It’s hard to imagine that at some time in the course of your work, you have not been a part of a team. Perhaps it’s overall company or departmental management. Perhaps it’s an adhoc team put together for a specific and special project. Regardless of the nature of it, you’re charged with a collective responsibility to understand the intended goal(s) and devise the most efficient method of achieving it/them.
This week, in working with a special project team, the issue of team effectiveness arose big time. Everyone who was a part of it knew what their job was in general. They even had a pretty clear idea in terms of what the intended goal was for their efforts. However, as it was revealed, there was little of any understanding or respect for the others who were a part of the group. They discovered that the apparent lack of a sense of a unified effort and understanding as to why some of the others were even on the team impacted the overall effort and definitely the achievement of maximized results and success.
Unfortunately, this situation is not uncommon. In questioning some designated leaders as to what they have done to build a feeling of comradery within the team the answer varies from ‘nothing’ to ‘who has time to worry about that? We have to get this done and now!’ I realize that time is money. I also realize that missed targets or settling for ‘less than’ is money as well and it’s that connection that seems to get attention of those embarking on a successful team effort.
There are some very important and basic steps that, when taken, will impact and enhance the results of the efforts that your team sets out to achieve. An article in the Huff Post written by Rosalind Cardinal identified the following as key ingredients for enhanced team success that I have drawn upon here:
- Establish Clear Leadership
Who is in charge? If that’s you, gaining the trust and respect of your ‘team’ is extremely important as a means of setting the tone. Having members of the team believe that they are able and capable of moving forward whether or not you are ever-present for each step and each moment is empowerment with results payoff.
- Develop an individual relationship with each of the team members
Perhaps you think you know each person because you’ve seen them at work. However, now as a part of a team that you oversee coming to understand what motivates them, things they like and dislike about the work, can prove to be invaluable to the team for it allows them to be used in their areas of strength and expertise.
- Work to build strong relationships among the team members
Creating opportunities for members of the team to get to know one another and come to appreciate each teammate as a person as well as a co-team member improves communication, trust and cooperation among them. That they come to expect and accept that there may be conflicts that arise makes their occurrence less of an impact and enhances the willingness to address them among themselves or using a mediator.
- Promote and Model Teamwork
With the building of relationships among team members the groundwork has been laid for their ability to work together as a team. Effectiveness is affected by the willingness of members to share information amongst themselves. Communication within the team is another contributor to success. It is aided by making the communication of ideas and suggestions along with a willingness to offer assistance to other team members when it is appropriate. The impact is to help the team move closer to the goal in the best possible way.
- Establish basic operating rules for the team
So many of the ‘to do’ things listed above are key. As important is that all participants see and accept their individual responsibility to maintain the effort through the duration of the work intended to be accomplished. As time moves forward, team members will come to a place of increased trust as well as a willingness to support others as they can. They will understand that their individual job is to be an interested and involved member of the team and anything less is to jeopardize the degree of success that can be achieved.
I’ve had some suggest that doing the likes of things indicated above would be a waste of valuable time. Some call it ‘fluff’ that has no place at work. And some just resist the idea that taking the time to forge and maintain relationships with team members has any real impact when it comes to getting the job at hand done. And you know what? They might just be right if getting the work done’ is all they’re after. However, if doing the work and achieving the highest level of success with maximum results is the true goal of the organization and the team, then taking the time to create team comradery, respect and trust is the foundation on which success can realistically be built and anticipated.