Leaders’ Responsibilities for Successful Team Building

19 Sept 2013 – Robert C Jackson – Featured


A leader is not just a manager, but much more than that. Building great companies takes a great understanding of the so called ‘art of people’, as no business succeeds without being promoted, cultivated and supported by a team that works like a well-oiled mechanism. It is the leader’s role to understand his or her team, make it work, and ultimately, create results for the company. This ‘art of people’ is also known as team building.


Discover the role of each person in your team

Your first responsibility, as a leader, is to discover the role of each person in your team. This is often overlooked, as managers believe that it is the sole responsibility of the Human Resources department to put each employee in the best suited position. For corporate team building, this way of thinking can easily turn into a full scale disaster. If people are kept on positions they cannot handle well, they can bring down the cohesion and success of any team.

Philanthropic team building events can be very useful for observing your employees and understanding where they excel best. While some may have better organizing skills, others may be better at execution, not minding a bit of extra work. It is your role, as the leader, to understand each employee’s role and place everybody where it suits them best.


Informal feedback as a must for successful team building

Your team needs to know that they are on track with the current project, as it gives them a sense of progress and accomplishment. However, too many leaders fall in the trap of offering only formal feedback, which is soon considered boring and stiff by the employees involved in the project. Do not fear getting out your comfort zone and shake things up a bit, by offering your team the best incentive for working better and harder: knowing where they stand and how much they have accomplished so far.

Treat team building as a necessary part of corporate success. Without it, results will be late to appear, and your team will never act like a real team.


Offer accolades even when someone is just ‘doing their job’

This is very important when building a team. Members of the team need to know that they are valued for their contribution. After a philanthropic team building event, for instance, let the ones that brought their contribution to the event success know that you appreciate their effort. This will not only give them great satisfaction, but it will motivate them to do the same or even more next time.

As part of our corporate culture, people need to have a sense of personal accomplishment. By offering them accolades when deserved, you cultivate their loyalty towards the company.


Live success together with your team

A leader is not just a leader, but also a member of the team. Team building is about showing your team that you are not above them, but part of them. There is no better way to demonstrate that than by celebrating success together.

The State of Teams: A CCL Research Report

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At some point in your career, you’ve probably worked on a team. Group presentation? Check. Board or committee member? Check. But are teams alive and well in today’s organizations?

According to a recent Center for Creative Leadership survey, the answer is yes. More than one hundred CCL program alumni completed the survey, which was designed to better understand the challenges, needs, and functioning of teams today.

The findings were recently published by CCL’s Andre Martin and Vidula Bal in “The State of Teams: A Center for Creative Leadership Research Report.” You may be surprised at some of their findings:

Ninety-one percent of respondents agreed that “teams are central to organizational success.” Only 11 percent believed that “teams are on the decline.”

However, respondents indicated that most teams don’t function at their optimal level. Particular areas of concern include the coordination of activities, revolving team memberships and ineffective conflict resolution.

Eighty-seven percent said that teams are successful when they can collaborate with other teams.

Respondents agreed that team leaders have their work cut out for them. Leaders are expected to be multi-talented, organized, courageous, flexible, and able to communicate effectively. Often there are teams formed within teams, so coordination proves difficult. Team leaders have to work across boundaries, collaborating with people who often have competing goals.

Those surveyed cited three key challenges that team leaders face:

First, more than 90 percent of respondents serve on more than one team at a time. This suggests that team leaders may have members who cannot fully commit to a task.
Second, over 60 percent reported that team members are geographically dispersed. Leaders may struggle to effectively coordinate and communicate with increasingly virtual teams.
And the third challenge facing team leaders: Only 50% of respondents said they had sponsors in place to guide team success. This is a potential challenge for team leaders because they may have to navigate their organization all by themselves, without support from above.

In terms of development, the survey respondents showed most interest in opportunities that focus on team coaching, team membership and collaboration across teams. So, according to Andre Martin, even though teams are “not a cure-all for the challenges of today’s organizations, they will continue to be essential to organizational success.”