Members of a successful team trust each other and work together toward a common goal. A collaborative, organized and creative environment builds trust and cohesion. To achieve such a setting, team leaders and project managers must nurture the individual skills and characteristics of the team members and offer guidance, not dictatorial rule. Team leaders must balance structure with flexibility and authority with trust. When issues arise that interrupt the trust and cohesion within a team, the project manager has a duty to step in and problem solve.
Work together to develop a clear team vision that specific goals support. Set up a team meeting and ask for every team member to contribute his ideas. Write down what's said and use the ideas to formulate an overall team mission statement. Print out the mission statement and give all the team members a copy to remind them throughout the project of the vision to which they are contributing.
Develop a clear, step-by-step plan to achieve each goal and fulfill the team vision. Set deadlines to encourage the group to work efficiently. Though it is important to be flexible and open to possible changes in the schedule, a team without a plan functions aimlessly.
Delegate tasks but do not micromanage. For team members to feel motivated, they must have the freedom to work with a certain level of autonomy. Micromanaging creates an atmosphere of distrust and stifles creativity. Assign team members tasks for which they are most qualified, but encourage them to work together, share their expertise and learn new skills as they go.
Motivate the team members by informing them of the team's progress and inspiring them with reminders of the team vision. Reward the team throughout the project for its hard work to develop trust and strengthen the spirit of collaboration further. For example, treat the team to a day off or an office party to show your appreciation.
Resolve issues as they arise, rather than letting them simmer and eventually boil over. Encourage team members to come to you with problems by maintaining a calm, non-judgmental attitude. Remain understanding when problems emerge and recognize that most projects face a few bumps along the way to completion. Solve reoccurring issues by adjusting the plan so that team members perform the tasks for which they are most qualified.
Margaret Kay has worked as a freelance writer since 2009. She has worked as a contributor to "The Gonzaga Bulletin." Kay has recently completed her Master of Theology in media ethics at the University of Edinburgh.