Habits To Build A Winning Team

Anyone charged with leading a team of people, whether you are a supervisor or the CEO, wants their team to be a winning team. After all, your success is built on the success of your team.

This is the first of a series of planned articles on habits to build a winning team. We hope all supervisors, managers and leaders find them useful.

If your aim is to build a winning team (and this really needs to be the aim of everyone who supervises or manages people) then the first thing you need to do is to clearly define for yourself: “what does a winning team look like to me?”

Once this is clear, then you can identify how close or far your team is to this ideal. One way to do this is to rank your team against your definition of “winning” on a scale of 1 to 10.

The next thing you need to do is to identify actions that you, and your team, can take to move that little bit closer to the perfect ten score. It is important to recognise that this process is a journey, so you will need to develop a habit that will ensure you and the team continue to progress one step at a time towards the ideal.

For this reason, we suggest that at least four times a year (that’s once a quarter) you hold a team meeting specifically to identify continuous improvement ideas.

You will need somewhere away from the routine work to do this – such as a meeting room (or better still – completely off-site). You will also need to allow sufficient time for the ideas to emerge and be discussed – a two hour meeting tends to work well. Any shorter and you do not have time to build on ideas in a meaningful way, any longer and the meeting tends to lose its focus.

To ensure these meetings are productive, we also suggest you follow these five guidelines:

1. Do focus on the areas that your team can influence and change. Otherwise the meeting is simply a talking shop and goes nowhere

2. Do focus on the future rather than on the past. It is tempting for people to spend too long talking about what has happened rather than what could happen.

3. Do ensure that there are no distractions. For example, do not allow people to bring laptops or mobile phones into the meeting. The focus needs to be on problem solving and idea generation and the presence of electronic devices in a meeting creates unnecessary distractions that prevent this.

4. Do not focus on more than two topics at a time in the meeting. Ideally focus on just one. If you try to look at too many issues then none of them will get resolved.

5. Do not dismiss ideas too quickly. It is better to capture all ideas and then to discuss them. Sometimes a great idea can be built from what at first appeared to be a “silly” idea.

The real benefit of these meetings are that they provide time to identify answers to problems that stop the team moving towards the perfect ten of being a winning team.

Some of the ideas your team generates will be blindingly obvious and others will be more innovative, some ideas you will be able to implement immediately and others may need you to provide training so they can be implemented. The important point is if you do not create the habit of making time for the team to think about the issues together, then they will never get discussed and resolved.

Spearhead provides a range of training courses for management and staff development.