Growth / Team Development

How to improve team development small businesses face

Laura Dolan

Mar 26, 2020 · 6 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

team development small business

As a small business owner, one of your main priorities while establishing your business is hiring a reliable team of employees. Not only is it important to hire dependable individuals who are dedicated to your business, but you also want the assurance that they’ll get along with each other and collaborate successfully.

A team of professionals that works well together demonstrates great synergy, which is defined as a systemic principle that determines how well a team’s collective performance is measured based solely on its members’ individual contributions. A group of employees that doesn’t practice strong synergy can put their own jobs and your company at risk.

The following guidelines will help improve team development small businesses are in the process of cultivating.

Hiring the right people

If business owners want to nip negative synergy in the bud, they have to start by hiring the right people–those who can be trusted. Your business in many ways is your life, as you’ve poured your heart, soul and finances into your dream. You want to ensure whoever you bring on board shares your passion and will protect and work as hard for it as strongly as you will.

It only takes one person to throw off the entire operation. Introducing the “wrong” person to a team can have devastating effects on everyone else’s performances. The hiring process can be tricky, as anyone can say anything during an interview to make themselves sound good, which is why it’s always a good idea to call references and do a background check. Demand other pieces of proof as well such as writing samples, certifications, credentials, etc.–you can never be too thorough. The more you require, the more likely you will weed out those who aren’t qualified before you invest in what it would cost to onboard them and prevent a high turnover.

However, maintaining positive synergy also depends on good leadership and other sustaining people-management processes. As the business owner, you need to lead by example and leave no ambiguity as to what you expect from your employees once you have a strong, committed team in place.

Smells like team spirit

Sorry, had to, but I digress. Once your team members become more familiar with their daily responsibilities and learn how their interactions become more essential to their collaboration, over time, a combination of common interests, values and complementary talents will naturally build a rapport among coworkers.

Common interests help align employees’ individual efforts toward the same goal by identifying personal similarities that help each person work together, seek opportunities to leverage each other’s talents and evaluate the results of their combined efforts with respect to their common goal.

Common values help employees foster sturdy, ongoing alliances by sharing the standards of humility, honesty, trust and discipline:

  • Humility enables team members to have a clear image of themselves and address all personal growth and professional development needs in a timely fashion.
  • Honesty helps employees get to know each other more closely, develop trust, assistance, and execute team improvement initiatives.
  • Trust compels team members to monitor each other to ensure all tasks remain aligned with the common goal, strengthening loyalty and solidarity.
  • Discipline motivates coworkers to achieve a goal regardless of the circumstances with commitment, courage, resilience and determination.
  • Complementary talents help employees overcome adversity, stay focused and complete their goals more efficiently. Everyone needs assistance now and then, and teamwork is based on employees helping each other.

    Per Dr. Ichak Adizes’ famous PAEI model (Producer, Administrator, Entrepreneur and Integrator), each role can contribute to strong team development in the following ways:

  • Producer focuses on the end result and ensures the final product or service satisfies all customer or client expectations by helping other team members understand their roles and contributions.
  • Administrator reinforces how tasks are completed and ensures other team members are complying with current policies, procedures, mandates and guidelines, while maintaining sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency of each project.
  • Entrepreneur is the visionary that inspires the team by coming up with new ideas about products, services and ways to do everyday tasks. They are the masterminds behind every innovation and help organizations sustain momentum.
  • Integrator brings employees together and helps them strengthen their personal and functional connections. They create an organizational culture based on the vision and values shared by all team members.
  • Not every person will exhibit all of the above talents, but enough people on a team will comprise all four, reinforcing team synergy that will carry out an organization’s vision, values and talent that align with each other, as well as market and client needs.

    Symbiosis

    As we’re starting to notice more and more during self-isolation and social distancing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, people rely on human interactions, personally and professionally.

    Depending on the type of business you run, your employees may be in the fortunate situation in which they can work from home and still get their jobs done while practicing physical distancing.

    Also depending on the role, each employee may need to rely on another for communication about a certain project, peer editing or direction from their supervisors.

    At this rate, a certain level of interdependence becomes paramount and it’s up to the team to establish a robust communication tactic where they can update each other on the status of each individual project. We’re lucky to live in an era where video conferencing such as Zoom, Webex and Slack offer services that allow team members to touch base and never miss a beat in their productivity while working apart.

    Working from home can also be tricky, as each of your employees is on the honor system–you’re instilling a lot of trust in them that they will be diligent self-starters who will get their work done in a remote situation with very little supervision. Having confidence in a team that can still deliver in the midst of a crisis alleviates stress from the owner who can focus on more important things, like keeping the company cash flow positive in the face of serious recession.

    It’s also important for your team to relate on a human level, and to check up on each other and offer to help in any way if someone hits a roadblock or gets sick. At the end of the day, we’re all people and when we come together as coworkers and friends, our synergy becomes indestructible.

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