“I’m not sure what’s wrong with the team. No one seems to pay heed to working together. It seems like we’re playing a game of soccer with a team full of chess players. They are all too focussed on their move, without thinking about what’s good for the team. I don’t know what to do Vartika.” This is what the message read as I checked my cellphone.
It was a message from D, one of my ex-colleagues who is now product manager at one of the IT startups in town.
“When I ask for the reasons why things are not working out, everyone is just pointing fingers at each other. The team has failed to deliver 3 out of the 5 projects assigned to us in the past couple of months. If things continued to go like this, I might lose my job. Please help!!!”
Before I could type a reply, an array of more whatsapp messages followed in which D had poured her heart out how it was getting from bad to worse in her team.
‘Want to end your project management troubles. Start using ProofHub.’
Being a manager here at ProofHub has helped me learn a lot about building team players. I’m proud to have a team in which everyone is always there for each together. We work together, and to achieve this I follow some basic tips, which I shared with D, which I’m also going to share here with you.
Was she able to get her team together? That you will find at the end of this post.
First, let me share the advice I shared with her -
Being the leader of the herd, you need to let everyone know that you are in it to win it. Thinking about personal progress and individual progress is great, but how can one achieve that when the team is not performing well? After all, at the end of the day you are only as good as the team’s performance.
You need to win the team’s trust and let them know that you are here to take care of their personal growth. But, for that they need to first focus on growing together as a team. Without each other’s support, no matter how good one person might be, his or her skills will be of no use.
Working in a team is all about collective efforts. But sometimes people who are part of the team don’t realize that. As a leader it becomes your responsibility to fill in that gap in their thinking. The best way to do it — assign collective tasks, set collective targets.
Once they come to the point of realization that the other person’s performance will impact their results and vice versa, they will automatically get a taste of teamwork. That’s the surest way of getting everyone to become a team player and get them to think about teamwork rather than playing individually.
Targets — when you have them in mind, you know what steps you need to take to be there. The same formula can be applied when building a team. You must set clear expectations within the team first preference is to get the project delivered on time, and successfully. Everything else comes second.
Let them know that Individual performances will matter, but only if it adds to the entire team’s effort. Like they say, a team is only as good as it’s weakest link — so everyone must come to peace with the fact that they have to take everyone together. Each individual is responsible for his or her performance, but at the same time they must align their performance in positive light to what benefits the team.
Set high expectations — but don’t ask people to do things you would not do yourself. Be the first person to contribute in discussions. Roll your sleeves up whenever a member in the team needs help. Always be proactive to share your ideas and discuss stuff with people.
Keep your doors open for people to come in and pour ideas. Be an active listener and a patient communicator. These two virtues will not only make you a leader that the team members will trust, but also inspire them to become better team players.
But most important of all — inspire your team to have fun! Engage them in team building activities to break the ice and let them become more aware about each other. Remember, a team that laughs together sticks together. So, don’t forget to have the daily dose of laughter with the team.
Celebrate achievements, even the smaller ones, to make sure that everyone is having fun!
Remember these words by Vala Afshar — ‘We are not a team because we work together, we are a team because we respect, trust and care for each other.’
And, yes as far as the story of D goes, she was able to pull the right strings at the right time following this advice. It’s been a couple of years now. Her team has grown, and we share regular updates on what we both can learn from each other and from her experience of handling a team after following the tips I shared with her.
Want to become a leader who gets things done? Stop relying on emails and start using ProofHub.
Originally published at LinkedIn.
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Vartika Kashyap runs the marketing team at ProofHub — a project management software for teams of all sizes. She is a seasoned marketing professional who is an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. She’s been featured among LinkedIn’s Top Voices for the year 2016. Connect with Vartika on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter.
Also follow our company page @ProofHub to get the recent updates about our tool, published articles, motivational quotes & presentations.
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