Making Effective Teams

published on March 23rd, 2010 in General Business, Relating to Clients tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Making teams which perform effectively and coherently has been a paramount concern for organizations everywhere. Effective management coupled with sound communication become more important for delegating and managing the teams under you.

team 1 300x199 Making Effective TeamsBuilding a team from scratch is a daunting task – it initiates by learning about your team members. Their competencies and ways of thinking are vital to understanding where they can add value with their current knowledge. Mutual respect and understanding with no blame games can be achieved through openness, frankness and discussing all the issues candidly within the professional boundaries.

It is of utmost importance for the project leader to establish a team synergy which can be achieved once the leader understands his/her team. The leader should have excellent communication skills not only to manage the team, but to delegate tasks effectively and in accordance to what is required of the team.

Expectations with the team should be made clear so that they have clarity of how they are supposed to perform on daily basis. Everyone should feel a part of the team – where everyone’s work as an individual is as important as the rest; it is the team leader’s job to bring coherence and relevance to everyone’s work collectively.

Constant counseling and grooming of the team is helpful making a team who is fully functional and effective in every aspect. Having discussions for constructive ideas, sharing, participating, and actively listening are common traits for a committed and devoted team.  Understand you are part of the bigger picture and seek to find how you can contribute and add value to meet the defined objectives.

Creating team hierarchy and structure at the beginning helps a lot – it not only defines who the team leader is, but also sets out the roles and responsibilities for the team. Giving recognition and incentives within the team is always a good policy. Whether you are contributing the ideas or being the team leader you should view the team leader role as an elected official, not someone ‘in charge.’ The goal of the elected official is to listen to the other’s views and representing them fairly, while maintaining an eye for the greater good (in our case of the project).

The Kelley School of Business teach’s that teams should begin all team exercises by establishing a team contract. The contracts range from a few paragraphs to a few pages but they all consist of a few key guidelines.

  • A mission statement or outline of goals.
  • List of expectations
  • Corrective Action if expectations are not met
  • Signatures of all team members

team 2 Making Effective TeamsDuring my studies I have found these contracts very helpful. Keep in mind the size of the project when determining the depth of the contract. A 1-2 week project might only need a few lines but a year long project may require a strategic plan. Don’t be afraid to experiment to help determine the proper size of your team contracts.

It is always a good idea to empower team members to implement their decisions when they are in line with the organization’s goals and objectives – taking risks and learning is an incredible team building process. Don’t let small mis-communications grow into bigger conflicts. Deal with them as soon as possible and be consistent, just, and compassionate with your approach.

Differences in cultural backgrounds, ages, experience levels and educational levels, can influence the foundations used to make perceptions and judgments. Being open minded to these varying points of view should be encouraged.

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