One thing we know for sure is that not every group functions as a team. Management often builds individual relationships, but is less effective in fostering collaborative efforts. A powerful team can work as a unit, moving toward a common goal, and going beyond occasional cooperation to act as a collective. When you focus on mission-critical thinking, work feels more like a meaningful undertaking than a checklist of tasks. Take these steps to turn your group into a team.
Mindset Makes the Difference
What’s the difference between a group and a team? If several individuals work in the same space to complete the same project, isn’t that teamwork? The difference is mindset. If each individual views what they are working on as separate from what others are doing, they are not part of a team. The natural inclination is to think, “I have to complete these things, then I’m done for the day.”
Team members see their tasks as a contribution to the whole. They see their work not just as a list of tasks, but as a part of something greater.
The first step in creating a team isn’t declaring that a group of people should work together. It involves evaluating behavior and attitudes honestly and transparently with a focus on moving toward the goal.
Develop a Team Mindset
You can’t force a group of individuals to become a team. When individuals thrive by contributing to the group, teams develop. Start building teams by sharing personal goals and identifying individual strengths. Encourage team members to answer the following questions:
- What are your greatest strengths and talents?
- How do you like your accomplishments to be recognized?
- What are your goals for growth?
- What kind of team would you like to work with?
“Make respect the foundation for communication. Create fertile soil for creativity by holding each other in high regard.”
Identify the Mission
Great teams are driven to complete a mission. When helping each other reach a goal becomes a task that is bigger than an individual, it doesn’t feel like completing items on a checklist, it feels like achieving something great. Start each project by identifying the overall goal and breaking it down into steps. Develop processes and guidelines for teamwork, a timeline for completion and a framework for communication along the way.
Assign Tasks Based on Passion
Use the information gathered in your first team meeting to assign responsibilities. Each team member brings something different to the group. Personality types, cultural diversity, age difference and educational history lead to unique strengths. Find out what each team member is passionate about, and encourage them to express that passion through daily tasks. Infuse passion into each interaction by using strong words and encouraging the rest of the group to do the same.
A Harvard Business Review publication reports that how we communicate is the most reliable indicator of team success, more important than intelligence, skill, and personality combined. Prioritize developing a mission-oriented mindset through all communication channels to turn your group into a team.