Effective teamwork is at the heart of every organization's success. Whether you're running a digital agency, a basketball team, or even a dungeons and dragons campaign, chemistry makes your teams great. Therefore, it's no wonder that most modern businesses center on understanding the characteristics of effective team management and what makes it tick. And there's no better way to learn than by constant practice and testing.
One of the critical leadership competencies for any organization is the ability to build and lead high performing teams. This is especially critical for small and medium-sized businesses where people must work closely together. Your team members will often wear many hats and work effectively across the organization to do every task as quickly as possible. To establish the most effective teamwork possible, it's crucial to work on the following aspects of your team organization:
Setting a Clear Direction
Organizations are often in a big hurry to get a move on their projects and deliver them as quickly as possible. The battle with the clock often leads to project teams getting pulled together without deciding on the goals and desired outcomes first. You just want to get started.
Goals, direction, and a clear sense of purpose unify the group. When you have goals, everyone will know why the team exists. You should also do everything in your power to make those goals as clear and understandable as possible. Make decisions about team goals and desired outcomes first; give your team a clear direction, and allow the flexibility to develop the best way to reach the result.
Open and Honest Communication
Communication and chemistry go hand in hand. Communication is a crucial part of building a sense of belonging and camaraderie between team members. On the other hand, the failure to communicate effectively within the team is the cause of a multitude of teamwork problems.
The way your team communicates in terms of frequency and freedom is the determining factor for team effectiveness. The more often and more freely you talk to your fellow team members, the more you will promote and encourage sharing insights and ideas. And that's one of the main reasons modern businesses invest so much in communication and collaboration tools.
Support for Risk Taking and Change
Risk-taking and experimentation in pursuit of change and improvement are some of the staples of effective teams. You should openly support it. You will not always be right, but even mistakes are an opportunity to learn. By promoting this mindset and helping your team get aboard the initiative, your team will be able to do amazing things.
Even though the roles might shift within your team after you start operating, it's essential to understand the skills and competencies needed to reach your goals. Therefore, you should have a good handle on those roles before you begin staffing. A bunch of individuals doing their own thing on their own is not a team. Effective teams are collaborative and supportive entities.
Effective teams can notice the problems when they arise and start problem-solving before they escalate. They are not happy when elephants are sitting in the room. It's crucial to define and accept responsibility both as an individual and as a team.
This way, problem-solving is not turned into a blame game. A clear overview of everyone's contributions and performances is essential when problems arise. When you succeed - you should also be accountable for your team's success and celebrate it together.
The Big Book of Team Culture
Communication is the cousin of chemistry. In any team, communication is crucial to building a sense of camaraderie between members. The content of the discussion is somewhat irrelevant. Instead, the manner of communication — how freely and frequently team members communicate — determines the team's effectiveness. Put simply, the more freely you talk to your fellow team members, the more comfortable you are in sharing insights and ideas. This is just one primary reason modern businesses emphasize communication and spend significant time each year on social communication and collaboration tools.
A Common Goal
One of the ultimate objectives and probably a chief characteristic of an effective and successful team is setting the mutual goal above individual agendas and interests. Although setting and reaching their own targets is paramount for personal morale, the only way for an organization to function effectively is to understand and work with a common purpose. Ultimately, shared goals are the fuel that pushes each team member's productivity.
A Melting Pot of Differing Opinions
Although agreeing on a common goal is of the essence, it shouldn't come at the cost of suppressing alternative ideas and opinions. All teams have conflicts, which are not problems in and of themselves. These conflicts become a problem only when they go unresolved or cause a significant toll on the people involved - mostly in terms of stress and fatigue.
Diverse opinions stir the pot of creativity and help your team unearth new perspectives and ideas. You'll often find that you can uncover those "out-of-the-box" ideas only if you threaten the status quo.
Close collaboration is a characteristic shared by every successful team, whether it's the leadership team in a multi-national corporation or a starting lineup of your favorite NBA franchise. In essence, the idea is pretty straightforward: more communication and more collaboration lead to a more fruitful creative process. After all, it's all about the bottom line and the final result. Working together often means very little if the team doesn't communicate.
Trust Above Everything
Whether we're talking about your team members being able to trust each other or your team believing in the goals and processes set before them - trust is the foundation of success. Trust comes as a result of effective communication. If you've given your team members the ability to express and communicate their arguments freely, you'll see your team trusting each other and standing up for each other. This notion is one of the main reasons why team-building exercises often focus on putting team members in positions of trust. You want your team members to value the team they're in.