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Build Confident Work Teams - Post Pandemic

There are many pathways to building confident work teams.

Whether you are working with a new team, or an established already well-functioning team, the guidelines included in this article can support you in building an even stronger, focused, and more cohesive team well beyond a post pandemic state.

It’s not every year that workplaces shutdown and work processes changed or shifted due to a global pandemic. This may have caused some misalignment of what we are used to doing and what should be done when working with our teams.

Building confident, cohesive, well-functioning teams is an ongoing focus for managers. Or, at least it should be. Although often managers “inherit” the teams with which they work, rather than start them from scratch, the same rules apply:

Know that teams go through various stages

Any change - be it to responsibilities, addition of staff, loss of staff, or new ways of operating -may mean that already established, well-functioning teams sometimes revert to a period, as when first formed, where roles, mission and process need to be revisited and re-clarified.

Action – Define your teams roles and responsibilities early on. Don’t wait several weeks after the return to onsite work. Make this a priority within the first week of return.

Articulate the mission

Teams without a clear mission are like boats without a rudder. The resulting feeling of aimlessness leads to lack of clarity and fuel for productivity. Expectations for individual responsibilities remain unclear if not linked to the bigger picture—or team role.

You may be surprised to find your team may not have a clear understanding of the guiding mission for the team nor companywide.

Action – Provide direction and purpose to the team. Say what the objectives are and the direction they should go.

Have clear roles and hire for fit

Ensure your staff understands where and how roles connect and may be interdependent. Clarify what they bring to the team and how they will contribute moving forward. Explore the handoffs and how current processes help or hinder their success.

Action - If possible, hire additional staff whose values mirror those of your group (e.g. if teamwork is critical, hire those who flourish in team environments rather than those who prefer to work independently).

Establish your team-specific “ground rules”

These are the unwritten norms that guide how work gets done in your team.

Do you have an open door policy? How are suggestions for improvements to be made? How does communication work amongst team members?

Action – Do this as soon as you can so people know what to expect and what your standards are. Make this an action item at your first meeting within the first week of return to the office.

Provide a vehicle for teambuilding

Whether at the first meeting or the one following, allow some time for your team to bond and reconnect with one another as well as with you.

Listen for their concerns and frustrations. To the extent possible, empower them to develop strategies and own solutions.

Action – As well as taking this on yourself, delegate the “teambuilding” responsibilities to some people on your team. Make a request for a “social secretary” to organize group activities in the workplace.

Lead your group

Effective teams have a clear leader, with a clear role. Consistently communicate and play your part on the team.

Proactively address potential concerns, issues, and build a collaborative environment where every member’s strengths and talents are utilized and appreciated.

Action – List down all of the things that you can do to make sure that this happens. Actually, you don’t need to start this, you should already be doing this ALL of the time! If not, there’s no better time to start than now.

As a manager or business leaders, it’s an ongoing focus to build confidence in your teams whether you are functioning virtually or in-person. Now that we are shifting back in to the workplace you may be working with a new team or an established well-functioning team. In either case, and even more so now, it’s important to build or restore confidence for more strong, focused, and cohesive teams.

This is a pathway to help support you in building confident teams.

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