Feedback and Rewards

The 5 Basics of Team Building

Louis Bonaventura asked:

There are 5 basic parts to building an effective and efficient team. If you incorporate these 5 basic principles you and your team will be successful and unstoppable!

Principle #1 – Training: In order to motivate people to learn, show them how the training can improve their lives and their potential. During this process, you will further your own goals through implementing and supporting learning activities. There are few things you need to keep in mind.

Don’t skip the basics. They should be reviewed for everyone on a regular basis. They form the core foundation for everything that follows.

Use a “need to know” approach. Adults don’t need broad training that isn’t related to their job functions. They need specific training that will help them perform their duties, so tie the training offered into their daily functions.

Stress the personal benefits. Unfortunately, first and foremost, people are always interested in “WIIFM?” – What’s In It For Me? If they don’t see a personal benefit, they will not do what you are asking of them. So you need to show them how it benefits them personally as well as the team.

Give hands-on training. Experience is the best teacher. Most people, including myself, will learn a lot quicker and easier if they “Get their hands dirty.” Simulation and role playing can be effective methods for hands-on training. Heck, they might even have fun with it and you never know what kind of creative ideas could pop up out of nowhere!

Keep the training session short. If they are too long, people will lose interest, become board, and not remember what they were taught. Teach them a lesson, allow them time to apply the lesson learned, and then move n to the next lesson. It is said that after 2 hours of straight training or lecture, the mind begins to wander and you aren’t getting through to them any more anyway. So why waste your time and theirs? Keep it short and the training will be more effective.

Recognize that all people are different. Just because John comprehends the training immediately doesn’t mean Mary will (and visa-versa). Have patience with the people who need more time and assistance than the others and give them what they need. In the long run they will be grateful and more efficient and effective.

Match the training to each individual person. If Mary works in the computer repair department and John simply uses a computer to help with his tasks, they obviously don’t need the same training. Mary might need a computer repair course where John might need to know about spreadsheets.

Principle #2 – Delegating: You can’t build a team without effective delegation. It’s all too easy for a leader to fall into the trap of doing things themselves because they “want it done right.” You have to learn to delegate tasks so that your time can be used optimally.

Have a clear definition of the task. Let them person know the results you are seeking and what benefits will come from completing the task rather than telling them how to do it. This allows for creativity. They come up with an idea that you never thought of which completes the task more efficiently or more productively.

Assign authority. Decide who is capable of performing the task and then give them the authority they need to complete the job on their own. Don’t hold them back by micro-managing them.

Be crystal clear about who will be accountable for what. This will instill pride in their workmanship and will remain with the people delivering the results.

Offer guidelines. This reinforces your expectations to competent people and helps the unskilled or uncertain people learn what you expect from them.

Don’t micro-manage! Monitor the progress of the tasks you have assigned, but don’t hover over the people. You will make them nervous and resentful. It will give them the feeling that you are not confident of their abilities. If you micro-manage everything, you are not using your time effectively and you might as well do it yourself! At that point, what’s the sense in delegating?

Provide feedback on progress. Ask the person their thoughts on the progress of the task. Offer suggestions, but don’t make it concrete. You must allow for them to accept or reject your suggestion to a certain degree. Feedback, especially positive feedback, helps people improve and work harder towards accomplishing the intended goal. This is crucial!

Reward and recognize a job well done. Like feedback, positive reinforcement for a good effort is crucial. It allows people to feel they are doing a good job (assuming they are) and it motivates them to maintain the same level of competence and quality of work, if not improve upon it even further.

Principle #3 – Gratification: To maximize productivity and loyalty, create an atmosphere that is as stress free as possible. Finding a way to make the work enjoyable is conducive to people applying their talents and energy to reach the desired results.

Principle #4 – Directing: When you give people direction, challenge them to use their talents, and give them the independence to achieve their goal, you have helped them to fulfill their personal potential and that of the team. The team should create its mission statement itself. This gives them the pride of ownership. You can continue directing your team and use their mission statement and sense of pride as a motivator to achieve excellent results.

Principle #5 – Motivation: Directing your team is just the start. They have to be motivated! One of the best ways to motivate the team is through recognition and rewards. To most people recognition is more important than the pay associated with their successful completion of the task! It’s commonly called “A Ego Trip.” It sounds frivolous but it is important none the less. People thrive on it, some more than others, and it is a fantastic motivator!

Always praise your team in public, but correct them in private. There is no need to embarrass anyone and correcting people in public will eventually lead to embarrassing yourself. Nobody will want to be on your team, and productivity will slow down because everyone will be too afraid of being publicly ridiculed. They will take precautions and be extra careful not to make a mistake.

Praise what’s right and train what’s wrong. It’s just plain stupid to fire somebody who needs training. Instead, get them the training they need. You never know, they could be your next superstar! Praise things that are working well to reinforce confidence. Provide training where improvement is required.

When you respect your team and work with them to improve, you create an atmosphere which breeds personal motivation in people and allows them to do their best. Build professionalism within your team by encouraging them to maintain a high standard of performance. Maintain the ideal that it’s not the job you do, but how it is done that counts.

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