When you observe some companies, you see their teams working brilliantly and effectively together, while other organisations teams work in silos and lack any kind of cohesion. They could even be called dysfunctional. Effective teamwork can be both profoundly simple and profoundly difficult. Many teams struggle to get the relationships, the interaction, and the task execution right, but their very success depends on these factors.
Regardless of the team, business or organisation, every team has one consistent ingredient – people. And people come with all kinds of different attitudes, values and points of view.
This diverse group of individuals, with different life experiences, work experiences, and varying degrees of success, are thrown together in the workplace and are expected to bring about success on both an individual and team basis – it’s a wonder that formula works at all!
That said, there are some organisations that have managed to construct, motivate and manage teams that deliver far beyond their remit, to the benefit of themselves and the business as a whole. Given appropriate structure, leadership, support and nurture, teams are able to succeed far beyond expectation. A centrally held, totally bought into vision can steer a team to extraordinary success – although sadly, this is not the common outcome in the UK today.
All groups of individuals have basic needs that must be fulfilled if you’re to expect your teams to experience their greatest success. Without knowing and providing for these needs, your chance of both team and individual success diminishes dramatically.
The Top Ten Tips For Successful Teamwork Are:
- The team understand the goals and are committed to attaining them. Clear direction, leadership as well as agreement on mission and overall purpose is vital for effective teamwork. Each person must understand the overall mission as this provides the structure and direction for everything the team achieves. This clarity is reinforced when the business has a clear expectation for the team’s activity, outcomes and contribution.
- There is a positive environment in which the team are comfortable taking calculated risks in their communications, plans and actions. Team members both trust each other and are trusted. Ideas can be challenged, and respectful disagreement is appreciated.
- Communication is open, honest, and dynamic. The team feel free to express their thoughts, opinions, and to bring possible solutions to problems. Everyone feels they have a voice and will be listened to by the rest of the team. Questions are encouraged in the attainment of clarity and everyone listens deeply without belittling colleagues.
- There is a strong sense of belonging. The group experience a deep commitment to the team’s decisions and actions. This feeling of belonging is reinforced when the team takes the time to get to know each other personally as well as professionally. Colleagues become friends.
- Each person is seen as an individual, with irreplaceable experiences, views, knowledge, and opinions, which enhance the team dynamic. After all, the value of forming a team is to take advantage of these differences. Why else would any organization approach projects, tasks, or goals with a team? In fact, the more that a team is able to use these differing points of view, which are thoughtfully presented and factually correct, the better.
- Creativity and innovation are both expected and encouraged. Comments such as, “we tried that and it didn’t work” and “that idea is no good” are not accepted. Each team member recognises the benefit of having a team where every member brings diversity and new ideas to the effort of solving a problem, improve a process, reach a goal, or create something new and exciting.
- The team constantly examines itself and has a strong desire to continuously improve all processes, practices, and interactions within the team. Everyone openly discusses team norms and what could be hindering the ability to develop and progress in areas such as effort, talent, and strategy. There are regular review meetings to assess the team’s progress towards accomplishing the team and company missions.
- The team has procedures for diagnosing, analysing, and resolving teamwork problems and conflicts. Member personality conflicts are not tolerated nor does the team pick sides in a disagreement. Instead, the team works towards resolving any problems for the accomplishment of the overall mission.
- Strong leadership is practiced in meetings, as well as in assigning tasks, recording decisions, assessing progress, assuring team member accountability, and providing direction.
- The team make quality decisions together and have the support and commitment of the group to carry out decisions made. They also gain the support and commitment of management in order to accomplish and communicate progress and success.
For Bespoke, one way we work on building our team efforts is through our support of our Charity Of The Year Prospect Hospice. By coming together socially, we are able to strengthen the bonds which encourage a positive working environment, as well as working towards the common aim of supporting the fabulous work Prospect Hospice undertake on a daily basis.
If all teams are able to work on these ten factors, success and the rewarding sense of teamwork will follow. It’s not always the task at hand that provides the greatest challenge to teams in their progress, it’s the relationships and the daily events that happen. If teams are able to rise above the trench, they can achieve success beyond their remit.
Now you know the success ingredients, there is no reason why you can’t make them happen?