Team work is integral to the success of any organisation. On the contrary, a bad team can cause unwanted disruptions and strategic failures. Team building is a process that requires attention and care although fostering the right spirit of team work might take time. The emphasis on process and not an annual offsite or a town hall. Two very important factors in efficient team formation are a well thought out team orientation process and a clear team charter. When the members of a team properly understand the what why and how of their goals, it has an impact on their performance. When you start work with your team, it can be helpful if you set a small rule-book of your own. Spend about 20 to 30 minutes with your team and collectively create a Code of Conduct. It can be a good way to welcome new members and bring them up the curve.
Supervising a group of grown-ups is really not an easy task. As adults, we have a tendency to believe that we are always right, and we do not want to change. A team consists of different people with different temperaments, different behavioural traits, different specialities and varying work ethics. Thus, conflict is inevitable in team work. Allowing such differences to get out of hand causes unnecessary disruptions and leads to breakdowns in working relationships. Group members and more importantly team leaders should have basic knowledge of conflict resolution. And eventually help others understand conflict resolution.
As a team manager, you need to acknowledge that all your team members have intelligence, creativity and imagination. You can make the best use of these resources by showing them that you value their opinions. To get the best out of your team at work you must practice all that you preach. If you ask your team members to come to office on time, you must be punctual yourself. Occasionally, hold leadership training workshops that can equip your team to create an engaging work environment, thus boosting working relationships and confidence levels to contribute more at work. This can also be done through fun employee activities.
Try to be a member rather than being a leader. Work with your team. It is advisable that you do not try to boss around. Prove you are superior to your team members through your work and not through your attitude or designation. Be inspiring, not intimidating. Each member in your team should be able to come up to you and give in their ideas without the fear of being insulted or humiliated or being turned down. Let everyone speak. It is wise not to allow a few to dominate the group. If that happens, it is the responsibility of the leader to provide everyone with equal opportunity within the group.
Welcome comments and suggestions from your group members, encouraging working relationships. Even when you give some ideas, allow your team members to give their comments to make it better. Every group will almost inevitably have a few introverts. Help them to express themselves through team building activities. This process makes it comfortable for the to come out from their shell.
Allow breaks. Both the human body and the brain need some rest. A small recess after a fruitful session of hard work does not hurt. It is rejuvenating and would help your team members perform better. These breaks can also be in the form of team building activities. The biggest hindrances to progressive work are miscommunication within the team and internal creative conflicts, which eventually and certainly lead to lower collective output and poor results. A tired and stressed team cannot produce results. Under such circumstances a team leader can bring back the focus of the team by reinforcing the collective goal.
A very effective method of improving people’s performance is by providing information to team members about individual performance and the overall performance of the team. Care should be taken that this information is not conveyed in a manner that causes resentment or animosity. Do not point out individual drawbacks in front of the whole team. Discuss separately with each member of your team. Comparison within a team can lead to bitterness among group members. Team work is all about collaborative effort while not disregarding the contribution of any member.
Although there is no ‘I’ in a team, it is crucial to understand that a team is made up of individuals. Building and honing the skills in individuals that are congruent with the needs of the team are critical to the good performance of a team. A leader needs to understand that individual goals are as important as team-goals and must ensure goal alignment between the same. Collaborating and understanding the key issues facing the team is also very important. Cohesion ensures that members in a group work collectively towards the same goal. That is when team-work leads to success. Finally, when a project is complete, do not forget to say ‘Thank You’ to your colleagues and appreciate their hard work. Do not forget to celebrate success because every milestone counts!
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