7 Keys to Build Winning Teams

Teams are the most important building block of projects, organizations, sports teams and their performance ultimately decides overall success. An important goal of a leader is to develop winning happy teams which contribute desired results. Effective team building is a critical skill for a leader to develop and the main areas which can contribute to this are
  1. Team Selection:The first step of leaders is to select the right team. The skill set needed for every project is different so it is absolutely imperative that the right team players are on boarded. Selection of a team is an art and requires some intuition along with logic. We have seen in sports like cricket, football that selection of the team is crucial for victory. There are some sports teams full of superstars and still lose because a team does not require all superstars it is more about attitude, team bonding and sacrificing for the larger cause. 
  1. Team Vision:Once the team is selected an exciting vision is crucial for keeping the team engaged. This is where leadership is crucial. When the team knows what they are working towards it increases commitment from team members and they feel like contributing to a larger goal which helps keep the team together when the going gets tough. Vision provides meaning to project teams and gives them a target/purpose to aim at. 
  1. Team Bonding: Once the vision is clear the next step is for the team to bond together. Camaraderie within the team always leads to better results. Team members should know each other for not only their work related items but personal stories should be shared between the team for bonding to flourish. Anything that gets the team together on a non-work environment helps team bonding. 
  1. Team meetings: It is important to have weekly/monthly meetings where each team member discusses what they accomplished that week and what they plan for next week. What this communication does is give awareness on what others are doing and also helps in improving performance. It also helps understand where everyone is going as a team and can help in bench-marking performance. 
  1. Feedback:Continuous feedback is necessary to make the team aware of what is being done well and what can be done better. Regular candid feedback on a periodic basis is critical to team performance. Feedback can be positive and also help in identifying areas of improvement. Feedback should be done both ways i.e. the team leader soliciting input on areas of improvement from the team as well as providing input to enhance performance for the team. This promotes trust. 
  1. Rewards and Recognition: There are a lot of theories that intrinsic motivation does work and external rewards may not work but I still think that the number one desire for everyone is the desire to feel important. One of the ways to achieve this is praise in public. Yes sometimes the rewards need not be told upfront but can be provided after the event. Praise needs to be immediate so that the individuals/team knows the reason for that praise. Catch teams doing things right so that the same performance is repeated. 
  1. Team Consistency: While changes are always to be welcomed unnecessary chopping and changing team members on the fly lead to disharmony within the team. However even if something goes wrong when the team leader keeps faith in the troops it provides others hope to not be disillusioned by failure. Ensure team chopping is kept at a minimum and the core team is intact over a long period of time promoting consistency, harmony and eventually better results.
To conclude team harmony is the most important element of winning teams. The job of a leader is to coordinate the efforts of various individuals and pull them together through a well-crafted vision which inspires, motivates and gets the team to perform well beyond their capabilities. 
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.


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