By Tahmid Sadman
Teams are pivotal cogs in the organizational machine. They represent the inextricable segment which forms a vital base not only for the organization but, in an indirect sense, for the other stakeholders as well. In the context of strategy setting, decision making and execution, teams provide the leeway for traction and flexibility. The presence of such coveted hallmarks translate into better business results, more competitiveness, and a heightened quality of decisions made. (Such sought-after outcomes, however, hinge on the effectiveness of other processes as well and not solely on a structured based on teams; structured teams however are instrumental to achieving these goals.) That being said, it is important that corporations and startups embrace the idea of a team structure and inculcate the values that helps team thrive.
Most corporations and startups subscribe to the idea of a team based structure. Team based structures are the subject of normalcy nowadays. Competitive pressures, globalization, the increasingly fickle mindsets of customers, concern regarding employee empowerment and the need to focus on key decisions by managers have forced organizations to resort to a team based setting.
Research has shown that organizations employ teams for the following purposes
- For tackling special projects.
- For handling departmental issues.
- For bringing about a change in internal systems.
- For bolstering customer service.
- For introducing new products.
- For employee development purposes.
- For curtailing time to market.
The existence of teams will not suffice. Businesses must strive to make sure that teams perform at high levels. This requires a lot of polishing. Some of the ways to engender high performance teams are:
- Thrusting team members into leadership roles– Team members must be empowered in the sense that they must be delegated roles which will help them hone their leadership skills. This also creates interdependency which should boost the morale of each of the team players. Also, the team members must be allowed to take the floor and be given enough room to express their opinions and concerns.
- Create perception of shared responsibility– Shared responsibility will give rise to an energetic environment where team members will be more aware of what is at stake. Such a perception will propel them to take initiatives that not only serve their interests but also that of the others. A perception of shared responsibility can be formed via the emphasis on the importance of responsibility, proper recognition after the completion of a designated tasks, sharing inspiring stories regarding the power of responsibility and its impacts, directing attention and importance in equal degrees to all team members and resolving conflicts via transparency.
- Making sure team members understand the purpose of their work and why the team exists – If employees are not sure regarding the purpose of their tasks, enthusiasm will not seep through their mental schema. Also, if there is a common ground among the team members in their understanding of the reasons behind the team’s existence it will be easy to channel focus to the tasks that are more important. Ensuring the employees have a uniform line of understanding regarding the team and the tasks can be done in a myriad of ways- Dilating the importance of the diverse qualities team members bring in and how this brings about a positive change in the company, emphasizing how a team can help members with skill development. The communication here is important. It must be done creatively.
- Establishing trust and transparency– A team will thrive in an environment caressed by transparency and trust. Trust can be ensured by means of open communication, fair and transparent processes. Such an environment helps team members to express themselves more effectively and this should improve the team dynamics.
- Intense focus on results– Every team need to have an intense focus on results. An intense focus will lead to hard work and the deployment of relevant and effective initiatives to get the job done.
- Ensure team members welcome change– It is important to embed bold values within the team. Team members shouldn’t be afraid to embrace change in order to accelerate results and growth. It is important to train team members, assign challenging assignments, hold competitions and provide brownie points for thinking out of the box to instill bold values.
- Provide Scope for creativity– Team member should be given adequate scope for nurturing their creativity. If they are bogged down, then the overall team morale falls and this affects performance.
- Make sure team members are on their toes– Provide teams with adequate resources so as to ensure it can spot any openings and cash in on them. An intense, proactive culture is necessary for this. Such a culture can be built up through regular cross communication and sharpened mentoring.
Tahmid Sadman is a guest contributor to Gradinsights, the career research service of GradConnect. He can be reached at email@example.com. More articles from Tahmid and the GradInsights team can be found at www.grad-insights.com.