Achieving Greatness: 7 Strategies for Working with a Team
There is a reason why there is no "I" in “team.” A successful team involves a group of people taking action to achieve a common goal. Teams must be comprised of people who communicate well, establish objectives, and utilize everyone's talents in order to achieve desired results. As you begin working with your team, it is important to create an environment that is not only collaborative but, productive as well. By using these 6 strategies for working within a team, you and your colleagues will achieve great things.
- Get to Know the Team: It's no secret that perfect strangers have a hard time working together. In order to create that collaborative and productive environment, it is important for the team to get to know each other. By learning what makes each of your teammates tick, you will better understand which roles each person is suited for, and which buttons not to push. Think of your team as a puzzle, and each person is a single piece. By finding out the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, you can all work in unison to put the puzzle pieces together. When you find the perfect fit, your team will achieve great things.
- Shared Leadership: The key to a successful team is having strong leadership. (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141014050236-138725871-built-a-team-to-achieve-your-goals-and-objectives) This does not mean, however, that one person is nominated leader based on their position within the company or group. Each person has their own individual strengths and weaknesses. In order for the group to work together as a single unit, each person should have a turn to take lead in the areas in which they excel. Finding a balance in leadership is a crucial component of team building. By allowing each person the chance to shine, the team will learn how to be flexible and communicate more effectively.
- Define Responsibilities and Goals: After you have gotten to know your team you will be able to decide the responsibilities (http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2012/10/01/6-ways-successful-teams-are-built-to-last/#c4ec023268dd) that each person should have. Make no mistake, even though team members may have separate assignments, their role within the project is deeply connected to everyone else's role. Imagine a basketball team; while each player's role on the court is different, they must work together to achieve the common goal of scoring points and winning the game. When each team member understands their responsibilities and how it fits into the big picture, your team wins. This same rule applies to define the goal that the team is trying to achieve. Each person should have a thorough understanding of what the objective of their work is, and how it will benefit the company or group in the long run.
- Ask for Feedback: Most people equate feedback with criticism, which is simply not the case. When working with a team, asking for feedback (https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/performance-management/performance-management-cycle/monitoring/feedback-is-critical-to-improving-performance/) from other team members and leaders is crucial in order to stay on task and produce positive results. Feedback should become a natural part of each team member's communication with each other. Everyone should feel comfortable asking questions about their work, and also giving their team members honest feedback. Feedback is a necessary way to grow as a person and worker. When feedback is utilized in a team environment, the group is able to produce better results and work together more effectively.
- Foster a Creative Environment: People work best when they are able to complete tasks in their area of expertise but, are also able to express themselves creatively. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anush-kostanyan/15-effective-ways-to-moti_b_5854242.html) If you have created an environment based on open communication, team members should feel comfortable expressing new ideas or suggesting alternative ways to complete tasks. Allowing people to bounce ideas off of each other and find unique ways to solve problems, will help them grow into valuable members of the team.
- Hold Each Other Accountable: Just as the team should work together to come up with new ideas and give each other feedback, each member of the team also has the responsibility of holding their colleagues accountable for their work. Since each team member is a piece of the puzzle, their work needs to be consistent and on-task with achieving the overall goal. If one piece of the puzzle goes missing, the big picture is suddenly incomplete. For this reason, each person must look out for their teammates and hold them accountable when their work becomes incoherent, deviates from goals, or lacks originality. Letting other members of the team fail doesn't just affect their personal performance, it affects the integrity and progress of the whole team.
- Reward Success, Avoid Complacency: While the team is working together, each person should get rewarded for their successes. Every one should complement each other's work and acknowledge when someone has a break-through in the project. Continuous praise is an important part of building a team that stays focused on the overall goal. While rewarding success is a necessary part of working on a team, it is important that the team does not become complacent. (www.teambonding.com/complacency-in-the-workplace/) When team members succumb to complacency, their success actually becomes their worst enemy. Complacent employees tend to shirk new responsibilities and fail to cope with change. The key is to find a balance between rewarding the success of the team and fighting the urge to become complacent.
In order for your team to achieve great things, it is important to communicate effectively, acknowledge each other's strengths, and share a common goal. These strategies are a great starting point for team members to work together and produce winning results.