Teams are a complex entity. Put diverse personalities in a group together and what happens is anyone’s guess. There maybe times it results in a train wreck, other times a little magic is formed.
The first thing to realise is that not every group of people is a team, nor needs to be. A group of people form a team when they are dependant on each other to deliver the result, the purpose of them coming together. The essence of teamwork is the knowledge that collaboration is essential, that without the team, the one cannot breathe or survive.
So how do you ensure that the people you have onboard can function as a team, or better yet can unleash that magic force?
There are a certain number of criteria that most organisational psychologists and business experts will agree on. To create a team you must have the following:
A Common Purpose
Nothing brings people together better than a common goal. When people come together to achieve the same outcome you are more likely to find cohesion and collaboration. When all members of a team are inspired towards that common goal they will be motivated to share and grow together.
A Clear Leader
Although there are many groups that function well without a defined leader, a leaderless group can quickly deteriorate into chaos. Leadership doesn’t have to be fixed, it doesn’t have to command a hierarchy, it could rotate regularly but there should always be someone taking the control, driving things forward.
Clear roles are essential for clarity, productivity and accountability. Understanding the scope and the boundaries of your position ensures you don’t overwork but also that you are pulling your weight. The best way to become productive is to have clarity on your priorities and responsibilities. Clear roles can aid accountabiity.
Accountability is important to encourage progress and also for team trust and respect. When team members understand each other’s roles and are able to hold each other accountable for their responsibilities, teamwork tends to run more smoothly.
A Communication Tool
It’s obvious that communication is key to any working relationship but how we communicate is essential for productivity and efficiency. Email is not the place to have team conversations about team tasks. The best place to have these conversations is in a team tool. There are many great tools on the market, Asana, Basecamp, Slack or newer ones hitting the scene everyday like Uskape.com. Whichever tool you chose, commit to it for a couple of months to get the true value.
A Positive Attitude
With a positive attitude there are no barriers, problem solving becomes an interesting challenge and roadblocks melt into background. Teams with a can do attitude will be more connected and achieve more together. Creating a culture of acceptance, respect and friendliness will encourage positivity and happiness in the workplace;
Because ultimately a happy team is a productive team.
Photo Credit: Cooperation by Marina del Castelle via Flickr