Expert Author Susan Leigh
A team often starts as a group of individual people assembled to achieve a common agenda. They may already have some knowledge of each other but the main purpose is to work towards a specific goal. Teams may be tasked with the pulling together of different elements of a project, or they are formed to achieve targets, like sales, introductions and leads. Often these goals have a degree of urgency involved.
Communication is an important factor:
Training and motivation is often the first step in unifying a team. Introducing everyone to each other, becoming familiar with their skill sets, understanding the rationale behind the team and briefing everyone as to their specific roles, timetables and ultimate goals is important to do at the outset. Identifying training requirements is a serious consideration, whilst a question and answer session can help everyone get to know each other and provide an insight into each other's areas of expertise.
Some team building exercises may include residential seminars and group exercises. These are designed as a way of getting to know, like and trust each other very quickly. This is important as a means of developing a team mentality. Good communications then become more natural as people learn to respect and value each other and their respective roles and talents.
Regular and effective communications remind people of their particular roles and helps each person appreciate their individual connection and commitment to the success of their team. Good communications are an important way of keeping everyone updated with changes in the business, of reminding people of important aspects like legislation, health and safety procedures, deadlines. Organising the teams and the work so that everyone enjoys and appreciates the relevance of what they are doing is the best way to get good results.
Teams can unite people with different but complementary skills, put together for the purpose of achieving a combined goal. In a car repair shop there may be one person who deals with paint spraying, someone who does electrical work, another who does mechanical work, someone who books the jobs into the diary and costs them out. Motivation and communication is often about quality customer care and keeping overheads down. Customers need to be kept happy, jobs need to be done quickly and efficiently. The team needs to communicate well.
Or a team can combine a group of people with the same skills, working together with a common purpose, like a call centre. In these situations teams may be pitted against each other in a bid to motivate each group to perform better. There may be a competition for the fastest response times, numbers of calls answered, number of appointments made. Some form of monitoring the statistics needs to be established to spur each group on to better efforts. These can be communicated through wall charts, screens, email. And a reward can provide the ultimate motivation.
Brainstorming sessions are an effective way of utilising ideas and resources. They give everyone in the team the opportunity to share their thoughts and different ways of working with each other in group discussion. This can often inspire new ways of working and trigger creativity.
By communicating well within a team people grow and become more confident in their ability to contribute. A crucial part of working in a team is to feel valued and relevant. When people enjoy what they do, enjoy the team dynamic and feel that they are achieving something positive they will continue to support the team and its goals. Communication is a key part of motivation in these situations.
Expert Author Susan Leigh
Some managers approach delegation with a sense of unease. They are apprehensive about giving their power to someone else; after all that person may do the task better or with more flair and imagination. Or they are concerned at being seen to be delegating because they are ineffectual and not coping. In truth, delegation enables a manager to pass on some of the daily business pressure and free themselves to do other, more significant tasks. It is also the way to grow a business structure that can ultimately be sold as a viable concern, if so desired.
- Trust is an important part of delegating. Allowing others the opportunity to develop and become stronger is an important part of building a successful business. No business can thrive if one or two people commandeer all the key roles. Building a confident, viable infrastructure means encouraging and developing rising new talent. Allowing them to grow and feel an important part of the business means trusting them and what they have to offer. Trust includes providing them with the support to ask questions and improve their confidence in areas where they feel unsure.
- Offer a training opportunity. Providing people with training and education allows them the opportunity to develop their talents and become more proficient. Useful, relevant training generates enthusiasm to learn new skills and want to undertake the tasks that foster those talents. Apprenticeships and training schemes are a useful way of delegating tasks and helping others to learn important processes.
- Link delegation with staff appraisals. Appraisals are an excellent way of identifying the interests of talented, aspirational employees. By allowing a staff member to discuss where they see their career heading provides an opportunity to delegate work that will enable them to improve their abilities in that specific direction. An ongoing appraisal scheme allows staff to see where their future lies and tailor what they are doing to accommodate those goals. Regular meetings can monitor that progression.
- Provide mentoring. This is a skillful way of teaching your areas of excellence, allowing others to learn, whilst at the same time undertaking some of the tasks that you would usually do. Delegation as part of career advancement is an important way to teach skills in a practical, hands on way. Mentoring provides education, coaching and encouragement whilst offering a role model to support through any challenges.
- Share tasks together. In either a work or home environment sharing tasks is a positive way to delegate. Doing tasks together encourages others to feel part of a team rather than singled out and instructed what to do. It is a more inclusive way of encouraging involvement.
- Work as a team. Setting in place a team can unite people with complementary skills. They can share, motivate and encourage each other to achieve better results. Teams are a good way of building relationships, connections and are a positive way of delegating a variety of tasks.
- Encourage feedback. This allows others to become more confident in what they have to offer, become more enthusiastic about their role and enjoy the opportunities that delegation provides them. Often other people can see things from a different perspective. Encouraging those thought processes makes delegation a valuable, two-way process.
Delegating work benefits everyone involved. Management are able to spread the workload whilst supporting and encouraging up and coming members of staff. Keen staff feel valued and are given the opportunity to enhance their skills and learn more about a wider variety of roles. Handled in a positive way, delegation can be an important way of benefitting the business.