- Current State of Teamwork and Collaboration Part 1
- Top 6 Traits and Best Qualities of Good Teams Part 2
- How to Create a Good Team Part 3
- Effective Team Building Best Practices Part 4
The Current State of Teamwork and Collaboration in the Workplace
- Do you remember the last good team you were a part of?
- What made them ideal to work with?
- What characteristics did they have that made you confident you would reach success?
Free online tools for work:
1. Fluxes.com — Free Project and Task Management Software
2. Status.net — Software for Effective Communication
A penchant for teamwork is a desired trait for most employers, and with good reason. With the advent of more collaborative workspaces and the knowledge economy, employers need workers that are exemplary team members.
However, we know that we like working with people who are excellent team members, but do we know what makes a good team?
J. Richard Hackman, an expert in the field of organizational behavior listed compelling direction, firm structure, and a supportive context as critical to team success.
His viewpoint centered on the external factors that lead to satisfactory collaboration.
Members of the Forbes Coaches Council discussed characteristics such as integrity, open feedback, commitment, trust, and respect. In their analysis of the features of a good team, Stanford University made a point to highlight the importance of valuing dissenting opinions so that a diversity of ideas was considered.
They also noted that each person should carry their weight, and that criticism is a necessary component for teams.
Even though all three of these sources have varying ideas about qualities needed for successful teams, one thing is for sure: groups should be designed to accomplish the goals set before them. While all the above-listed characteristics are not necessary, a good majority of them should be incorporated into successful team building.
While many employers feel that teamwork is a significant quality that all workers should have experience with, many workplaces are falling short in facilitating efficient team building.
According to stats collected by Clear Company, 39 percent of those surveyed did not believe people in their companies collaborated enough. Another statistic gathered revealed that 86 percent of employees surveyed felt a lack of collaboration and internal collaboration could be cited for workplace failures.
A recently published scientific study, Team Genius: The New Science of High-Performing Organizations revealed some exciting new truths about teamwork in today’s workplaces. The investigation revealed that small teams are better than solo endeavors, ideal sizes are between five and nine people, and conflict within groups is essential to identify alternative approaches.
Constructive criticism and communication are suitable for effective team building, but some leaders still might be missing the mark on this, as the statistics above reveal most workers are not satisfied with the state of teamwork in their companies.
Top 6 Traits and Best Qualities of Good Teams
While various characteristics can lead to effective teams, there are qualities that management should ensure they develop into their team building processes.
Each worker should be responsible for their workload and documents they need to complete work.
However, management can set teams up for success if they establish a protocol for teams to find forms and information, and clearly state how they can swiftly communicate with other employees for collaboration.
If workers have to spend the majority of their time searching for this information or finding someone that has the answer they seek, productivity will decrease.
This is not to be confused with leadership.
The above study on the science of high-performing organizations revealed that teams are not as successful when someone is assigned to “lead,” but teams do perform at a higher level when someone is designated to be the manager.
Someone needs to organize how the team will communicate, collaborate, and work through tensions. A good manager can accomplish this.
Many of the leaders mentioned above discussed the importance of fair feedback.
For team members to thrive, they have to be honest about what works and what does not.
There has to be an open flow of transparent communication where workers feel comfortable talking about dissenting opinions.
United Under One Vision
Groups do best when they are united behind one cause and have an eye for the same concept.
They know where they are going and have a plan for how to get there.
Being committed to a vision will help groups get through turbulent times that may hamper other teams who do not have a united goal.
To create an efficient and effective team, leaders should think about people who are versatile and flexible. They can become comfortable in any situation and can function with diverse groups.
Unexpected events can arise for any workgroup, therefore, there have to be individuals on the team who are flexible to fit regardless of the circumstance. This quality will keep the team on track and prevent the probability of failure.
Appreciation for One Another
It is essential that team members know when to encourage one another.
They do not always have to have a personal connection, but they do not to have a mutual respect that allows them to acknowledge what others can bring to the table.
A generous nature makes team members feel valued which creates a positive environment where people feel compelled to perform at their best.
Qualities of Good Teams:
- Communication and flexibility are key, but there are some practical qualities that team members should have.
- Someone (or a couple of individuals) on the team need to have excellent problem-solving skills.
- Each member should also be able to think critically, and always keep the common goal in mind when approaching tasks and projects.
- Also, it is a good idea to look for active listeners, people who think first before speaking and take the time to analyze a situation by seeing what others have to say. These individuals will ensure that no opinion or idea goes without discussion.
How to Create a Good Team
- Get to Know Employees – To understand how to build an excellent team, leaders need to be aware of who is working for them. The only way this can happen is for leaders to spend time with employees to discover their strengths, weaknesses, and overall personalities. This will help them establish the types of teams each is best to work in.
- Make Sure Employees Know One Another – Whether it is through a company retreat, community service project, or work lunch and learns, employees have to get to know one another. Team building activities can also put on display the types of personalities that work well together.
