Set team goals, not personal goals

Effective teams focus on collective results rather than individual goals.

Every team has goals that they strive for, results they wish to achieve – whether it is to design a new product line or win a game of basketball. This is true for most individuals as well, but in great teams, team members understand that shared goals must take precedence over individual ones.

So what kind of common goals keep the team focused? Clearly defined ones that are easy to measure.

If the intended results are clear and leave no room for interpretation, then it's not possible for any individual to weasel away from the team goal to work on their own goals instead.

For example, at DecisionTech the clear and measurable goal of having 18 customers by the end of the year was set, and everyone united behind it.

When common goals are embraced, individual team members are willing to support and help each other even across lines of responsibilities. At DecisionTech, this meant that the engineering department was willing to mobilize its resources to help the sales team with its product demonstrations. This was the best way that they could help to get more customers and meet the common goal.

Great teams have peer-to-peer accountability, meaning everyone’s performance is transparent.

One of the most uncomfortable moments imaginable in any team occurs when you have to point out to a peer that he or she is performing below expectations or behaving inappropriately. This is awkward because most people feel like they are sticking their nose into someone else's business, or artificially elevating themselves above their supposed peer.

Unfortunately, if team members do not call each other out in such cases, it will make everyone feel less accountable, which in turn results in missed deadlines, mediocre results and poor team performance. The team leader is then burdened with being the sole source of discipline in the team, as there is no peer-to-peer accountability.

In some teams, when members have developed good rapport, they are then reluctant to hold one another accountable, because they fear their valuable personal relationships will be jeopardized. Ironically, this reluctance can and will damage those personal relationships, because the team members will begin to resent each other for not living up to expectations and for slipping from the team's performance standards.

However, members of great teams do hold one another accountable and this actually improves their relationships, because they develop respect for each other for adhering to the same high standards. When there is trust in a team, the members who are pushed to perform better will understand that it is being done for the common good, and not take it personally.

At the end of the day, peer pressure is by far the most efficient and effective means of maintaining high standards of performance. Individuals who fear letting down teammates they respect will naturally feel pressure to work hard and improve their performance.

This is why peer-to-peer accountability is a key component in enhancing team performance.

Hope for team and employee result in positive value for firm

People are most likely to excel when they have hope, so it should be fostered.

Hope influences your emotions, thoughts and actions. When you're hopeful, you feel more capable of reaching goals, and this in turn translates into confidence and action.

Some great leaders have focused on instilling hope in others. For example, Nelson Mandela fought for human rights improvements primarily by raising hopes for a better future in others, even though he himself had to suffer for it.

There are many ways to cultivate hope.

One effective method is to act as if your desired goals were feasible, no matter how unrealistic they seem. Taking that first step is crucial – if you never try, you'll certainly never succeed.

Consider Ray Anderson, founder of Interface Inc., a carpet company worth $1.1 billion. In 1994, he declared he would totally eliminate any negative impact his company had on the environment. This seemed ludicrously naive at the time, but nevertheless he took action as if the goal was totally achievable. The result? By 2009, he was already halfway there.

Hope is especially important when times are bad, so it must be fostered and cultivated.
Amid the gloom of post-genocide Rwanda in 2005, one local called Odile Katese decided that life should not just be about struggling. She wanted to redirect people's attention into something that would bond them together and bring hope and joy to others. So she founded a women's drum group, which became so successful that it rapidly achieved world-wide fame. Clearly, people had been craving hope.