A project management approach results in a strong emphasis on teamwork from people from all levels of the organisation. How can you go about building effective teams, quickly?
With effective teambuilding skills, employees can unite around a common goal and generate greater productivity. Without these skills, companies limit themselves and their staff to the effort each individual can make alone.
Team building can lead to:
Do you need to focus more on teambuilding?
Here are a few signals to be aware of:
According to the "Guide to Managing Human Resources" by the University of California, Berkeley, bringing people together to discuss organizational goals does not create a team; neither does a social event or even a crisis which forces people to co-operate for survival. A productive team must be built.
The first rule of team building is: To lead a team effectively, one must first establish leadership with each team member. Remember that the most effective team leaders build their relationships of trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions.
Be aware of employees' unspoken feelings
Set an example to team members by being open with employees and sensitive to their moods and feelings.
Act as a harmonizing influence
Look for chances to mediate and resolve minor disputes; point continually toward the team's higher goals.
Delegate problem-solving tasks to the team
Let the team work on creative solutions together.
Be clear when communicating
Be careful to clarify directives and business objectives. Encourage trust and cooperation
Encourage team members to share information
Emphasize the importance of each team member's contribution and demonstrate how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal. Consider each employee's ideas as valuable. Remember that there is no such thing as a stupid idea.
Communication is the single most important factor in successful teamwork. Facilitating communication does not mean holding meetings all the time. It means setting an example by remaining open to suggestions and concerns, by asking questions and offering help, and by avoiding confusion in communication.
Establish team values and goals; evaluate team performance
Be sure to talk with members about the progress they are making toward established goals so that employees get a sense both of their success and of the challenges that lie ahead. Address teamwork in performance standards. Ask your team the following questions:
Have a clear idea of what needs to be accomplished
Know what the standards are for success; establish clear time frames. And make sure team members understand their responsibilities.
Set objectives, solve problems and plan for action. While it takes much longer to establish consensus, this method ultimately provides better decisions and greater productivity because it secures every employee's commitment to all phases of the work.
Establish a method for arriving at a consensus
Conduct open debate about the pros and cons of proposals, or establish research committees to investigate issues and deliver reports.
Establish the parameters of consensus-building sessions
At the outset of the meeting, establish time limits, and work with the team to achieve consensus within those parameters. Watch out for false consensus; if an agreement is struck too quickly, be careful to probe individual team members to discover their real feelings about the proposed solution.
Set ground rules for the team
These are the norms that the team establishes to ensure efficiency and success. They can be simple directives (team members are to be punctual for meetings) or general guidelines (every team member has the right to offer ideas and suggestions), but make sure that the team creates these ground rules by consensus and commits to them, both as a group and as individuals.
Encourage listening and brainstorming
The first priority in creating consensus is to stimulate debate without aggression. Remember that employees are often afraid to disagree with one another and that this fear can lead a team to make mediocre decisions. Encourage debate to inspire creativity, which will result in better results.