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Chemistry and coherence in a team require a very deliberate effort. Left to their devices, most people would keep to themselves and avoid all manner of interactions. Every team has its dynamics. There is also the difference in age, perception, gender, values and ambition which in turn breeds conflicts. That’s why as a leader of a team it is your responsibility to nurture a sense of oneness. There are a number of ways of doing this.
I. Create A Forum For Open Dialogue: A culture that rewards honest conversations foster unity. Everyone should feel heard and understood. This is especially critical for the goals and tasks ahead of the team. It’s important that everyone knows what is expected of them so that others can know when to call upon them. There should be constant, open, honest and balanced dialogue on all issues affecting the team. Let people air their views feelings and differences in a respectful manner.
II. Foster Access to External Knowledge: No single team has all the answers and skills needed to perform all the tasks. Time and again you’ll need to call upon additional skills from outside to carry out specific tasks. You need to agree on the ground rules on how the team will handle questions and issues that are outside the scope of the members. By acknowledging that the team doesn’t have all the others, the members will feel free to ask for help when they feel inadequate or overwhelmed.
III. Champion The Benefits Of Collaboration: The competitive nature of most modern day workplaces makes cooperation almost impossible. That’s why as the leader you have to keep encouraging the team to work as a single unit. You have to keep emphasizing the benefits of collaboration. Find ways of ensuring that the team is working as a single unit and not a collection of cliques. Working in cliques foster unhealthy competition, rivalry, mistrust and lots of unnecessary conflicts.
IV. Actively Engage Virtual Team Members: It’s often easy to handle a team when everyone works from the same office. However, most modern day projects are sometimes performed by persons spread out across the world. In such instances, you have to be very deliberate about engaging the virtual members of the group. You have to keep constant communication, encouragement, connection, and friendships. Let them know that they are as much a part of the team as the local members who meet in the office every day.
V. Organize Effective Meeting: You need to plan on how often you’ll meet and the basis for those meetings. There has to be proper reporting and presentation mechanism by members. Ensure everyone gets to speak up and contribute in the meetings. Let the meetings be a time of debriefing and plan on the next move. Highlighting on progress enables each one of the team to keep tabs on the developments and to feel the sense of urgency needed towards completing the tasks or project.