Does effective teamwork impact productivity and financial gain within a company? The answer is yes, at least according to organizations such as YMCA, Harvard University, Dunkin’ Donuts and General Electric, among many others. These companies have come to believe in the power of effective teamwork and have aggressively promoted team building within their organizations.
What is a Team?
A team is a group of people who work collectively toward a common goal.
Successfully performing teams maintain visions, missions and goals:
- Vision: a company’s projected status in 3-5 years.
- Mission: 2-3 sentences describing the team’s objective and how it will be achieved. Often an ethical assertion will be included.
- Goals: prioritized and achievable measures for completing the mission.
Team members must discuss, comprehend and agree to the overall vision and mission.
Why Do Teams Exist?
As the famous saying goes, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Teams are more efficient at accomplishing change, and in a team setting creativity is greatly enhanced, producing incredible results. The positive feelings that most people experience while working on a team generally stimulate development and growth. Merging the efforts and unique talents of individuals to achieve constructive goals can be an extremely positive and rewarding experience, motivating team members to continuously strive for greater successes.
Most team members will generally fall into one of four personality categories. Understanding the individual styles and characters of team members can allow employers to maximize each person’s talents and potential.
- Counselor – Counselor types relate well to people, would rather listen than speak and only speak deliberately after much thought. They are motivated when others relate to them pleasantly and support their feelings. Counselors fear confrontation.
- Analyst – The analytical types are generally self-contained, organized, measured, speak slowly and deliberately and have a system for everything. The pace is slow and systematic, but time management effective. Motivate them by recognizing and discussing their precise and accurate accomplishments and be exacting and detailed with them. Analysts fear embarrassment.
- Entertainer – Entertainers are friendly, open, direct, creative and informative. Speech is fast paced and spontaneous and they enjoy stimulation and new ideas. Employers can motivate them by using visual language, enabling them to entertain, be entertained and supporting their ideas. Entertainers fear boredom.
- Director- Director types “get it done.” They are achievement oriented, self-contained and direct. Speech and actions are fast-paced and to the point. Motivate director types by supporting their goals, acknowledging their achievements and speaking about your own goals. Directors fear loss of control.
Successful teams are fostered when team members maintain respectful, clear communication and entertain willingness to adopt professional attitudes.
Accepting and valuing differences among team members is critical for determining how to manage conflict and maximizing individual potential. Even with an understanding of the diverse individuals an employer encounters, it is important to understand that one cannot possibly control one’s entire environment. An employer should pinpoint where they can have influence and also recognize where they should let go.
Building the Team
How does one effectively build a team?
Define global team goals, and then break them down into smaller mini-goals. In defining each member’s role, consider the various personality types and match up appropriate styles with each area of expertise.
By means of consistent and clear communication, routinely remind teams of their goals, inspire them to reach for new heights, be aware of their individual as well as group contributions and ensure that each member is valued for their integral contributions to the company.