Management Articles


Tips on Team Building

By: Lisa Simmons

Lisa has over 15 years experience as a human services manager & QMRP. She is also a licensed teacher & certified quality management facilitator.  Currently she is the Director of The Ideal Lives Project. Visit her on the web at or contact her at

In this day & age teamwork is the word of the day. As supervisors we all rely on the quality & dedication of our teams to "get the job done". If you New Year's resolution was to set a fire under your team & get them pulling together instead of apart -- read on!
  1. Be honest.
    There will be times when you simply wonít have all the answers. Admit youíre only human & search for the solutions together. Trying to fool "most of the people, most of the time" only results in making you look foolish & reducing your credibility as a leader.

  2. Have a good memory.
    By remembering & bringing up ideas or comments made by team members you show them not only that you were listening, but that you felt their ideas had merit. For example, a team member shares a promising idea or story with you in the hallway.  At the next team meeting, give that team member the lead. ďJohn, you had an interesting comment on this the other day. Why donít you share that idea with the rest of the team.Ē

  3. Use group time wisely.
    Donít waste the teamís time going over information that needs to be digested & analyzed for quality reactions. Use your time together to focus on issues that demand interaction & group perspective.

  4. Donít get bogged down in large, complicated issues.
    If the group is to large to really discuss a "meaty" issues, then use the team time to break it down into small manageable tasks & divide responsibility among team members. At your next meeting each small group can report back & the full team can decide how to proceed.

  5. Take the first step.
    When a final solution isnít obvious - figure out a first step & start moving down the path that you want to follow. Frequently the rest of the solution will become obvious as you move in that direction.

  6. Walk in each otherís shoes.
    Encourage team members too verbally or physically experience each otherís perspectives. Nothing else works quite the same magic in terms of opening people up to consensus building.

  7. Respect each otherís time.
    Let individual team members set up ďDo not disturbĒ work times. Honor theirs & expect them to honor yours.

  8. Be accessible.
    Many wonderful teaching moments will result from casual conversations with your team members.  As they talk about an issue that concerns them, use the opportunity to reassure them of your faith in their skills as well as to add to their knowledge base. Do they understand the core issues at stake?  Do they need additional information or resources to find a solution?  Are their values in conflict with whatís happening? Often your most powerful teaching tool will be to ask questions & let the person work through their thoughts out loud. They come to the conclusion on their own & feel better about what needs to be done than if you had simply handed them the "to doĒ list.

  9. Use your own & your teamís uniqueness.
    Capitalize on the special talents of individual team members to give each project your special signature of quality. Aside from ending up with a better product or service, you reinforce to team members their value & worth to the team.

  10. Accept your limitations (or grow beyond them).
    Once you have identified a weakness in your team, determine its impact on meeting your goal.  If itís going to be a major stumbling block, figure out as a team how you are going to eliminate or compensate for the weakness.
What's are our final words of wisdom? Be persistent! Remember success comes when your team keeps trying when everyone else has given up.

© 2001 Lisa Simmons.

Other Articles by Lisa Simmons

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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