Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much – 5 attributes of a good team.

May 25, 2015

by Alannah Gauld

Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Staying together is success.
Henry Ford

Stelfox IT Recruitment recently completed the Grant Thornton 5k team challenge, in aid of one of our charity partners Indreni – (The International Foundation to Sponsor Children in Nepal). The urgent need for emergency funds due to the earthquake, brought the team together to raise money, and the response we received has been fantastic. Individual efforts have been great, but as a team have exceeded expectations.

The benefits of team work are largely accepted, but how many of us are truly allowing our employees to flourish, both individually and collectively? Increasingly there is pressure for inclusion, and to promote team work. With job specifications across all industries becoming more specialized, this can make it difficult for a group of people to work together effectively.

So what is needed for a team to succeed?

Communication: Often considered the most vital attribute of any team, communication binds individual players to create a unit. A sense of direction needs to be communicated early – an end goal, a time frame, possible issues that may be encountered on the way. By allowing all members of the team to ask questions freely at this stage, you may reduce the number of errors, and increase the sense of purpose from the very beginning. This needs to be a continuing process throughout the project, to track progress, discuss flaws as a team, and individually if necessary. Encouraging open discussion between team members of all levels may aid in diffusing any conflict.
Stelfox IT Suggestion – We hold daily team scrum meetings and monthly one to ones. This allows our staff to be on top of their game every day. Constructive feedback from both sides of the table is encouraged, and we have created a culture where employees can approach their managers for advice at any stage.

Leading by example: The power of an exceptional leader can filter down to every member of the team. Lead by example. People want to work hard for someone, who they see is working hard also. Effective leaders are able to draw the fine line, between taking an active interest in team members and an authoritative figure. Knowing the names of your team, asking if they need help, praising success and asking their opinions goes a long way. Making people feel valued will increase their need and want to succeed, though care needs to be taken that you still maintain an authoritative voice, in case disciplinary issues arise.
Stelfox IT Suggestion – We believe our employees are our greatest asset, so we like to share all of the ups and downs with them. We offer services to help them be the best they can, with free ‘Stelfit’ gym classes, nights out, and trips away, which everyone in the company gets involved with. In addition, every single person on the board of directors in Stelfox is a recruiter! This means that there is a sense of understanding between management and employees and endless advice and support.

You don’t need to like me, but you need to respect me: It is unreasonable and unrealistic, to assume that all of your employees are going to relish the thought of working together. This is going to be the case if you put any number of people together. However; this is not a fatal flaw. Promoting and addressing levels of respect amongst the team early, can prevent small issues quickly escalating. Advocate open discussions, and appoint an impartial leader to mediate if necessary. If two members are constantly engaging in conflict, address it.
Stelfox IT Suggestion – We have encouraged a hard-working, and open culture here in Stelfox IT Recruitment. As such, we are incredibly lucky to have a close-knit and supportive team.  Some of our Managers and Senior team members, are Ireland’s highest ever billers in the IT Recruitment industry, which demands a huge amount of respect from our consultants and resourcers.

Play to individual strengths: Roles within the group need to be established early, in order to ensure direction and improve productivity. Avoid assigning tasks randomly, instead play to individual strengths. People are naturally going to give more attention and effort to tasks they enjoy, and less so to the ones they do not. You may want to consider sharing the less desirable tasks amongst the team in order to avoid conflict.
Stelfox IT Suggestion – Our monthly confidential one to one meetings, allow an open forum to discuss all positives or negatives from the previous month. We not only want to attract the best talent, but we want to keep them too! We want our recruiters to be working in a team or vertical market that brings the best out of them, and will facilitate changes to achieve this.

Sometimes, it may be better going solo: Depending on the task, or the people involved, team work is not always the best solution. For large multi-tiered projects, having a team can be hugely beneficial. For small, highly specialized projects it may be more appropriate to assign this to one person who specializes in the field. Be wary of assigning team work, for the sake of team work, when one or two people may perform the task far more effectively.
Stelfox IT Suggestion – We pride ourselves on the knowledge we have of our team, their strengths and their preferences. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in Stelfox, and as such can assign tasks effectively to the team. We have regular team lead classroom based sessions,  which allow all of our consultants to up-skill and further specialize into areas that interest them.

What do you consider to be the attributes of a successful team? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!


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