The last published blog addressed the importance of enhancing the effectiveness of an organization’s management team to maximize success. If you missed it you can read it here. Yet the effectiveness of a person or team leading any part of an organization is just the important beginning. Once achieved, the way in which that individual or team interfaces with the group they oversee is the determiner of the ultimate level of success.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE TEAMS TO BE FOSTERED BY LEADERS
There are several key characteristics that identify and define successful teams. Implementing and making certain they are utilized as intended is the overall responsibility of leadership. These include the following:
- Clearly Identify the Purpose and Goals of the Team – Every team member must clearly understand why bringing this particular group of individuals were brought together.
- A Planned Approach – Help the team determine what advice, assistance, training, materials, and other resources may be needed. Then take steps to make these things available.
- Defined Roles & Responsibilities – Teams operate most efficiently if they tap everyone’s talents. All members understand their own duties and know who is responsible for what.
- Sharing of Information – the breakdown of silos. Effective discussions depend upon how well information is passed between team members – hoarding information cannot be tolerated. A proliferation of new technologies has made this easier than it has ever been.
- An Agreed Upon Meeting Format – All team members must commit to a common method for conducting meetings. There is no ‘best’ method, but everyone must be on the same page.
- How Decisions Will Be Made –There is no ‘one way’ to reach a decision, but it must be a recognized path and transparent to all team members.
- Participation By All as Necessity – Since every team member has a stake in the group’s achievements, everyone should participate in discussions.
- Use Consensus in Decision Making Where Possible To reinforce the value seen on a highly productive team means putting value on the opinions of all. The win is that the team moves forward having buy-in from the members given the opportunity each has had to provide decision making input.
- Established Rules and Approaches as To How Team Will Function – Groups invariably establish ground rules (or “norms”) for what will and will not be tolerated within the group. Many members will want to skip the laying of ground rules, but in the long run investment up front will head off major issues down the road decisions, share commitment to the team’s success, and contribute their talents.
HOW LEADERS KNOW THEY HAVE A TEAM DESTINED FOR SUCCESS
If you question how effective your team actually is, ask team members to openly and honestly respond to a few statements about effectiveness. Openly discussing the responses can then help you identify areas where team development is needed. You are asking them the degree to which they strongly agree or disagree with these statements. This exercise can also be a useful tool to help pinpoint concrete steps to take to improve your team’s functioning.
- Meaningful & shared purpose
All team members feel a common and meaningful sense of purpose behind the project and are clear on its value. Team plans and goals are clear, well formulated, and measurable.
- Clear roles & organization
Team members clearly understand their individual roles and responsibilities on the team. Team members are given sufficient authority and autonomy to perform their work responsibilities effectively.
- Well-defined work processes/procedures
Appropriate policies, mechanisms, and systems exist to coordinate and control the flow of work among staff. The team members feel that their contributions are fully heard and appraised.
- Open communication The team shares information appropriately and keeps members informed. As a team, they confront conflict and work through it constructively rather than avoid it.
- Effective problem-solving/ decision making
Our team achieves a high level of synergy when solving problems and making decisions. Group decisions are made using high-quality information and structured problem-solving processes.
- Atmosphere of Creativity/Innovation
Creative ideas are encouraged and supported within our group
There is a willingness to experiment with new ideas and new ways of doing things.
- Supportive relationships within and among the team members
The group respects and values the diverse talents and contributions of its’ members. Team members actively support one another and help one another succeed.
- Ongoing feedback/ Evaluation
The appropriate amount of time is spent on reviewing what the team does, how it works, and how to improve it. Team problems are openly acknowledged as areas for improvement and addressed.
Periodically assessing how the team is functioning as a unit is very important. It enables all to know that they are continuing to operate by the characteristics that stand to insure their successful performance. If a particular assessment indicates that something(s) is not where it needs to be for optimal performance, the particular issue(s) can be quickly addressed and rectified. Staying on track is a challenge to be recognized. The fix is relatively easy compared to the risk of ignoring it. The reward is hitting the intended goals by creating strong, intentional leadership in combination with a purposeful and highly coordinated team. That’s the pathway to true winning!
Debra Sunohara – COO of Delta Partners – Ottawa, Canada – 9 Ingredients of Effective Teams
UC Berkeley – People and Culture – Steps to Building An Effective Team: TEAMWORK