Building teams

Where do we put our focus as line managers? Our goal is to provide the outputs or impact agreed in our own objectives, and to do so using the behaviours agreed in the organisation.

The people who report to us are the implementers of the plans and activities that will achieve our task objectives as line managers. We must be effective people managers to achieve high performance – people as individuals and people in teams, as well as effective managers of resources, finance, and technology.

In modern organisations a third area of focus is learning – within a team, or discipline, or organisation, or with clients, partners, peers, donors and civil society.

Keeping an appropriate balance of focus is very challenging to line managers’ skills, energy and time. Good team building skills aim to help line managers to ‘work smarter’, with tools for developing teams so that your people are able to be as effective as possible.

It is not your role to ‘have all the answers’ before you start. As the line manager you should actively involve the skills and experience in the team to plan and carry out the routes to support team development, just as all are involved in carrying out the work of the team.

You do need a vision for what the team is aiming to achieve, and the patience, influencing, and relationship skills to work well with a ‘people focus’ alongside your task objectives.

Integrating ‘Task’ and ‘People’ development milestones

Line managers and their organisations usually place most emphasis on the ‘task’ elements of planning, whether it is work plans, project planning, or country strategic plans, than they do on the ‘people’ elements of those plans. People may figure in the plans in terms of ‘resourcing’.

To achieve a balanced approach to line management, plan people-oriented actions and milestones to match the task milestones. These do not need to be unusual milestones – get the basics right for elements of communication, planning, inclusion, progress reviewing.

Building the new team This may be the first time any of you are working together as a team. There will be a mixture of professional and cultural backgrounds, and expectations. Teams will not only have to be built but also rebuilt as new members join and others leave. Issues:

·         Team vs. Group – need to form first from second

·         Stages in team’s development – forming, storming, norming, performing, – and in emergencies reforming

·         Role of programme managers

Problems can arise:

·         individuals can feel isolated

·         teams do not function due to poor communication between or within them

·         feuds can start between sections

·         there can be a duplication of work or tasks can be left undone as everyone thinks it was someone else’s job.

You can address these problems in a number of ways:

·         Ensuring that new team members receive the best possible induction, training, briefing and handover

·         Mentoring or buddying of new team members during their probationary period.

·         Encouraging good communication

·         Encourage sections, e.g. finance, programme, logistics, to work together to find solutions rather than always coming to you for guidance or decisions.

Team member expectations

Failure to clarify information about the programme, individual team members’ roles and the local context they will be working in, can lead to unrealistic expectations and future difficulties.

Strategies for mitigating unrealistic expectations:

·         Ensure offer of employment, contract documents are clear and unambiguous

·         Try to address as many potential queries as possible during induction and briefing

·         In the case of deployment overseas, identify additional briefing tools – this may include a couple of relevant web links for the country context (i.e. Alertnet, local UN sites etc) and key programme documents (i.e. proposals, feasibility or needs assessments). Keep it simple and use existing material. Visual images are also useful i.e. photos, video clips.

In the case of deployment to a post reporting to another manager, the opportunity to talk to the manager prior to deployment is beneficial

Related Posts

© 2024 Project Management - Theme by WPEnjoy · Powered by WordPress