Developing Functional TeamsDec 29, 2017
A unique dynamic is a part of every team’s makeup, and when deliberately developed, this dynamic includes a synergy where the sum is greater than the parts.
Teams are best able to succeed in accomplishing their shared projects or goals when the individuals can set aside their personal needs for the greater good of the team. This does not necessarily occur naturally in what is often viewed as a competitive business environment.
It is important for leaders to understand that teams are not created through assignments of individuals to a project or goal. This understanding allows leaders to deliberately develop the team through best practices that support success for both the team and the organization.
Working on a team provides an opportunity for each member to learn to work with others in a more effective way. Furthermore, working as a team exposes members to a variety of perspectives regarding the achievement of a task or goal. Teams create a momentum, and if properly managed, this momentum can aid in the development of innovative ideas and concepts.
Effective teams drive individual accountability, foster continued learning, maximize the strengths of each member, and aid in overcoming project obstacles.
What are the characteristics of functional teams? Since teams are nothing more than a group of individuals coming together, it is important to realize that each of those individuals brings with them opinions, desires, and perspectives, along with strengths and personality characteristics that may be challenging to others.
Effective team leaders can identify and convey to each individual their unique contribution, while at the same time establishing collaboration amongst team members and driving the team to the completion of the project or goal.
The success of the team depends upon the leader’s ability to hold these two seeming opposites in perfect balance. The hierarchal structure that is mainstream in organizations today tends to setup a competitive environment. If I am better than you then I stand a better chance of being promoted. Promotion means more money, and more money means a greater stability and greater security, at least in my mind. In this model we are not necessarily rewarded for our “team” contribution.
One of the most important elements in creating a cohesive and functional team includes trust. Trust is developed over time, and using proven practices can aid in speeding up the process of achieving a common goal.
Along with learning to trust, team members must understand how to deal with, approach, and resolve conflict. They must be willing to commit, be held accountable, and focus on the achievement of the goal rather than on differences of individual members.
Team members must also have the skills necessary to communicate effectively with one another. Skills of the utmost importance include both talking and listening.
After years of creating and managing functional and effective teams, I can assure you that the benefits of developing a positive team dynamic far outweigh the “away from the desk” time that it takes to reach this goal.
Millennials are creating a change in the process of how work gets done. One of those changes is the desire to work more in teams while using more technology. This large sector of today’s workforce is accustomed to working in teams and realizes that doing so not only contributes to the overall success of the organization, but also to building a more meaningful, sustainable, and inspiring work environment.
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