A team is a set up of individuals with different skills who cooperate for a specific purpose. The idea is to work together to achieve an end that can only be achieved through cooperation, and to do so in the best possible manner.
Characteristics of Effective Teams
- There is cooperation through common support
- Rules and principles are consistent, but do not lead to extreme conformity
- New ideas are accepted and viewed objectively
- Commitment to and investment in the project
- Concentration on end results
- Communication and the sharing of resources
- An open, trustful attitude
- High spirits
- Ability to gain agreement and take care of conflicts
Characteristics of Inadequate Teams
- Members who have little investment in the purpose.
- No companionship, and the members do not think they are part of a company.
- No procedures for resolving conflict or fixing situations. Team squabbles and covert discussions are continuous events, creating challenges to cooperation.
- Deficit of openness and trust. Truthfulness is seen as revealing weakness, and giving a competitive advantage.
- No common understanding prevails other than to meet regularly to perform.
- Imprecise role descriptions. Territorial arguments and power battles often occur.
- Uncertainty seeps into individuals for worry of being different.
- People do not speak or share details unless it supports the consensus.
- Whether it’s individuals, equipment, supplies, time, or money, insufficient resources make groups worthless. The situation can lead to squabbling and dissention.
- Low threshold for variety. Under high pressure conditions no opportunity is available to utilize individuals' strong points and address their weak points.
- Lack of support from management. If team members perceive—whether justifiably or not—that management is not encouraging of the venture, then commitment can drop. Individuals think their contribution is not valuable.
- Lethargic team members. The objectives are unexplained or nonexistent. Even if the objectives are identified, no one seems to pay attention to them. Everyone is without aim.
An inadequate team is unfocused, riddled with issues, filled with mistrust, and reeks of negative competition. These conditions reveal themselves in absenteeism and significant levels of aggravation.
There are many ways for supervisors to carry a group and nurture its ability to perform together as a whole.
- By clearly setting out objectives, everyone starts in the same place and is aware of where the project is going.
- Offer each employee a unique description of his or her own obligations.
- Make sure that each employee is trained and outfitted to complete the project at hand. And offer more training, perhaps pairing employees up with a partner so that they can learn new skills from each other.
- Encourage a social relationship outside of work. Employess going for meals or entertainment outside of work hours can relieve tensions within the team and offer opportunities for discussion on the improvement of working relationships.
- Delegate responsibilties. Employees will value the placement of trust and seek the best outcome.
- Give feedback. Staff will feel more secure when they know how you perceive their performance.
- Reward the team for a job well done. This will create a feeling of unity and appreciation for their efforts.
- Deadlines should be reasonable, and lower priority tasks should have their deadlines pushed back to accomodate the deadlines of high priorities.
- Offer rewards for employees willing to work extra hours and take on a larger share of the work.
- Don't encourage covert discussions, or avoidance of the chain of command, as this can create feelings of insecurity in the workplace and ruin the positive environment.