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Building Strong Teams: It's Better Than Doing It All Yourself by Hugh Ballou
Do you ever wish there was one more day in the week? Does your job seem like a Black Hole? Does it seem like you can’t get things accomplished because people get in the way? Well, try leveraging your time by building effective teams.
Define ways that teamwork can free up your time for the specific tasks that only you can do and free up for visionary leadership, preparation and study. Identify areas that could be delegated such as getting the doughnuts, writing and sending news releases, implementing the plans for team meetings or any other area that utilize the ability and time of your team. Some of these are predictable and repeatable while some are creative. A key point is to be flexible in the way plans are implemented. It doesn’t have to be done exactly your way to be good, does it? A transformational leader creates the vision and leads the process while mentoring and nurturing those whom they lead.
Effective teamwork depends on effective leadership. Having a clear vision of the concept of teamwork is the beginning. There are many things that are not appropriate for teams to deal with. The leader must decide what projects could, in fact, be team projects. Then it is essential to build the right team. This process requires discipline on the part of the leader to take the necessary time and to do the necessary steps to insure the success of the team. Teams can be formally or informally structured. Teams can be short-term or ongoing. The parameters must be clearly defined.
First, articulate the scope and details of the project along with a clear time-line for the entire project. Then identify the people who will make up a diverse yet focused mix of skills and perspectives. In order to identify this mix of personalities, take time to brainstorm. Make a “hit list.” Sort the names into categories. Assign a priority to the names. Then begin recruiting. You need a longer list than your final goal for participants since not everyone will share you passion for the project or will not be available for some reason. Decide how you will contact the people on the list and when you will have the first meeting. Be sure to do this step with sufficient lead-time before the meeting. It is also very important to allow enough time for the project to be successfully completed.
The manner in which the people are contacted is important. Do not be apologetic when asking for people to step-up for an assignment. This can be their pleasure, not a chore. If any of them perceive it as a chore, then the process is off to a negative beginning. Even if people feel as if they must be a part of your project because they value a paycheck or position, it is better if they have a passion for the project. If the project is worthy, then treat it accordingly. Recruit each person for the team and for an initial meeting. Be clear about the focus and the purpose for the team.
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The initial gathering is critical to the momentum and quality of the project. Plan the meeting thoroughly. Plan an agenda that will take 65% of the available time. Be prepared with a concise definition of the project, the goals and the completion date. Do not plan every detail of how the project is to be accomplished. Let the team brainstorm on the “hows” and then assign a priority to each step. Before adjourning the meeting, appoint a project coordinator for the team and assign each task with its completion date to a specific person. Then let them have it. Stay in touch with the project coordinator, but let the team do what they have agreed to do.
A transformational leader clearly articulates the vision and serves as motivator and nurturer for the team. The role is one of creating momentum and enthusiasm by staying visible, nurturing and supportive.
Delegation means that the project and its tasks have been assigned to others to articulate using their gifts and talents. It does not mean that any part of the process can be ignored or forgotten. Stay in touch, affirm, listen, help when needed and celebrate the success. Building nurturing relationships is a core value for successful leadership.
Hugh Ballou is an independent consultant, facilitator, executive coach and motivational speaker. He has worked in key leadership positions for 40 years in churches up to 12,000 in membership. As an independent and external presence, he is able to assist in building strong teams, minimizing conflict and mapping clear strategies for success. His book Moving Spirits, Building Lives is about transformational leadership and can be found at Amazon.Com or on Hugh’s web sites. His Workbook for Transformational Leaders will be available in late 2006. You can find other information and articles on leadership at http://www.synervisioninternational.com and http://www.hughballou.com. Hugh is a part of the Transformation Systems, Inc. consulting team found at http://transformationsystems.com/.
Moving Spirits, Building Lives: Church Musician as Transformational Leader, By Hugh Ballou, SynerVision International, Inc., PO Box 11166, Blacksburg, VA 24062
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