You’ve probably experienced it – the sinking feeling when your supervisor places you on a team to work on a special project. Instead of celebrating the fact that you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with others, you bemoan the fear that you’ll end up doing all the work. How do we go from dreading team projects to actually making them a powerful resource for our businesses? Five basic characteristics need to be present for this to happen.
1. Establish a Clear Purpose
If team members don’t understand the purpose of the team, how are they going to work effectively? Without a clear definition of what goals the team should accomplish, it will flounder and not produce the results you want. Breaking the overall purpose down into measurable goals helps the members see a path to success.
2. Commitment Needed Too
Beyond purpose, commitment is equally valuable. Once members understand the vision of the project clearly, are they still willing to work toward it? In your effort to establish greater commitment, try telling them how accomplishing this purpose will benefit not just the company, but them as well.
3. Delegate Responsibility
Members need to be an active part in achieving goals in order to feel valued on the team. Delegating tasks is a practical way of creating this value factor. When members know they have authority to make decisions in their given area of expertise, they receive a sense of belonging from the team. This belonging is invaluable, because it creates trust between the team leader and the members.
4. Foster Diversity
If your team consists of members who all fit into the same mold of life, chances are you’re not going to have many innovative ideas at work to achieve your goals. Diversity brings different viewpoints to the team and is invaluable when brainstorming or problem solving. What’s the point of having a team if all of its members think alike? The unique contributions of each member should merit a place on the team.
Diversity does bring opposing opinions, but by creating a framework for sharing feedback, these differing thoughts become positive means of growth for the individual and the overall purpose of the team.
5. Prioritize Friendships
Friendship is going to be the glue that holds your team together through all of the stressful moments. Prioritizing work relationships is vital and allowing those relationships to exist outside of work will solidify a team. Try talking about each member’s weekend, or what each person likes to do outside of work. These relationships will be your saving grace during stressful times because members will pull together as friends, not just as coworkers.
We often take for granted that we know how to function well as a team. Most of us have been involved in teamwork since elementary school. The problem is that most people aren’t aware that different factors actually do influence the efficacy of a team. Whether you’re a team leader, a member of a current team, or you are establishing one, put these four principles into practice and watch your team grow and succeed.