Working Better Together: The Power of Good Teamwork
Working as a team can be the bane of some people’s existence but also the center of many success stories when it’s done right. Teamwork and collaboration is only as strong as the team’s weakest link. The person (or people) who don’t embrace effective teamwork and hinder the flow of progress can cause many road blocks on the road to smooth collaboration. On the flip side, there are many groups who function like a well-oiled machine and embrace the mission and goals of the team.
ClearCompany.com states that 86% of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for work place failures (Salesforce says this percentage can be as high as 96%).
So what can you do to work better together?
Make Effective Communication a Priority:
Communication is #1, whether you are the group leader or a team member. Understanding and embracing the vision and goal as a group, as well as understanding the “whys” can help the group to find a unified purpose. Communicating often and in-person (when feasible) helps to minimize misunderstandings and stumbling blocks. Remember that when you are communicating with someone, it is more for the other person than it is for you, so be clear, concise and respectful in all your communications.
Clearly define the roles and goals:
How can someone know what is expected of them if they don’t have a clear understanding of what we are working towards and how they contribute to the overall success? Also, for the slackers of the group, non-clearly defined roles and goal are an easy excuse to pass off a missed deadline as someone else’s responsibility. Don’t leave the success of your team to chance, clearly define the mission you are all working towards and the roles and responsibilities each member will assume.
Hold the team accountable for their progress:
It’s not always about just divvying up the work and hoping your team will run with the ball. It is about holding the members of your team accountable for milestones/progress/duties and checking in with each other often to measure the progress against your deadlines. Don’t expect to give your team a clearly defined goal, and deadline that’s 6 months away, and not check in with them periodically – this is just a recipe for disaster. Some things may come up over the course of the project that may require some adjustments or quick thinking – it is better to identify those issues or changes as soon as possible and re-distribute the work load or help your team to overcome their obstacles.
Learn “how” to work together:
Everyone is different and everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Different personality types communicate and contribute in different ways. Learn how people like to contribute and emphasize their strengths. Learn who likes to contribute in the background and who thrives on being in the limelight. Don’t penalize or look down on a team member who may not be extremely vocal in a group setting, but will approach people individually with ideas or suggestions.
There are many benefits to be found from a successful team who can work well together, like:
- Combining strengths of others to split the work load effectively among many
- Brainstorming creatively, getting different viewpoints on a topic than what you could come up with alone
- Encouraging frank, honest, and open communication to promote a trusting environment