The Importance of Having a Strong Team for Startups and Small Businesses

by Townes Haas
3/6/2014 12:44:26 PM


How startups and small businesses can create strong teams
Only a robust team can help your company survive the ups and downs of building and maintaining a successful organization. But, building a successful team isn’t as simple as throwing a few people together and hoping for the best. Strong teams are important in any organization, but they’re especially important for startups and small businesses, where every employee’s contribution is keenly felt.

Plus, many small businesses have both on-site and remote workers, where maintaining a functioning team is even more difficult. Working virtually has it’s own unique challenges, but the fundamentals of team building remain the same, and are perhaps even more important to acknowledge when a group is separated geographically.

What shouldn’t team members do?
Team building resources are plentiful, but Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is a good resource to learn what team members shouldn’t do. It’s a recommended read for any business-minded person, but the cliff notes version is also beneficial.

To summarize, the five dysfunctions are an absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.

The most important takeaway is that there are certain destructive actions that members within a team can gravitate toward. Being aware of these basic traits is one of the first steps to avoiding them.

Build your team mindfully
According to Belbin’s Team Role Theory, there are nine different roles that team members naturally assume that describe their preferred way to behave within a group. For example, if you have a team member who is a specialist in a certain area, and their assigned role on the team doesn’t reflect that specialized knowledge, conflicts could arise if that person feels undervalued or underutilized.

Skills often overlap, but paying attention to these nine team roles will allow startups and small businesses to get the most out of each team member’s strengths while managing their weaknesses.

Sowhat are the characteristics of a strong team?
To cultivate a successful team, it’s just as important to focus on what each member of the team should be doing to ensure success.

·Have similar end goals. Teams must work toward the same results. If a team is to work together successfully, team members need to know what that the desired outcome looks like.
·Open communication. When a conflict arises, does everyone feel comfortable addressing it in a cooperative manner?
·Trust. Team members need to trust in each other’s abilities, but must also earn that trust by demonstrating reliability and competency.
·Flexibility. Teams cope with ever-changing conditions, and effective members roll with the punches.
·Respect and recognition. Working with others can be frustrating and challenging, but there should always be undertones of respect, and recognizing the value that other team members bring to a project fosters goodwill.
·Having fun. Working with a group of talented, like-minded professionals should be fun! When everyone is collaborating to reach the same result and working in unison, enjoying the process comes naturally.

Working together, in person and virtually, is more important than ever
Being able to work together productively may be one of the most important traits in today’s economy. Whether team members are collaborating in person or online, it’s vital that each member of the team know the common goal that they’re working to achieve, and that their role within the group aligns with their strengths and weaknesses.

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