Building a small team that works together well is a wonderful opportunity. Since large groups offer a lot of diversity, it is easy to find diverse talents within a large team of people. Using a smaller crew is more personal and the interaction is different when there are fewer people. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are building a smaller team.
CAPITALIZE ON THE TALENTS YOU HAVE AVAILABLE TO YOU. You may have to call upon people for more than one contribution. You may find that the same person who has photographic capabilities is also the one who can look at a design and immediately edit it in their mind’s eye. The one who writes well may also have to edit other people’s writing if they aren’t as good with grammar and punctuation.
GET TO KNOW THE TEAM. You can get to know your small group better than you would a larger team. You will be able to observe more easily how the team is meshing and what results are being achieved. You may not have the leeway to pair people with only those who are easy to work with and there may be some friction between people. Remind them that they each bring great talents to the project. Then ask them to respect those gifts and skills and try to combine their efforts.
UNDERSTAND WHAT MOTIVATES EACH TEAM MEMBER. While a bonus check may motivate Joe, Mary may desperately want a weekend off. It does no good to dangle a carrot if they are looking for an apple. Part of personal interaction is knowing what drives each person.
SET ACHIEVABLE GOALS AND THEN SHOW THEM HOW TO GET THERE. You can hold a small group accountable more easily, as there is less room for excuses. Deadlines should be set and the team should try to achieve them. You, as the leader, should be at the head of the team, guiding and cheering them on as they work. While it isn’t common to be a motivational leader, most employees love a manager who celebrates success.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Don’t expect the team to work all weekend on a hot project if you plan to be at the football game. Never ask your people to do something that you are unwilling to do.
LET THEM SORT OUT ANY ISSUES RESPECTFULLY. If there aren’t huge issues or blowouts, they may be able to sift things out without intervention.
UNDERSTAND THAT IT GETS EASIER AFTER THEY SEE THE FIRST PROJECT COME TOGETHER. While they are learning to work together, it may be challenging at first. However, once they see the potential results, they may be able to overlook the minor issues on the next round which will make things even smoother.
As the leader of your small crew, you can show them how to interact by the example you set with them as a manager. Don’t be afraid to take them aside and ask them the questions that need to be asked to resolve an issue and move forward. Be the leader that you want them to be.
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