Building a team of brilliant, passionate employees who can move a business forward requires creating a team-based organisation that promotes trust and cooperation. The leader plays a crucial role in creating an environment in which their team can thrive. I have witnessed situations where when the leader is fragmented, the group is fragmented. The result ultimately being internal conflicts, cliques and low productivity. On the other hand, when a leader is together and solid, the team thrives and helps each other. The latter requires empathy and compassion; the soft skills that some managers still believe will fail you as a manager.
Depending on the type of work that you are involved in, there are different styles of management that are required. A commanding style of management is needed in situations where teams of people regularly deal with matters of life and death. For an example; police, fire, emergency medical services, etc. They constantly deal with heightened emotions; hence debriefing, feedback and acknowledgement of the work done by every member of the team at the end of a mission builds and maintains trust.
A commanding style balanced with empathy and compassion was clearly demonstrated in an inspiring video about a rescue team working against time to save a skier who had been fighting for his life inside a crevasse in the snowy mountains of Zermatt, Switzerland. What were the magic ingredients that made the team work?
The mountain rescue team – Air Zermatt, portrayed the right amount of commanding balanced with an interactive style, setting clear boundaries for all the parties involved. Research shows that commanding management styles should be used cautiously, and only in targeted situations, i.e. when dealing with problematic behaviours of employees and when you have exhausted all other avenues of addressing their behaviour.
Here are 10 tips to building an effective team of top employees:
PASSION: A powerful motivator!
Air Zermatt is one of the world’s best aerial search and mountain rescue teams, made up of people dedicated to saving the lives of those who take on the Matterhorn and its surrounding area.
Be passionate about what you do! Members of the Air Zermatt team have a shared passion that is not just about being passionate about their individual roles but also saving lives of others. Passion develops when motivations are authentic. In this successful team, the motivation to rescue lives comes from their own experiences of losing someone close to them. Air Zermatt are a perfect example of the “together each achieves more” concept. They work together in very difficult, often extreme situations where their trust in each other is frequently tested. The team’s strength is in its each individual member. Their sense of teamwork is inspiring.
Team members must be able to trust each other. Trust is critical to move team objectives forward.
POSITIVITY – I can do this!
When the Air Zermatt team begins a rescue mission they start with a team of three: the pilot, a doctor and a paramedic. However, if the terrain is unsafe or outside of a controlled area, they take a mountain rescue specialist in addition to the standard three. Each of their roles within the team is as much about their skills as their teamwork. Each member has a clear understanding of their role within the team.
The doctor takes the lead with a commanding approach that is balanced with compassion. Clear, efficient communication is evident in their teamwork, so is trust and respect. Members recognise that they need each other to complete the mission or it simply won’t work.
3. Protocol & Communication
Establish ground rules for standards and behaviour. The roles, responsibilities and expectations for each member of Air Zermatt are well defined.
4. Positive Attitude
Focus on finding solutions to issues, respecting each other and creating supportive working relationships. Encouraging an environment of collaboration keeps dissatisfaction to a minimum and provides a safe space to express difficult emotions.
Promote analytical, strategic and innovative thinking through active communication, idea sharing and joint decision-making.
A certain amount of conflict is inevitable, but not always negative. Teams must be encouraged to resolve differences, compromise and improve team performance through better cooperation. If trust and positive attitudes exist within the team, cooperation is a given, allowing the team to work well together.
Should not be measured by hours contributed, but by the dedication of the team members. Team members must be committed to the goals of the team and the company, and be ready to deliver when expected.
POSSIBILITY – See the opportunity and build on it!
Air Zermatt’s collaboration and positivity as a team results in them saving thousands of lives annually, while dealing with extreme situations frequently. The team members are fully aware of the “big picture” and understand where their individual responsibilities lay in each rescue mission.
Is essential in helping the team stay focused on the bigger picture and shared goals. Additionally, a good leader promotes communication, collaboration, cooperation and commitment within the team. A team leader must be able to delegate effectively, building on the team’s strengths as they emerge and follow up to ensure that all objectives are met on time.
Each team member must be encouraged to come into their own to feel a meaningful and active engagement to the team’s goals. Empowerment is critical for learning and performance. It is important to hear out each other’s opinions, respect them and learn from your peers. Both positive feedback and constructive criticism is necessary for a team to grow healthily and maintain a constant level of excellence.
PERSEVERANCE – Work hard and do whatever it takes to make it happen!
On every mission, Air Zermatt remains steadfast to ensure the helicopter is as light as possible, down to the number of passengers, the amount of fuel and the equipment on board. This is to ensure that they reach the people in distress as fast as possible. For them, it is important to be faster than their biggest enemy, Death.
This should be applied to all workplaces, to ensure sustainability, reduce wastage, and to have necessary resources at hand for employees to complete all their tasks as efficiently as possible.
10. Growth & results
Growth inspires us to take risks, experiment, stumble, sometimes even fail but continue on the path until we succeed. Leaders must acknowledge the efforts, encourage their members despite and sometimes because of their failures and applaud their successes.
When we all help each other, everybody wins, and it brings an invaluable quality to our business cultures and individual lives.