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Team players need to have good attitudes, skills and personal goals

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 07:00
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After reading the headline above, John C. Maxwell’s quote “Teamwork makes the dream work” might be circulating in your head – it does in mine whenever people talk about teamwork.

Most people only remember and repeat the first part of the quote. Here’s the rest of it: “…but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.”

While teamwork does make the dream work, what really makes the team work? I believe attitude, skill set and personal goals all play a part in being a good team player. You must have the right people in the right place, with the needed skill set and the right desire. A thorough review of each potential teammate is required to set a good foundation for sustainability.

To build a successful team you need to know what makes a potential team player tick and how they interact. The best way to accomplish this is through personality testing.

There are multiple choices for testing. The most popular seems to be the Briggs Myers test that identifies 16 different personalities. Yes, I said 16 different personalities. That’s why I said earlier you were building a puzzle. I am positive your head will spin a little as you work to match personalities in your team’s development.

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Knowing what personalities you have and what personalities will work with each other is definitely the first step in successful team building.

Along with having the right personality, a good team member must have a skill set required to achieve the goal. Without having the skill set needed, a person is just in the way; they cannot assist the team in achieving the goal and can become an obstacle.

Matching the skill sets is another part of the puzzle you will need to work through when formulating your team.

You might find through personality testing that your estimator does not deal with customers well but is very organized and detail oriented. Moving that person from a customer service position to a production manager function might suit the team and improve your overall team performance.

Now that you have the personalities and the skill sets sorted out it’s time to involve the individuals you need to form your team. Bring them together, explain your goals and solicit their ideas on how to achieve your objective.

Having their buy-in and commitment is your first step toward completing your puzzle and developing your team. Knowing they are an integral part of your success will make them feel involved and more dedicated.

Once you have your team assembled, it is time to get to work to achieve your goal. Give the team room to do the tasks required to complete the objective. Rely on their commitment to drive them. As they continue to gel, an informal leader will rise to positively influence the team. Think of the football quarterback, or basketball team captain – they generally do not have the power or authority of the coach, but the team respects them and follows their instructions and guidance.

We have always been told that there is no “I” in team but I believe individual effort, the “I,” plays a big part in a team’s success. Sustainability will be achievable when an individual combines his or her personal goals with your team goals. When an individual team member grows, the inherent competition of people will drive the other committed team members to improve as well.

As long as the “I” is handled correctly, without an ego attached, the team will prosper through individual growth. It is invaluable when one team member can add value to another team member through encouragement, friendly competition and coaching.

Remember, team members want to feel empowered not employed. Once they feel like they are only doing a job the team will begin to unravel. Just as one type of informal leader can make the team thrive, another can bring it down. So it’s important to communicate with the entire team to remind them of their value.

Give them what I like to call “an early win”  -- an easy goal to achieve that will require the entire team’s input. Once they have a win under their belt, they will reach for the next one to systematically achieve your objective.

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