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  • Earl Breon

Three Team Investments Every Leader Must Make


Team building is an important aspect of any organization and building strong teams is the sign of a great leader. The best part of it all is that team building is amazingly simple if you make the right investments. There are three essential investments you must make to build high performing, resilient and successful teams.These aren't monetary investments, money can't buy good teams. No, these are investments made by and of the leader and the organization. So, what are these three amazing team building investments?

Relationships


As I write this my wife is in the other room watching "You've Got Mail." It is a great movie that is pretty much "our movie." We watch it together every time it is on. (Yes, I am taking longer than I should writing this because I am multi-tasking!)Anyway, there is a lovely quote from the movie that is perfect for this investment. In the scene Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) is apologizing to Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) for putting her out of business and he pulls the classic, "It's not personal..." line. Well, she fires back with, "All that means is it wasn't personal to you. Besides, what is wrong with being personal anyway? Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal!"Well, she is absolutely right and that includes team building. Building teams should always begin by being personal, by investing in the necessary relationships needed to begin forming the bonds that hold teams together. Relationships are the glue of team building. Without them it doesn't matter if you have all the right pieces in all the right places, they will fall apart. Now, this doesn't mean just to do trust exercises and personality profiles. This means to truly get to know each other. Don't be afraid to spend time together away from work and doing things other than work.One of the greatest lost opportunities to build relationships I see every day, every single day, is lunch time. People usually either bring their own or go out on their own. Rarely will someone take a group order. But, even when a group order is taken people scatter to their own little corner or cube and eat alone.Stop it! Gather your team around a table and have meals together. Just like they are seen as essential to family building they are essential to team building. When you eat together and fellowship, take the time to get to know each other and just have discussion, you are building those relational bonds.Give it a try! The worst case is you walk away with a full stomach!

Communication


The next investment is communication. You can read more on effective communication here and here. These two are great supplemental reads to this article because it is important to have that level of understanding on effective communication to ease team building. You see humans have this knack for talking a lot but communicating little.The key here is to communicate often and clearly with your team. This means keeping them informed in the good times as well as in the bad. Some leaders are great at communication and information sharing when things are all puppy dogs and rainbows but get quiet in the down times. When you do this you send a message of distrust to your team and teams cannot survive without trust.By communicating with them no matter the circumstances you foster trust and resiliency. When you overcome small obstacles by investing in communication you know it can be done and are able to face larger and larger obstacles more easily.One final thing on communication. You cannot over communicate. It can't be done so don't worry about it. Yes, you can over talk but not over communicate. If you know it your team should, too.

Time


Time is by far our most valuable commodity. We all only have so much of it to give. So, it should be intuitive that this is your most valuable team building investment.Teams are not built over night. They take a period of learning and investing in their success. They take getting through successes and failures together. They take fighting, arguing, confrontation and coming together afterwards to meet the task.All of that takes a lot of time. So, don't expect magic in a day. Sure, things may look great right out of the gate but those are usually the good times and a lot of teams function great then. Wait until you hit that first bump in the road and see how you look on the other side. That is when you know whether you have a real team or not.SummaryYou must invest in relationships, communication, and in time for successful team building to happen. If you skip either of these three items then your team is doomed to failure at the first sign of turbulence.