Leading Groups to Become Teams

Ever feel like everyone at work is on a different agenda?  Too much politics?   Are you having a hard time leading everyone forward to achieve the organization’s goals?  Or you are dragging everyone into the future?

Well, you are not alone, and this feeling is curable!


The secret is to get everyone behaving more like a team and less like a group of talented and spirited individuals.  Said another way, businesses are built by TEAMS, not by a group of individuals.  Even well-meaning individuals are ineffective if not working as part of a team.  In fact, most challenges to a positive and productive work environment come from strong individuals thinking they are adding much value…yet not working in coordination with other team members.

So, how do you get everyone acting more like a team?

First, be courageous!  Be willing to interrupt the status quo.  Visualize the team environment your organization deserves.  Then start taking action.


The first step is to remind yourself what a business team looks like.  What are the qualities and characteristics?  Then assess where your group is today, and lead them to more team behavior.  You will like the results.  Here is my take on defining a team in the business setting, based on research with leaders and my observations:

  • PURPOSE: Teams have a common Vision of the world, share Values, are united in a Mission.  Leaders hold team members responsible for achieving the Strategic Objectives that lead to accomplishing the mission and team success.
  • STRUCTURE: Teams have roles and responsibilities, known communication structures and patterns, and authority delineation. Teams have the resources and competencies necessary to achieve the mission.  Teams interact with their environments in an open manner.  Leaders build open communications and trusting relationships.
  • OPERATIONS: Teams work together to produce the desired outcomes.  Teams direct their own work, and measure output for both effectiveness and efficiency, and constantly strive for improvements.
  • FEEDBACK: Teams ask for, provide, and use feedback.  They create systems to support the gathering of and processing feedback.  Feedback keeps them on track to achieve their goals while living their values.  Feedback allows teams to navigate, learn, and adapt, and thus grow and be successful.  Feedback is the fountain of youth for organizations and teams.

I learned an expression years ago from one of my mentors: “It is easier to run with a hundred, than to drag one.”  Teams are going in the same direction.  They share a sense of mission, values, and are clear on their objectives, goals, and where they will invest their energy.  You trust them to do the right things, at the right time.  If you fall, they pick you up.   Like a charging herd of buffalo, you are swept up in the momentum of the team and are easily carried along.

Groups of individuals that just happen to belong to your company won’t carry others along.


To “run with a hundred” focus your leadership actions on strengthening team behavior.

  1. Reinforce the team identity and culture, broadcast clearly the goals and strategic objectives, clarify roles and structures.
  2. Communicate and live your company’s Brand.
  3. Create and maintain a learning culture.
  4. Respect one another.
  5. Find what your team is best at, and build Esprit de Corps.
  6. Reinforce a sense of belonging and ownership on the team.

Wishing you a productive journey turning your “group” into a TEAM!

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