Effective Team Working
Mostly, people don't work alone. Instead, they work in small teams. The team may be just two people, such as Tom and Jerry, Ant and Dec, Starsky and Hutch, or the team may be larger, like Manchester United, or larger still, the NHS or larger again, NATO.
But the point is, we don't live as individuals, we live as individuals operating within a larger team.
There are numerous advantages to working in a team, as opposed to working as a solo performer.
- More people out-work fewer people, simply because ten men can exert more horsepower than one.
- Teams have more brain power. More ideas. More knowledge. More skills. More experience, than one man or woman standing alone.
- Teams can specialise. Your team could specialise on sales, and my team could specialise on product design.
- Teams can keep working, 24.7.365. Individuals can't do that.
So, this is why working in a good team has definite advantages. But, working in a team does not necessarily mean that you are working in a GOOD team.
In fact, you may have had the horrible experience of working in a bad team; a malfunctioning team. So, rather than working as a highly advanced, well-oiled machine, the members of a malfunctioning team tend to fight amongst themselves with bitter internal struggles, power-plays and character clashes. When that happens, you can say goodbye to all the advantages of team working.
How can you make sure that your team is a good team?
In order to ensure your team is efficient, you can provide them with the three things all teams need to function effectively:
- A clear, specific, shared goal.
- A practical well designed plan.
- A leadership that inspires a positive mental attitude.
1. A clear, specific, shared goal
Teams are teams because they share a common goal, and the more agreed they are on the goal, the more cohesive the team becomes.
If there is confusion or disagreement over the goal, then the team will fragment.
Team spirit is created when all are agreed on the goal, which will enable them to overcome many obstacles. This is why, during times of trouble, the communities often pull together and a greater sense of unity develops. (For example look at what happened recently in Brussels with the slogan, 'We are One').
The morale of the story is this, if you want to generate a good team spirit, then decide and agree the goal, and communicate the goal to everyone who needs to know.
2. A practical well designed plan
Wanting to reach the stars is not enough. You are going to need a good plan.
Teams will coalesce around a good plan. They won't coalesce around an ill-thought out plan.
Don't ask people to give you their commitment to a plan that has been hastily drawn on a napkin.
If you want peoples trust, then you will need to earn it. the price you need to pay is time and effort drawing up a practical plan of action.
Wanting to save the steel mill is not enough. You need a practical plan of action.
Goals with no plans are delusions. Goals with solid plans are a powerful force for creative change.
The moral of the story is this; If you want to generate a good team spirit, then take the time, and make the effort, to figure out a detailed, written plan of action, and then communicate the plan to everyone who needs to know.
3. Leadership that inspires a positive mental attitude
Even a well-designed, detailed plan of action will fail, if there is insufficient motivation, enthusiasm and positive belief put behind it.
The leadership must be made up of people who have the ability to inspire the team to take action, in spite of the inevitable setbacks and defeats that will be experienced along the way.
It is best if the positive mental attitude is exuded from the top down. Meaning; the team leaders should be people who can inspire enthusiasm, motivation and positive belief. Not through the use of threats, but rather by means of a positive expectation, some role modelling and by setting a fine example.
- We all need inspirational leaders.
- We all need a good plan.
- And we all need a vivid goal.
If any one of these three are missing, then the team will malfunction. With these things combined, the various personalities in the team will pull together and the team will work like an efficient, fully functioning, well oiled, machine.
If you want to attend a course that covers all these aspects of team development training, please take a look at our Leadership and Management training course.