Creating a cohesive, high-performing team from a group of individual employee takes planning hard work and commitment. A manager’s role in this process is like a ship captain, setting the course and keeping the crew in line.

With a focus on a few key ideas, the manager will find the seas smooth, the course true and the wind at their back.

Team Building

One Team, One Destination

Everyone on the team should know and share a common goal. If different employees are working towards different goals, morale and performance will suffer.

On this ship, everyone should be rowing in the same direction. Any other method wastes time and energy. Rowing in two different directions will have your ship going in circles.

Tell your employees where they’re headed and how you’re getting there. When everyone on the team is looking at the same goal or destination, individuals start to focus less on themselves and more on the common team goal.

Check Team Progress Often

Don’t simply state your goal and expect it to get done. Monitor the progress of your employees at periodic intervals, checking in to make sure you’re headed the right way.

The captain of a ship is constantly checking the ship’s course. Doing so gives you the opportunity to make course corrections should unforeseen issues arise along the way.

When you’re managing a team, checking progress gives you the opportunity to encourage behavior that’s building the team and discourage behaviors that are breaking it apart.

Everyone Has a Well-Defined Job

Teams function best when everyone knows their role and is focused on accomplishing their piece of the puzzle. You don’t want two people steering the ship at the same time, and you certainly don’t want two employees trying to accomplish the same function on a team.

Define a role for each of your employees, tell them and their co-workers what it is, and try to reduce overlap between responsibilities.

Keep The Rules Consistent and Public

Nothing frustrates an employee faster than changing the rules behind their back. So establish the rules and guidelines for your team publicly, before the project starts, and do your best to keep them consistent.

If you do need to change the rules mid-project, do it publicly, giving everyone on the team an opportunity to give feedback. Dissent brews below decks on this ship, so keep discussion open and candid.

When you’ve defined tasks for your team members, established a chain of command and set your course, changing any of these without explanation is an easy way to encourage your crew to mutiny.

Consider these four guidelines your map to building a better team. A leader should share the destination or goal with the team, check in on progress often, define the roles and tasks for each employee and keep the rules consistent.

When your course is true and your crew is unified, accomplishing even the most daunting business tasks becomes easy. Set your course, check your compass and set sail today.