Teams that work do more than teamwork
WHY do some teams perform well while others struggle? How can you assess how effectively your team is working, and identify methods for improvement.
Research shows that 85% of the reasons why teams succeed or struggle has more to do with interpersonal issues than technical competence. But both are needed for effective teamwork, writes Susan Cullen, the president of Quantum Learning Solutions of New jersey, on the website www.quantumlearn.com.
This is Cullen’s checklist to identify the strengths and development needs of your teams:
•\tClear goals. Make sure there is no question about your team’s purpose, function and objective.
•\tClear roles and responsibilities. Clearly specify these in order for people to be accountable for accomplishing their part of the tasks. Misunderstandings and conflicts occur when roles and expectations are not clearly defined.
•\tInformation sharing. For a team to make the best decisions, each member needs to be provided with relevant information. High performing teams do not guard information, they share it freely.
•\tCompetent team members. Competent members need to be in the right position. A talented person can be ill placed, which can throw off the team functioning. Consider both the competency and placement of each member.
•\tValues diversity. We do not all work the same way or have the same styles. This can be a key source of conflict. However, when teams learn to value their differences they can use each other’s strengths. Team-building exercises can help individuals appreciate their diversity and ensure they work together more effectively.
•\tCreative problem-solving. How effectively a team can generate new solutions and focus on the end objective will largely determine their success.
•\tFlexibility. High-performing teams check their progress periodically and adjust their course.
•\tEffective conflict resolution. How teams resolve their conflicts can make or break them. Effective conflict resolution skills that focus on the task at hand, not the individuals, helps teams move forward and redirect their focus.
•\tEffective time management. How teams structure their meetings, and meet deadlines, reflects on their effectiveness. Teams that manage their meetings well perform better and increase the chance of meeting their objectives.
•\tGood morale. Low turnover and longevity is a benchmark of good morale. A team that values the individual as well as the team has the best likelihood of success.
Cape Argus, March 2007