Teamwork in the army

Where I come from in the North East of England, you either play football or you don’t do sport. Certainly this was the case in the 1960s when I was a lad!  I loved football, but no matter how hard I trained and played the game I was not very good!  So, to get a game on a regular basis, I formed my own team filled with people who were more talented than me in their respective positions – we won a lot of matches!  This was my first taste of forming winning teams and it is something I have enjoyed doing over the last 50 years, whether it be sports teams, military teams or teams in social care supporting people with a learning disability.

For this post, I am using the Dosh (Financial Advocacy) team who I have had the privilege to be part of for the last five years as the basis for my thoughts.

Great teams, winning teams don’t happen by magic.  More often than not you do not inherit a great team.  So here are my top 5 tips and 1 big secret:

When I recruited the Dosh Team I looked for:

  • Positive and cheerful people. Attitude is a choice.  Attitude is everything.
  • People who will share the vision and embrace the values of your organisation.
  • People who were more talented than me within specific areas of our service – surround yourself with talent!
  • People who are competent in the role you are recruiting for.
  • People who will bring added value to your team and organisation. Doing a good job should be a given – so what is the added value they can bring to the table?

How to retain a great team:

  • Show gratitude: recognise a good job and be specific on what you are complimenting people for.
  • Show gratitude: thank them often.
  • Provide opportunities for your team members to develop: set them a challenge/give them a project.
  • Provide the best resources you can afford.
  • By making the service you deliver be something team members can feel proud of – be the best.

How do you know when you have a great team?

  • When people tell you that your team has a “can do” attitude (a local authority recorded this about Dosh in the minutes of a contract review – I was incredibly proud of our team).
  • When their ideas outnumber yours.
  • When you are not there but the team is still successful.
  • When they tell you they love their job.
  • When people walk past the room where your team meeting is being held and they can hear laughter!

So what is the big secret I promised you at the beginning of the post?  It is simply ’Diversity’. In my experience of team building, the best teams, the winning teams and the most successful teams are the most diverse teams.  You do not want a team that looks like you!  The Dosh Team is incredibly diverse so we benefit from all experiences of ages, genders, cultures and different beliefs.  You should really see us altogether in one room – I am both exhausted and inspired at the end of the day!

What makes a great team for you?