How to build your team

Checklist

  1. 1 Establish the purpose of the team, and the range of knowledge and skills required; consider the value of a mix of styles and approaches.
  2. 2 Limit the size of the team - more than a dozen may be unmanageable; if necessary, create smaller sub-teams instead, with narrower objectives.
  3. 3 Assemble the team; discuss the team's purpose and use this to agree individual team members' roles and the contribution each will make.
  4. 4 Clarify how the team will operate: for example, how you will tackle projects, run meetings and make decisions.
  5. 5 Encourage a culture of honest and open communication, in which team members express their views freely and listen to what others say.
  6. 6 Agree how problems will be resolved; encourage team members to try to resolve disagreements between themselves before involving you.
  7. 7 Organise the team's activities: agree measurable, realistic objectives and deadlines, and ensure the team has the necessary resources.
  8. 8 Regularly review progress and performance in short team meetings; update objectives and identify any changing resource requirements.
  9. 9 Motivate the team: be enthusiastic; praise and publicise achievements; encourage everyone to contribute; lead by example.
  10. 10 Foster team spirit: recognise everyone's value to the team, avoid favouritism, and encourage collaboration; consider team social events.
  11. 11 Offer training, support and an open door for individuals with problems.
  12. 12 Take responsibility: be prepared to tackle problems and to make unpopular decisions.
  13. 13 Avoid becoming isolated; encourage collaboration, communication and socialising with members of other teams.
  14. 14 Recognise when the team has served its purpose; plan a formal ending to maintain motivation, then disband the team when its work is done.

Cardinal rules

Do:

  • get the right people for the job
  • clarify the ground rules
  • encourage open communication
  • involve all the team members
  • agree individual and team objectives
  • motivate and support team members

Don't:

  • ignore problems and personal friction
  • abdicate responsibility
  • become isolated