Sustaining a Team
In most endeavors, having a solid team is the back bone for success. We talk about that all the time here at Trailblazers.
Building a team is an important and difficult task, but it's crucial. It requires patience, selectivity, and a lot of trust.
Possibly harder than building a team is sustaining it. It requires encouragement, constant evaluation, consistency, and challenge.
Encouragement is vital to the health of a team. Often as leaders, when we see things needing improvement, we are very good at addressing it and providing ways for executing the improvement. We aren't always as good at recognizing the good and commending it.
Even if a leader sees the good, it's often overlooked as a team gets ready for the next play. While a "next play" mentality is generally a good thing, taking time to celebrate wins is important for the morale of a team.
If a team member does something amazing, if an event is pulled off effectively, or if a new level of excellence is reached, stop for a minute and celebrate it. Sometimes people don't even realize they're good at something unless someone tells them.
As leaders, we have to get better at commending excellence because it encourages the continuance of it. You don't have to dwell on it, but celebrate it before you move on to the next thing. You might be surprised to see more excellence rising in the future.
Constant evaluation is an absolute requirement for a healthy and thriving team. Naturally, as a team grows, it might take on new goals, it's objectives might change, and it might even take on more territory, adding responsibility. Healthy teams and organizations are constantly adapting to the new situation.
Because of this, evaluating what your team is doing, how it's meeting goals, what it's rate of production or success is, and managing individual needs is crucial. Without it, things and people can slip through the cracks and it could lead to the ill health or even death of the group.
Remember, if things are constantly changing, your organization probably should be too.
And while adaptation is important, consistency is key. Adaptability does NOT negate consistency. What's your team's work ethic like? Whatever the goals, are they being met? Are the results consistently above average?
These are important questions to ask. Intentions are almost always set well, but without consistency, they mean next to nothing. Only with dedication to consistency can they be followed through.
Additionally, consistency is a good marker of the value of team members. Maybe you took on a person who had a lot of potential, but with time they don't produce results like they said they would. That's a lack of consistency and that's detrimental to sustaining the team.
Challenge is also vital to a healthy, and especially growing, team. Most people end up feeling comfortable in their position. Maybe it's engaging for a while, but once they reach a routine, they check out a little and go through the motions.
Often, if people aren't feeling challenged, their quality of work actually declines. It's important to make sure you're constantly providing new challenges to elevate and engage your team.
These are only small pieces of what it takes to sustain a team, but they are important pieces.
Think this week. Am I, as a leader, encouraging, evaluating, and challenging my team, and am I checking consistency? If not, how can I do this?
As a team member, ask yourself, are my leaders doing this? If not, how do I approach them about your issues.
Don't stop once your team is built, continue to maintain and sustain it.