Career Masterclass: Building a team

Managing a team of lone wolves? Here's how to form a pack.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Define your direction. Fujifilm's employees were united by a simple aim: 'Kill Kodak'. Develop a mission statement with your team as early as possible. Give people the freedom to work in their own way but set one rule: every action taken, decision made or goal set is done with the mission in mind.

Use stakeholders. Get the leaders who could help your team to act as mentors. Test ideas on them; ask them to coach you on barriers to your plans; involve them as leaders for meetings so they're seen as supporters. If they want you to flourish, you will.

Promote collaboration. Foster a culture of idea pooling and joint decision-making. Leading a team of lone wolves? Ask them to write down their individual concerns and goals, then help them spot common ground and ways to help one another.

Encourage accountability. In high functioning teams, members know their areas of responsibility and take ownership of problems, so there's no buck-passing, overlaps or excuses.

Thrash it out. Healthy conflict can unlock creativity, increase understanding and help teams reach better solutions. Guide yours through a constructive discussion. Let dictators vent, then make them listen; help compromisers make definitive decisions.

Find their strengths. Is your designer a secret Excel whizz? Can your PA write winning copy? Encourage them to share their skills. A new challenge will boost engagement, and you'll have a team that's plugging its own skills gaps.

Bond better. Forking out for after-work drinks and awaydays? Don't. Organisational behaviour specialist Roderick Kramer argues that delivering on professional promises builds team trust more quickly than relating to one another personally.

Be patient. Building a true team takes time. Help the process by staying constant as a leader. They'll fall into line much more quickly and soon become a flawless machine.

- The Mind Gym: Relationships is published by Little, Brown at £12.99 -

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