03rd Feb 2012

The Importance of Building a Strong Team

Having a healthy, high performing team is crucial to leadership success. In the first 100 days of a new role, building a fully functioning, robust team should be a top priority for the new appointee. This can be challenging – many new executives are making a step up in terms of the emotional intelligence required to build a high performing team. It is often the first time that they have to focus more on people, than on a particular function within the organisation. Understandably, the first 100 days is an emotionally charged and challenging period.

How do you build a high-performing team?

Bring forward a clear vision. A team with a strong vision and commonality of purpose is far more likely to exceed expectations. But it is not enough to formulate this vision, you need to communicate this vision to your team in a clear and confident manner. Your direct reports will look to you, particularly in the vital early stages, and their performance will reflect how they react to you. So, in the pivotal first 100 days, the leader needs to pay close attention to their direct report team, and ensure that a clear action plan is in place to accelerate their performance. A team that is firing on all cylinders is doing so because it has been enabled by effective leadership.

Consider how investment in team building, skills training and recruitment can boost team performance. It is also worth stepping back and observing if there are individuals within your team of direct reports who are not aligned to your vision. It may well be that now is the time to harness your skills as a motivator, and communicate your vision directly to any under performers. If this does not work, it is time to consider whether you need to move certain individuals on. There is a strong possibility that one of your direct reports applied for your role unsuccessfully, and this may be a cause of resentment. Extra effort may be needed to build a relationship with this individual.

While it is vital to give the team you inherit a chance, moving too slowly on putting the right people in the right roles can have a very negative effect on your own performance, and that of your company as a whole.

The importance of building a strong team in the first 100 days of a new leadership position cannot be overstated. To ensure performance acceleration from the get-go, a new leader will need a healthy and robust team. First100 has designed a Leader-Team Assist Program specifically geared towards assisting leaders and their teams in the first 100 days.

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