Can Your Team Make Magic?

My heart sank when I read this quote. “I have no question that a team can generate magic. But don’t count on it.” ~ J. Richard Hackman

I have such optimism for teams to work better together. I even put it in the name of my business: Leading Better Together. I think my heart sank when I read this quote because I know it’s true.

  • The magic of teams takes hard work
  • We are not naturally better together
  • People are messy
  • Relationships are tough

Teams can create magic. But it just doesn’t happen on its own when we put a group of people together and give them a task. As a leader you have six things you need to do well and that is no small feat!

Define and communicate a CLEAR PURPOSE for the team

The team needs to be clear on why they exist. It needs to be reinforced by the leader and actions, efforts, and energy of the team needs to be aligned with the purpose. It is too easy for crisis or day-to-day momentum to knock a team off track.

Getting the RIGHT PEOPLE in the right roles

Hiring right is no small challenge. Then, making sure you draw out the potential of your team and equip them with the skills they need to succeed. Nurture the talent on your team to create the magic.

Give EXPLICIT GUIDELINES for how the team will work together and get things done

Even with a clear purpose and the right people, if the team doesn’t have clear guidelines on how to work together there will be overlap in roles, relationship challenges, misunderstandings, and many other people problems will surface and destroy the magic.

Monitor how DECISION-MAKING is done and resources are allocated

How decision gets made and who makes them can easily get confused when people work together. When do you pursue consensus? When does the leader make the call? When are experts brought in? Thinking through criteria for decision making, who has what authority and getting intentional about decision making brings the magic into getting things done right the first time.

MANAGE CONFLICTS, disagreements, personality clashes – and do it quickly

It’s easy to shove these less than pleasant interactions under the rug. But, if the team leader doesn’t respond directly and kindly in these situations they will fester and rob the team of it’s magic.

KNOW RESULTS – set goals and measure what is important

You can have a clear purpose and get the right people working together well – but if you are not measuring results and celebrating when you achieve goals the momentum of your teams efforts will be lost.

If you want the magic, you gotta do the work. You can’t tackle all six at once. Step back and take a look at what matters most for your team. Pick one area where you can make a change that could have a big impact on creating magic for your team.

If you have some messy team dynamics going on or just want to up your game as a team leader. Grab a 30-minute call on my calendar. Let’s dig into one thing you can do to generate magic on your team.

Share:

Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center for Coaching Excellence.

Leave a Comment