Each member of a group brings diversity and originality. Those facets can cause friction, or they can improve group strength and produce dramatic results. A sense of purpose and mission sets a group of people apart as a team working together to accomplish a shared goal. Instilling that ethos into a team changes the dynamic from a humdrum plodding to a purposeful endeavor. Here are three strategies for creating such an atmosphere.
Keep the Goal in Mind
A good team always has a compelling goal in mind. Knowing what you want to achieve and the steps you need to take to achieve it are what drive a team’s motivation. Achieving short-term goals provides the impetus to attack the next. Over time, this becomes a way of life and infects everyone with a determination to meet the next challenge. Create an action plan that makes clear long, medium and short-term goals and then regularly assess the team’s progress in achieving success.
Success Breeds Success
Setting clear goals gives you a benchmark with which to assess your team’s progress. While there are often times when you will need to address a shortcoming with someone or the team as a whole, the fact is that even in failure there is almost always some effort that you can encourage and support. By constantly playing up your team’s real victories and efforts, you create a sense of winning. This sets an expectation for succeeding in the future and a desire to try harder to reach the next objective. Encouragement enables everyone to see the value of their efforts.
Communication Is the Lifeblood of Teamwork
Set the example of clear communication. Make meetings events that move your objective forward rather than rambling messes that only promote confusion. Make critical feedback in person and make sure you are judging performance, not the person. Create an open pathway for communication to flow both ways. People rarely accept criticism from people who are not themselves open to criticism. By welcoming feedback yourself, you create an environment where everyone is free to communicate.