create a template for working more effectively in future

In your team, you'll want to have individuals from each of these key areas:

  • Analysers – those who enjoy working with facts and figures, technology and logic. They may not talk a lot and are likely to prefer working with data than with people. They will ask questions such as “What are our budgets?” and “What tools do we need to achieve our goals?”
  • Organisers – those who like consistency in their tasks and working environment. They are unlikely to work well in a fast-changing or chaotic environment. They will be asking “What milestones should we be tracking?” and “What is our risk control?”
  • Empathisers – those who are excellent at bringing people together within the team, whilst keeping in mind customer relationships. They would not want to work solely with facts and figures as they thrive on people interaction. They will want to know “How can we play to our strengths?” and “How will we maintain our morale?”
  • Synergisers – those who will be excellent at driving change and seeing trends and opportunities. Challenging traditional methods and develop leading edge thinking, they would not be happy working within a routine environment. They will be hoping to determine “What is the potential of this project?” and “How can we do this differently?”

The key for the team leader is to integrate these very different approaches into a unit that works together for a common purpose. As each individual has their own priorities and communication styles, teams can often be a breeding ground for conflict.

Conflict can arise from an analyser perceiving an empathiser as ‘soft' whilst the empathiser perceives the analyser as ‘dry'. Organisers may perceive synergisers as ‘loose cannons' with synergisers believing organisers are living in the past.

Productivity and creativity can result from accessing the specialist attributes of each style and bringing them together to gain broader perspectives of how to manage problems and projects. This enables the team leader to benefit from developing the team to value not only themselves but one another's uniqueness.

Each individual within the team will come to value the different ideas and approaches of the other and comes to understand how they can apply this diversity to draw out more innovative solutions to challenges.

There are many models that enable you to identify and understand the different skills that individuals will bring to a team. The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) is generally regarded as one of the most practical and powerful. It can be completed online and assesses how people spend their time, their priorities, values and communication style.

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