- Establish a Culture of Teamwork – Incorporating collaborative tools where employees can work and talk to one another simultaneously, encouraging the share of information, facilitating programs where employees can cross-train and mentor one another are all things leaders can do to foster a culture of teamwork. Senior leadership should be role models for this behavior, so all employees realize its importance.
- Train Employees on Teamwork Characteristics – Leaders should identify the key teamwork behaviors that work for their organization and have subject matter experts or consultants come in to train workers on how to improve on these characteristics. Everyone is not keen on everything, so leaders can offer opportunities for workers to sharpen their skill sets.
- Set Goals – Teams can focus better if they have goals and objectives set before them. They have to be clear and realistic so teams can reach them. Also, this will give leaders some benchmarks to measure progress against for teams. This will also enable groups to have something to work toward that aligns with business goals.
- Make a Note of Success and Failures – Leaders should acknowledge the work individuals are doing to work together as a team. However, they should also use failures as learning opportunities to see how the team can overcome the circumstance. Along with this, leaders should establish metrics for each group to see how they perform and if they are positively progressing.
Effective Team Building Best Practices
Encourage the team to develop a charter
Documenting the rules for how teams will communicate and operate with one another is essential.
There should be clear expectations set for each member, and individuals should be aware of each one.
Having a charter also allows individuals to be accountable for their behavior if they breach it.
If any conflict or problems arise, leaders can always refer back to it.
Make conflict resolution a priority
When individuals with many different personalities come together, it is inevitable that conflict will arise.
A little conflict is not a bad thing, but prolonged dissension can derail productivity.
This is why conflict resolution training is so vital for all team members.
Establish a culture of innovation
Are workers encouraged to pursue endeavors that might not fit in the status quo but they help the company move forward?
If teams are allowed to come up with creative ways to solve problems, they may be more apt to collaborate and share their ideas with one another and management, further spurring business development.
If this becomes the norm, then managers do not always have to encourage individuals to work in teams, they might feel more compelled to collaborate on their own.
Set aside time for brainstorming sessions
The work day is filled with a lot of responsibilities and tasks, but if teams do not have time to assess their goals and communicate with one another then success is unlikely.
Leaders should allow employees to step away to brainstorm, discuss progress, and meet with leaders to provide updates or ask questions.
For teams to be successful, they have to be given time to learn and grow.
Ensure team members have emotional sensitivity
Regardless of how skilled someone is if they are rude, inattentive, or unable to read the emotions of team members then it may be difficult for individuals to work on that team.
Remembering to take turns while speaking, or maintaining a friendly disposition will go a long way in furthering communication and strengthening team bonds.
Team building is an art, and leaders have to ensure they understand the complexities of the nuances of building a good team. When employees can work well together in groups, they not only increase productivity, but they can also work to create ideas that propel the company forward. In today’s society, members of teams have to be open to diversity, willing to actively listen, and comfortable with being adaptable to any circumstance.
Effective teamwork is all about communicating effectively.
Status.net is a cloud solution for effective teamwork communication. It brings a more light-hearted tone to messaging making it easily digestible, and makes it easy for leaders to provide and receive updates regularly.
How to use status.net to improve teamwork:
- Share team goals and objectives regularly.
- Easily implement regular status updates for your team members by creating a status feed “How did you contribute to the team’s goals this week?”.
- No one forgets to fill in status updates because status.net sends automated reminders according to the recurrence schedule you chose.
- Provide guidance and feedback:
Each status update has a separate section for comments, which is used by team members to clarify information and by leaders to provide guidance and feedback.
- Use status updates for future reference and decrease time and efforts spent on monthly, quarterly, and yearly reporting thanks to powerful filtering and export features.
- Optionally, enrich reports with the latest updates automatically added from web apps your team uses (such as project management tools, version control systems, support systems, financial applications, CRM, etc.) by connecting these apps to your status feed.
- Spend less time on meetings by making them more productive because everyone is on the same page at all times.
- Sharing: Status updates can be either— exported to files and printed, or sent by email;
— shared with manager online; or
— shared online as company-wide or team-wide status reports, i.e., all team members share their progress with each other.
How to configure status updates:
- Create a “Status Update” feed and set up a recurrence.
- Configure who will write and read status updates by choosing the “Participants” tab and then clicking the “Cog” button near “Feed Participants” title.
- Set the status feed as “Team-wide” if you want all team members to view each other’s status updates.
- Alternatively, you can allow access to status updates for certain participants only (such as yourself if you’re a team lead). In this case, turn “Team-wide” mode OFF and restrict viewing by unchecking “View” properties for other participants. Team members with the “View” checkbox unchecked will only be able to view their own status updates.
- If you’re a manager and you don’t plan to share your status updates with your team, uncheck “Update” for yourself – in this case, you won’t receive reminders.
- The Recurrence setting configures how often participants receive email reminders to fill in their status updates. This feature is optional and can be turned off.
- You can add, remove, and assign new team members at any time.
Step 2: The text of the status update should be added to the “Update” field of status feed.
As soon as a new status update is added, participants with “View” rights can view it in real time when they log in to their accounts. They will also automatically receive emails with the full text of status updates.