Team Work WorksDoes team work work? I would say ‘Yes’ but only if properly thought through and formulated. What one cannot achieve as an individual, a team can definitely achieve. As many of us might have experienced, a team can be a valuable asset for a company if properly formed and managed and at the same time can also be completely demoralising when badly structured and guided. I personally have had some experience working in both situations – one where a team of complete novices were able to build an excellent high performance product on schedule while on the other case where a number of highly skilled and experienced engineers had a miserable time to design a product due to bad team dynamics.  Given that, it cant be said that the first team that was successful will always be successful. One should remember people evolve and change all the time – so does the team that contains people. So it is completely down to the manager (and also to some level to the team members) to not only manage evolution and fuel growth but also to make sure the team is never over or under qualified for the job.

Recruitment:

The first and foremost activity is team formation. This may include recruitment of new team members or re-using resources who are a part of another team. Before a team is formed, i would recommend first listing the requirements of the project and then equating the requirements of the project to a particular skill or attribute on a personal level. Once this is done, the manager who is involved in recruitment can look for those specific skills in the resource. Other most important thing to look out in a candidate is attitude. I have seen managers recruit the most skilled person with the worst attitude. One should remember that the bad attitude of the candidate recruited will easily offset the excellent skills they posses when they work as a team. I personally would go for a person with better attitude towards work than a person with extra-ordinary skills. This way the person works with the team to achieve better results than working alone to showcase his skills , sometimes with the expense of their team mate’s embarrassment.


Induction:

Once we have people in place, the next logical step for a team is to make themselves at ease with one another. This step is quite important, as mismanaging this would have a deep scar in everyone’s mind that cannot be erased easily.  I have not seen many managers foresee problems at this time – rather they just let the team get along and solve issues when they arise. I personally would suggest formulating “team rules” at this point. These rules should contain Do’s and Dont’s for both as a team and as an individual.  The do’s section should consist of items like challenge ideas – which means everyone is free to question the other person’s ideas regardless of who they are. The moment this is enforced, people tend to loosen their egos a bit and get on to the same level with each other. It is also important to organise regular casual meetings – meeting with no agenda – to enable everyone to talk and understand their style of communication and working.

Team Dynamics:

One other important thing for a manager is to not have preferences within his team. As humans we tend to like or dislike people with similar or different attributes. But a team manager has to be careful enough that his human side doesn’t take over when managing a team of very different personalities with different thoughts and ideas. The manager has to be the pivot point and should carefully balance ideas from various individuals fueling healthy discussions and retarding selfish motives. Apart from this, the manager should have the vision for the project and the team and should infuse confidence in everyone that he represents the team. This i think can only occur if the manager holds himself high up above anyone else and understands he is the authority that can make or break success. Once he makes people believe in him, he is more likely to be followed by all of them and his ideas will get sold much easily.

Performance Evaluation:

Many companies follow a rating system in evaluating performance of employees and mostly it is down to the manager to grade employees based on their performance. Though this idea gives the manager a strong hold to push employees towards a particular team goal by creating fear of awarding bad ratings, the whole situation can be avoided by just recruiting the right people. As most of us are matured and educated and most of us tend to know what is expected out of us, there is very little need to control everyone. By not linking individual performance to salary rises -instead linking teams performance to salary rises or bonus increments, people within the team see each other as an integral part of themselves and would like to pitch in when someone fails to deliver.

Continuous Growth:

Nature has it – Growth. If we don’t grow – be it personally, financially or technically – we don’t feel natural. This is something that needs to be addressed and not disregarded by the management. Understanding every one’s growth priorities and aligning them with the companies growth priorities is the first step towards enabling people to grow in their career. Encouraging employees to look for new options and ideas that could discover newer growth areas for both the individual and the organisation should be a normal affair and not something that the employees should ask for.

Before i finish, i would re-emphasise that “attitude is everything”. If a person with the right attitude to work is selected (of course with some skills relevant to the job) then the whole process of team formation, team shaping and team performance can be smoothly managed. I would also like to mention that being a team player is an art and not many know how to master it. But believe me, if you can then you will reach the stars – if not today – some other day!!

Good Luck.

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© 2012 Exploring uncharted waters Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha