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Team stalling out? Time for a tune-up

female mechanic tuning up motorcycle

 If your team members are not as productive, motivated or satisfied as you'd like them to be, it's time to do something about it. Teams require routine maintenance.

 Cultivating a strong team environment isn't easy, especially in a society that emphasizes individual performance. But with some team-building effort, you can help the group work toward a common goal and improve creativity, problem solving and productivity. Here are five great ways to build more effective teams:

 1. Increase diversity. All members should be proficient, reliable and in a position to work efficiently with each other. They should also provide diverse skillsets to help the group reach its goal. Encourage workforce diversity and help members see the value of individual efforts toward achieving a common objective. Demonstrate how diverse backgrounds, skills and perspectives could help provide more innovative solutions.

2. Set responsibility. Create basic rules as a team and ensure that everyone agrees to them. Clearly specify everyone's individual position and what he or she must do within the team. Set straightforward team goals, timelines and expectations. Everyone should know their own role and responsibilities, as well as those of their team members.

3. Encourage collaboration. As teamwork is built on trust, all members should feel safe asking questions, sharing their ideas and making recommendations. One way to accomplish this is to facilitate communication as a team and between individuals. Each individual's feedback should be valued and you can set an example by being open to suggestions and concerns.

4. Resolve conflicts. Show your position as a team leader by identifying and resolving conflicts. When making an important decision, ensure that all members are up to speed with the team's progress and that everyone has an opportunity to ask questions and express their opinions. Let your team know that it’s okay to disagree with one another. Develop relationships with members based on trust and respect and encourage the same among members.

5. Provide rewards. Celebrate achievements and acknowledge the team for their contributions. Reward your team with a special event and help present their success to executive staff. Spotlight their accomplishments in company publications and showcase your group as a model for effective teamwork.

Subriana Pierce is managing partner of Navigator Sales and Marketing, a consumer goods and retail consulting, coaching and product representation firm. She previously served in senior roles for Albertsons Companies and Frito-Lay.

Views expressed in blogs, posts and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and corporate partners.