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4 Keys to Building a Strong, Cohesive Team

4 Keys to Building a Strong, Cohesive Team

As a small business owner, you are only as strong and as successful as the group of people that you employ. Create a team of marshmallows and you’ll melt at the slightest hint of heat; but build a team as solid as steel and nothing will tear you down.

Although some of a team’s strength and cohesiveness is determined by the team members themselves, there are still some things you can do as their leader that will help you create a group that can withstand any storm that comes their way. Here are four suggestions to consider when devising your group of warriors:

Make the Team’s Mission Clear

If each one of your team members doesn’t understand the mission of the team as a whole, it is like lighting a bunch of fireworks all at once. They are all going to be headed off in different directions, and no one is going to be able to enjoy the show because they aren’t going to know where to look.

To help combat this effect, it helps to create a crystal clear mission statement complete with team values, group etiquette, and ultimate goals. The more your team members can see the whole puzzle and know what is expected of them, the less likely they will get stuck on the one piece that can bring it all together. Plus, keeping these things in mind at times of disagreement can help the team work as a whole despite any discrepancies the individual members may have.

Give Each Member a Job or Duty

There is not much worse than being on a team and not feeling needed or wanted. It completely demotivates you and causes you to sit back and not have any real commitment to what the team is trying to do.

On the converse, letting a team member slack because they don’t want to participate is just as deadly when building the strength of the team. Each person must bring something to the table or your “weakest link” is going to bring you down.

The best thing to do is make sure that each person is responsible for something and hold them accountable for completing it. Make them feel valued and treasured so that they want to give their best to the group, and speaking of their best…

Utilize Each Member’s Strengths

Each one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, the best way to set up your team is to pick members that have the strengths that you need in order to be successful.

For instance, if you have created a team to handle all of your marketing endeavors, you want someone who is empathetic enough to understand your target market, someone who is great with planning to come up with a marketing calendar, someone who is creative to foster ideas that will entice your target market, and so on.

Keep your team as diversified as you can so that they will meet all of your needs when they are put together. If you have a team that is all good at the same thing, you may have cohesiveness, but you will lack effectiveness.

Let Communication Flow Freely

Finally, in order for a team to be as strong and cohesive as it can be, each member has to feel as if they can communicate freely when they are together. If they don’t feel comfortable stating their ideas and opinions, then the team is going to be limited in what it can do.

This can be handled by starting and ending each team session by going around the room and allowing each member make a statement without being interrupted or chastised. This affords them the opportunity to say what is on their mind, even if it is likely to make waves.

Creating a strong, cohesive team can ultimately lead to your small business success or failure. Do these four things and you’ll be on the right path!

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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.