Building an effective team is rather complex task. However, in order to accomplish its purpose, that is to enhance productivity in due time, establishing a team is a necessity.
During my 9 years of professional experience, I have been involved in many teams, from smaller, daily basis teams to strategic ones. Being a part of it, I felt wide range of emotions. It wasn’t always easy, it was stressful, demotivating, discouraging…On the other hand, in some cases I truly enjoyed, feeling proud to be a part of the team, especially if the results would bring some kind of change to the organization and business as usual. And change is a motivator for me.
In short, I’m a teamwork fan. I believe that the work is more productive and that establishing a team brings more benefits than shortcomings.
This is what I have learned what makes teamwork effective:
- Teams should have a team leader. Avoid too many cooks in the kitchen! If team members are lacking guidance, the possibility that final goal will not be accomplished is rapidly increased.
- Find common goal! Team members need to understand what the aim of the project is. This includes deadlines, benchmarks, clear task segregation, etc. Otherwise they may end up in a fog, or as Croatian byword says – as ducks in a fog.
- Bring your strengths together. Learning which skill individual member can bring to the team is half way through. A good team leader can recognize it and encourage members to feel that their unique qualities are contributing to a common goal.
- Teams should be task oriented. Understanding task is key for successful performance. Structuring, planning, organizing and monitoring should not be avoided. Managing time and meeting deadlines is mostly stressful if not well guided.
- Don’t forget relationship building. Time consuming tasks can be an enemy for building relationships. However, it is important for motivation and group cohesion. Creating positive environment, with healthy competition builds relationship and increases productivity.
- Communicate clearly. This sounds as a rather general statement, however often misused. Teams should have regular meetings, depending on the aim and time of the project, it could be on daily, weekly or, depending on a team and timeframe, monthly basis. If this is lacking and each team member is communicating only with team leader, there is a possibility that deliveries are overlapping and common goal is left out of the sight.
- Team members should be a part of decision making process. Involving members to participate in decisions brings more energy, drive and willingness in a team.
- Manage conflicts. In every team (at least according to my experience), conflicts occur. The worst thing to do is sweep it under a carpet, hoping that it will disappear by ignoring it. As we all know, problem do not go away by ignoring but facing it.
- Embrace differences. By this, I mean to learn from members who may appear as non-team players, pessimistic or skeptics. Actually, they can be an added value to the team, by revealing potential problems that enthusiastic members would not think of. Although, they may be appear as a drawback, listening to them can show to be worthy.
- Celebrate! At the end, I suggest to celebrate every team accomplishment, by e.g. visiting a pub and toasting with, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, beer. My choice would be a white chocolate beer, cheers!
by Maja Cakarun
Few articles about teamwork, that you can find interesting: