A few weeks ago, I attended the Toastmasters International District 91 autumn conference. The conference had rave reviews from people who enjoyed the event. From the workshops, the music to the ambience and the food, everything was done well and well organised.
I attended another event hosted by a different organisation a week later and the contrast was evident.
Everything seemed to go wrong on the night of this event. There was confusion about the program for the evening, some entertainment acts were missing, and the event started and ended late.
Simply put, there was a big difference in how well each team worked.
For some people, working in a team creates nothing but challenges, while for others, the idea of working with others is both enjoyable and productive. I thrive and I’m more productive and effective when I work as part of a team.
Good teamwork is highly prized because of a number of benefits that putting employees into teams can provide. These benefits include:
- Increased productivity through synergy of effort
- Increased customer satisfaction through improved customer service
- Increased job satisfaction through increased employee empowerment
Of course, teamwork doesn’t always go as planned, and at times working in teams actually hinders productivity. For example, with Team B above, it could be argued that they were less effective as a team than they would have been if they were working as independent individuals.
How to reap the benefits of a team
You can avoid the pitfalls of bad teamwork and reap the benefits of a more productive team by taking the time to understand how a team works and then making available the tools that will help your team function.
Here are five ways to help your team to become more efficient and productive:
#1. Have clear goals
For a group or team to work effectively, you must ensure that goals are clearly expressed and explained. By outlining your goals, it will be much easier to track progress and make people accountable for progress towards those goals. With clear goals, progress can be broken down to milestones to ensure that everybody stays on track.
#2. Establish clear communication
A team’s overall effectiveness and productivity depends greatly on how well the team members communicate. Communication between your team members should be clear, and you should use agreed-upon methods and schedules to achieve maximum efficiency. Without good communication, it’s easy for misunderstandings to take place, which will greatly affect the efficiency of any group. With clear communication, issues that arise are addressed as quickly as possible, and little time is wasted.
#3. Time frames and deadlines
Setting reasonable time frames and deadlines is important to ensure the effective running of a team. Each team member should have a deadline or time frame for each action or deliverable for which they are responsible. These deadlines will help the group to deliver the overall or larger goals within the groups agreed schedule.
Deadlines are necessary because they give focus to both the overall group and individual group members and they allow people to plan and to manage their time properly to deliver the best work possible.
#4. Proper assignment of roles/successful delegation
Proper assignment or delegation of roles or tasks to team members is another important aspect of good team dynamics. Each team member should be assessed in terms of their knowledge, skills, and expertise in order to find their strengths. Tasks should then be assigned to team members as best matches their skills in order to achieve the team goal in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
By matching skills to tasks, you are ensuring that each task is completed to its maximum potential.
#5. Know your team members
Another tried and tested method of improving group dynamics is to learn about your team members. In particular, it is important to identify the positive and negative group roles that your team members may play in order to help plan for possible issues in the future.
You should endevour to create an environment that encourages the building and nurturing of healthy relationships within the team.
Working in a group doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a bit of knowledge about how teams work, you can achieve more and aspire to greater achievements.
I am currently leading the team organising the Toastmasters District 91 Spring 2016 Conference.
Please leave a comment with your thoughts.