Effective teamwork is what makes organizations succeed. Much of modern business thinking is centred on understanding the chemistry of what makes effective teamwork tick. And the best way to learn … is by doing.
A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
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More often than not, effective teamwork is built on the following characteristics:
- Clear direction
Sometimes, organizations are in such a hurry to move on their projects that they pull together groups of people without first deciding on the goals and desired outcomes. So decide on team goals and desired outcomes first. Use it for clear direction for the team you select.
- Open and honest communication
Communication is the close brother of chemistry. In any team, communication is crucial to building a sense of camaraderie between members. The manner of communication — how freely and frequently team members communicate — determines the effectiveness of the team. Put simply, the more freely you talk to your fellow team members, the more comfortable you are in sharing insights and ideas. This is just one major reason why modern businesses emphasize communication and collaboration tools.
The most important part of communication is listening. Listening is not just a way to find things out. It’s also a sign of respect. To send the message that your conversation partner is valuable. Listen as you mean it. Demonstrate that you’re listening. Paraphrase, re-state and react to what you hear. Ask for clarification. Get involved.
- Mutually accountable
Teams accept responsibility as individuals and as a team. They don’t blame one another for team mistakes and failures. No one should spend any time, useless time, in personal justifications. They should celebrate their successes together and recognize special performances and contributions that each team member makes to the total work of the team.
- Common goals
A chief characteristic of any successful team is that members place the common goal above individual interests. While scaling individual targets is great for personal morale, teams succeed when they understand, appreciate and work with a common purpose.