How to Build Powerful and Productive Work Teams

By Alex Perdikis

Notice how many job postings include a term that says something like “Ability to work in a team environment”?

That’s kind of a confusing job requirement because an employee may very well work productively on one team and not as productively on another.

It’s the job of the manager to hire people with the right hard and soft skills and put the team together.

How does a business owner or manager build power teams that pull together? Follow these tips.

A Great Team Begins with a Great Leader

What is a great leader? Highly successful leaders have honed the art of establishing standards, making difficult decisions and are flexible to the extreme, They’re people who course correct when something isn’t working and charge ahead with new ideas.

Those kinds of qualities filter down into the teams you build. Building a team that works requires a logical, well thought out process and gut instinct. It’s often a learned process as well. You learn what works and what doesn’t.

Even if you haven’t mastered all of the high-quality leadership skills you need yet, act like a leader as you begin pulling a team together. Figure out who you are, evaluate your leadership qualities and improve where required.

What Are You Looking For?

Theoretically, the team you’re building will be working toward a common goal. To get there, the team will have to encompass a variety of different skills and areas of expertise.

Define each area and begin looking for staff or new hires to fill each requirement. In some cases, hard skills may not actually be a requirement, but soft skills, such as analytical thinking, creativity and time management may be just as important.

Get to Know Them

It’s likely the team will work together for a very long time—or that’s your goal, anyway.

“As leader of the team, it’s your job to get to know and
establish relationships with each team member.”
—Alex Perdikis

Learn about their strengths, personalities and most effective work environments. For example, you may have both extroverts, who are most productive in a group, and introverts, who are most productive when they have a quiet place to work. Know your team well enough to provide them with the most creative and productive working environment.

Define Responsibilities

Now that your know the team members, define the role of each. Some team members may end up with more responsibility than others and that’s OK. Much of the power of working teams comes from members who may not have the hard skills other team members have, but have the ability to enthuse and build cohesiveness among members.

Empower Team Members

Give team members the authority to make decisions within their level of responsibility. Give them a voice in the decision-making process. Make sure team members have the ability to contribute not only to the team’s mission, but the entire organization as well.

Team building is an ongoing process. As leader, you’ll not only have to build camaraderie between members, but keep a watchful eye on the group’s efficiency. You’ll have to be ready to step in and make adjustments to keep the team running smoothly. Keep in mind that an effective team is a powerful tool toward business success.

Alex Perdikis, Koons of Silver Spring general manager and owner, lives in Chevy Chase with his wife and daughters.