Are you trying to develop a team that works together like a well-oiled machine? Maybe your current team is the furthest thing from adaptable, getting tripped up by the slightest change or challenge.
Since we all have our own degrees of emotional baggage, people often carry negativity and problems into the work environment. But not to worry, it is possible to overcome major obstacles if you take steps to develop an agile team.
And just to be clear, when I say "agile", I'm not strictly talking about the common team structure that uses, for instance, Scrum methodology, although this article will benefit those teams. I'm talking about building a team that can handle any problem, quickly adapting to new challenges.
With that said, here are at 10 tips for creating more adaptable and agile teams.
1. Make Everyone Feel Like Welcome Additions to the Team
Any size organization should focus on working together. The same goes for teams within those organizations. If even a single team member feels like an outsider, the team dynamic will falter, production will suffer, and the team's efficiency will take a hit. No one enjoys feeling like they don't belong so always be friendly, kind, and welcoming to all team members.
The easiest way to ensure your team acts like a well-oiled machine is to encourage appropriate socialization outside of the work environment. If many of your teammates are working remotely, set up situations where everyone can interact on social media or video chat. This will bring co-workers closer together, eliminate negative feelings if someone feels like an outsider, and will ultimately make your team much stronger because everyone will be familiar with each other. And while you can't guarantee team members will trust and like one another, this approach should lead to your team working better together.
2. Embrace Individual Uniqueness
When developing an agile team, a diverse group of individuals with their own opinions, experiences, knowledge, and unique viewpoints is preferred. Remember to celebrate these differences and not the other way around. Your company can draw on the unique characteristics of each team member to overcome difficult challenges that would be impossible to tackle in a homogeneous environment, as opposed to a group made up of people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets.
3. Provide a Comfortable Work Environment
Your team will work faster, smarter, and harder if their work environment is comfortable. Not only should it be physically comfortable — cool, quiet, etc. — but each member of the team should feel comfortable working with one another. Keep ridicule and public reprimands to an absolute minimum and perform trust exercises to ensure safety and unity.
4. Put Time Tracking in Place
It’s tough working together as a team if you refuse to track your progress on a daily basis. Clockspot is an effective time-tracking tool that is perfect for teams looking to become more agile. It can track workflow, progress, and discover strengths and weaknesses. This will certainly help improve production.
5. Examine Team Goals and Productivity on a Regular Basis
As a team, it’s important for members to take a look at their individual progress, as well as their overall group progress. By examining each aspect, the team and each individual will be able to improve cohesiveness.
A word of caution: make sure your team's goals are objective and verifiable. Having subjective or unclear goals promotes apathy and uncertainty — the opposite of what you want.
6. Boost Creativity and Innovation through Diversity
As mentioned above, diverse groups bring diverse opinions. By gaining knowledge from the opinions and mental faculties of such a diverse group, your team has a major advantage. They can use the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of each individual team member to solve problems and put their valuable insights to work to make each project better for everyone involved.
This is a huge benefit for your organization and allows everyone to tap into different experiences and viewpoints to create a more agile team.
7. Make Better Decisions Working Together As a Team
When you work with a team that supports each other and stays committed to one another’s success, the group will make much better decisions on the whole. Instill a sense of ownership for team members. If a person is only looking out for themselves (as opposed to the company), they will make decisions that only benefit themselves. Some level of self-interest is unavoidable, but watch out for pure selfishness. It's damaging to the team and damaging to the organization as a whole.
8. Leaders Should Always Participate
If you intend to create an effective, quick, and agile team, leadership should step up, work hard, and always go the extra mile. That old adage is applicable here: Lead by example. By taking this approach, the team will see leaders are willing to get their hands dirty and work hard to match the outstanding productivity of their reps.
9. Make Sure the Team Understands the Goals of the Company
By understanding the goals of the company, everyone will know exactly what you’re all working to achieve. Make company goals a part of the overall team culture and have the entire staff make it a part of their psyche. This will help improve productivity tremendously. Again, the focus is ownership.
10. Encourage Open Communication within the Team
This should go without saying, but everyone should feel comfortable communicating openly and honestly with one another. Your team will suffer if they don’t feel comfortable communicating with one another. It will create resentment and a feeling that their opinions don't matter. Make open communication a major priority.
Begin using these 10 tips immediately to ensure you are building an adaptable and agile team. By using these tips to your advantage, your team will thrive and before long you’ll see everyone accomplishing amazing things. In the end, you’ll realize your efforts paid off and you’ll be grateful for the opportunity to develop an agile team that can truly do some amazing things.
It may seem like a difficult task at first, but once everyone gets on the same page, gets to know each other and at least respect one another, it becomes obvious that the effort put forth by everyone was totally worth it.
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