Developing Effective Teams

Food for thought …

• 81% of the Fortune 500 companies are building at least partially team-based organizations

• More than half of the Fortune 500 companies use some formal work teams as part of their operations

So, what is a ‘Team’?

A Team is not just a group of people for administrative convenience.

A Team is a group of people coming together to collaborate. Where this collaboration is to reach a shared goal or task for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

It is a group with a higher degree of interdependence geared towards the achievement of a common goal or completion of a common task.

There is a lesson we can learn from geese which provides a perfect example for the importance of team work and how it can have a profound and powerful effect on any form of personal or business endeavour.

Have you ever noticed that geese always fly in a V-formation when flying south for the winter? It’s a simple science that we can learn from these extraordinary birds which can be related to the corporate environment and building effective teams.

Some of the key lessons are:

• “Flying in formation” gives the geese 71% extra range. This translates to the fact that when people share a sense of ‘team’ and trust each other more, they are more likely to get to where they are going (success) more easily. This also helps build teams that are more powerful.

• “Staying with the flock” ensures reduction of geese falling out of formation and thus losing momentum and lift. This translates to people being responsible for giving and receiving help from others in the team. This strengthens loyalty within the team and towards the organization as a whole.

• “Rotating the lead” – when the lead goose gets tired and drops back, another moves in to carry the role. Here people learn to share hard tasks and respect each other’s skills and abilities.

• “Honking to encourage others” so that the geese ahead keep up the speed. People thrive on encouragement and appreciation. This is a simple equation of ‘Honking = Productivity’ and ‘Good Honking = More Confidence’.

• “Standing by each other” in times when a goose falls ill and has to fall out of formation, two others will fly down to help. Team strength is best tested in good times and bad. And, by standing by each other in these times helps build these bonds.

Now, as simple as these concepts appear, they stem for some rather critical factors. Some of which are:

• Goal and Role clarity

Defined roles help create a sense of accountability and reduce overlapping of responsibilities. This coupled with the effective use of SMART (Specific/Measureable/Attainable/Relevant/Time-bound) goal setting ensures the smooth and seamless operation of an effective team.

• Participation

No team can function effectively unless there is active participation from all team members. This ensures equal distribution of the workload and also reduces the development of resentment towards each other for overloading of tasks on any one person within the team.

• Commitment and Co-operation

A high level of commitment to the task and co-operation amongst the team members is essential to develop an effective team, without which the team may lose focus of the end goal and lead to delayed deadlines and overall dissatisfaction.

• Open and honest Communication

To help develop mutual respect among the team members and to ensure the effective delivery of feedback (positive and constructive), a two-way medium of open and honest communication should always be maintained. This includes the use of appropriate communications tools like choice of words, tone of voice, body language, etc.

• Solution approach

In addition to a ‘team’ being considered as a group pf people working towards a single goal, it is also a treasure trove of new and innovative ideas and solutions. Utilising the resources within the team to approach any situation with a solution is critical to cementing the bond within the team.

People in every workplace talk about building the team, working as a team, and my team, but few understand how to create the experience of teamwork or how to develop an effective team. Belonging to a team, in the broadest sense, is a result of feeling part of something larger than yourself. It has a lot to do with your understanding of the mission or objectives of your organization.

In a team-oriented environment, one contributes to the overall success of the organization. We work with fellow members of the organization to produce these results. Even though one has a specific job function and belongs to a specific department, we are unified with other organization members to accomplish the overall objectives. The bigger picture drives everyone actions; their function exists to serve the bigger picture.

Diahann, author of the e-book “Training the Prism: My Spectracular Journey” has over 7 years of training experience in both India and the UAE. This ranges from Customer Service, Soft Skills, Speech Enhancement, Voice & Accent, Behavioural and Leadership training. As a trainer, her key points of focus are Communication and overall presentation in any situation. Diahann has also worked closely in training content design and development, in addition to mentoring, feedback and coaching.