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The top five tips for building a robust team

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Being robust, or resilient, during challenging times is one of the attributes that determines a successful team.

As HR knows from hard-earned experience, challenges are a normal part of any organisation, whether they’re a fintech start-up or an established player. For companies to maintain the tricky balancing of high performance and wellbeing, they need resilient teams.

Here are five attributes of a robust team:

They recognise the producer-manager dilemma

The more senior the employee, the more likely they are to run into what Harvard researchers have identified as the so-called producer-manager dilemma. As these individuals rise through the ranks, they have to continue to “produce” while gaining managerial responsibility. This requires them to invest more time and energy into the healthy functioning of teams.

Without a strong cultural commitment from organisations, professional teams have less chance to achieve the maximum advantage of a collaborative, diverse and inclusive team. Building awareness of this dilemma is the first step towards overcoming it.

They stay motivated

Robust teams counteract negative tendencies by accessing the power of intrinsic motivation. Research shows that focusing on essential goals results in better performance, wellbeing and improved motivation. Team members become more intrinsically motivated when they feel empowered and are part of the decision-making process as the work unfolds.

They build a sense of belonging

One of the cornerstones of a resilient team is psychological safety. Individuals need to feel confident that they can share their knowledge. An often overlooked part of this is also built around sharing doubts, questions, mistakes and evolving ideas. Teams that are able to discuss the full gamut of experiences – both positive and negative – are more likely to overcome adversity and develop higher levels of mutual trust and respect, which leads to higher levels of resilience.

They take a participative approach

It’s essential for teams to isolate areas where they are struggling, but it’s also important to identify and appreciate their strengths on an ongoing basis. Teams – particularly those scattered across the globe – need a strong “why” to stay motivated. They need to have a conversation about what is important to them, the ideal composition of their team, and what sacrifices they are willing to make to achieve this common goal.

They prioritise wellbeing

Robust teams openly talk about stress and burnout. It’s strongly linked to low morale and a high level of turnover, and disengagement. Team debriefs are crucial as they encourage information exchange and elaboration, reducing ambiguity – which is one factor that accelerates burnout. It also aids with team member support and an increase in self-reflection and self-improvement.

Parts of this article were first published on the Fast Company website.


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