Team Effectiveness - Hints and Tips

Effective teams make work a more positive place and increase motivation and morale. When a team has a sense of belonging, identity and connection, it enables the different individuals to pull together, for the common aim. We can all recognise teams that are ineffective and are not working to the same aims and goals.

 

You may have worked in an ineffective team at times and can remember how it affected your performance. How demotivating and demoralising it can be. We can all recognise it in politics and sport, when a team becomes ineffective, it lacks direction and fractious. This can often be down to poor leadership or the fact that the team members are so different or have varying agendas, they are never going to work together in an effective manner.

 

If a team is going to be effective, the team must consider a range of issues as to how it works it and they way it handles certain situations. These include:

 

  • Progress - Management and monitoring of the team’s actual progress compared with where the plan says it should be.

 

  • Conflict - How the team manages conflict internally and externally.

 

  • Communication - There is good communication within the team and then team is kept informed. Individuals give each other feedback and have social communication.

 

  • Decisions - The team is empowered to make decisions and has processes and mechanisms to achieve in place. How to reach decisions (e.g. consensus mechanisms).

 

  • Fire-fighting - When there is a crisis the team, is it able to respond, however firefighting is an occasional rather than continual activity.

 

  • Failures - When there is a failure there is no blame culture. There is collective responsibility and lessons learned, so that improvements can be made.

 

  • Goals - There is a mixture of short, medium and long term objectives, that focus effort & improve commitment and demonstrate that results are being achieved.

 

  • Successes - When there are successes, positive points are reinforced and developed.

 

  • Changes - Both within the project (e.g. re-planning) as well as organisational changes such as re-structures.

Team Effectiveness - Characteristics

 

  • Atmosphere – This tends to be informal, comfortable and relaxed. It is a working atmosphere in which people are interested and involved, there are no signs of boredom.

 

  • Discussion – Everyone participates but it is pertinent to the task.

 

  • Task – the objectives of the work is understood and accepted.

 

  • Listen – Members listen to each other. Every idea is given a hearing.

 

  • Disagreement – The group is comfortable with this and does not avoid conflict. There is no suppression situations are resolved.

 

  • Consensus – Most decisions are reached by consensus, there is general agreement. There is very little formal voting.

 

  • Criticism – frequent, frank and relatively comfortable. There is little evidence of attack.

 

  • Feelings – people feel free to express their feeling and their ideas. There are few hidden agendas.

 

  • Action – clear assignments are made and accepted.

 

  • Domination – the chair or leader does not dominate and nobody defers unduly to him. There is no struggle for power.

 

Team Effectiveness - Skills

 

An effective and well-balanced team should possess a range of skills, so that the different roles within the team can be fulfilled. Some of the skills that are needed include:

 

  • Communication – verbal & written.

 

  • Management – of themselves and others.

 

  • Analytical – problem solving.

 

  • Motivation – of themselves and others.

 

  • Business knowledge and technical expertise aware – focused on the business needs.

 

  • Influencer and networker – both inside and outside the team

 

  • Creative and ideas person

 

  • Team player and socialiser

 

  • Evaluator to ensure that things are done in the right

 

Each member of the team should be aware of the skills possessed both by themselves and by the others within the team.

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