Home Column Andi Gray: How to build a great team

Andi Gray: How to build a great team


We are a group of headstrong people. Don’t get me wrong, we’re a great team, with great ideas. The question is just how to mesh with each other.

andi gray
Andi Gray

Thoughts of the Day: First come strong leaders, then come strong teams. Focusing on common goals can help people see beyond individual differences. Divide responsibilities, authority and accountabilities. Hold regular meetings to insure communication.

People who are passionate, committed, determined and willing to lead can take your company forward, but not as loners. Encourage people to make decisions, but not in a vacuum. Teach people to share information as they learn to listen with respect and take into account the value of different viewpoints. 

Establish “topline” goals — the points on the horizon toward which everyone is headed. Ask for commitment to achieving those goals. Encourage debate and periodically re-evaluate to make sure you’re on the right path. Don’t be afraid to change course if things are not working out as expected. 

Make it clear what you expect to happen, then get out of the way. Act like an orchestra director. Be sure that all team members understand what they are required to produce in order for the team to be effective. Develop a list of action steps, assign tasks and hold people accountable for getting those tasks done on time and within budget. 

Create a team of winners by recognizing successes and talking with individuals and groups about their contributions to those successes. No matter the difference in approaches, align everyone around what’s going right, use that to build confidence so that the rest of the challenges can be met and overcome.

Encourage team members to get to know each other. Ask individuals to walk in each other’s shoes so there’s a better understanding of what each team member is required to step up and deliver on. Ask everyone to check their egos at the door as they get to know what each other needs in order to succeed. 

Figure out what success means for each team member. Get to know what team members are strongest and weakest at doing. Ask people to pair up, strengthening weak areas by sharing expertise and practicing to build additional skills. Link the company’s goals to what’s in it for each member of the team and don’t assume it’s all about money. Pride in a job well done, opportunity for greater responsibility and a chance to learn new things can be powerful motivators as well. 

Figure out who on your team are the big thinkers and who does well at pulling together all the details. Build up trust by teaching team members to respect each other’s input, look beyond individual differences and take heed of concerns and feelings. There is no bad idea. Resolve differences by pointing toward the common goals and recognizing progress that has been achieved. 

There’s always more than one way to solve a problem and more than one way to get to a destination. In effectively run companies, there’s no room for “my way or the highway.” That approach shuts out innovation, discourages contribution and leads to missed opportunities. Encourage teamwork and collaboration.  

Teach your people to communicate with respect. If someone tries to take over and bully the group, remember that bullying tendencies often come from a place of fear that things might not work out right. Lower the risks by reminding everyone they’re on the same team, encouraging discussion and debate and knowing when it’s time to take a breather, drop a topic and come back to it at another time. 

Looking for a good book? Try “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t” by Simon Sinek. 

Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business- consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535, AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles at AskAndi.com.

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