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How do you build a winning team? Surely if you knew the answer to that you’d be very rich indeed? Well, the formula required to build a winning team is not so elusive as the recipe for Coca-Cola; it is achievable, but it’s not an overnight fix, it takes hard work.
Here are 8 defining characteristics required if you want to build a winning team:
1. A Shared Vision. For a team to win, they must first understand what winning looks like and what is required to achieve it. Sharing the vision means ensuring the team have absolute clarity over their individual and team goals and direction and how these align with the goals and direction of the wider organisation.
2. Empowered People. Winning teams are not only crystal clear on their goals and direction, but crucially they have the freedom to act to achieve those goals. Dictating every step of the journey only serves to disengage a team, whereas giving a team the power to make decisions and the confidence to take risks heightens motivation, engagement and accountability.
3. Trust. Empowering your people shows your team that you trust them, but trust flows both ways. Winning teams trust their leader; they understand that any issues they raise will be addressed, that commitments will be followed through on and that the leader shares their values.
4. Accountability and Recognition. This goes hand in hand with trust. A winning team hold themselves and each other to account. Rather than a culture of blame, accountability is about taking responsibility for your actions and their consequences, whether they be good or bad. It’s also about rewarding your team for their efforts, as well as their achievements.
5. A Leader who Cares. When an individual feels that all they are is a cog in the machine, they are unlikely to be engaged in the process. A winning team’s leader recognises their team as individuals, with families, friends and lives outside of work. They show concern and interest and they support their team.
6. A Leader who ‘Models’ the Way. A winning team has a winning leader, who exhibits all of the behaviours required of every member of that team. That is not to say they’re perfect, they take risks and sometimes make mistakes, but they hold them selves to account when this happens. A winning team’s leader inspires their team by leading through example.
7. Highly Engaged. The level of engagement experienced by any individual is determined by a number of factors, several of which are outlined in the points noted above. Engagement is fuelled by the desire to participate, to win, to be part of the team and by the level of enjoyment an individual experiences. Desire and enjoyment are personal wants, whether that be the desire for career advancement, for a financial bonus or the enjoyment of the ‘good feeling’ that accompanies success. Winning teams report high levels of engagement because they enjoy the journey; they are empowered, they have trust and accountability and because their personal goals are acknowledged and addressed.
8. They are the Team that Everyone wants to Join and No-one wants to Leave. Winning teams are up there on a pedestal. Other teams look up to them and want to be part of their gang; to emulate both their success and their sense of enjoyment. Those who are in the team know what it means to be on a winning team and (career advancement aside), they want to stay.
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