We all know the old adage, “work smarter, not harder”. Well, I have a different saying “Work smarter as a team and not harder as individuals”.
Instead of being robotic in how I approach tasks, I try to be thoughtful and always ask myself if a task can be done more efficiently as a team rather than as an individual.
Let’s take a look at the differences between an effective and ineffective team and how to spot them.
What makes an ineffective team?
I have found that ineffective teamwork often has a negative impact on the efficiency of the team. When people don't work well together it makes it difficult for them to meet deadlines. Work productivity often suffers, causing workers to have to put in long hours in order to meet deadlines. Sometimes deadlines are even missed due to ineffective teamwork.
It is often individual team members who suffer when ineffective teamwork is allowed to continue within a company. If working relationships deteriorate due to ineffective teamwork then often the only solution is to dismantle the team and try to regroup. In smaller businesses this is not always possible, therefore it is always much better to address the issues as they arise.
Here are some problems that can create an ineffective team…
People often talk more than they listen and only a few people may contribute in a team environment. Some members are often or always silent and don't get involved.This could be because they are indifferent, bored or even afraid to have their say.
It is usually the case that one or two members dominate the others and make the decisions, therefore creating a lack of trust and helpfulness. This can result in the ideas of the quieter team members being dismissed or even ridiculed, their views ignored and disagreements put to vote without being discussed.
What makes an effective team?
When a team works well together as a unit they are able to accomplish more than an individual can do alone. Team members will have different experience and skills enabling them to come up with a more effective solution than one person working alone on the same problem.
In an effective team mutual support can have the benefit of encouraging people to achieve goals they may not have realised they could reach on their own.
An effective team has a range of individuals who contribute in different ways and complement each other. A team made up just of planners would find it difficult to cope with changing deadlines or plans whereas a team full of spontaneous individuals would be disorganised: you need both types. A good team produces more than the individual contributions of members.
Teamwork involves working confidently within a group, contributing your own ideas effectively, taking a share of the responsibility, being assertive rather than passive or aggressive, accepting and learning from constructive criticism and giving positive, constructive feedback to others.
A good team leader will ensure that clear goals are agreed that everyone understands and are committed to. Everyone knows the tasks they have to do and helps each other.
The team learns from experience, reviewing and improving performance in the light of both its successes and its failures. A team leader should be supportive and encourage team members to feel empowered and that their opinions are valued.
Contact us to discuss how we can help with effective teamwork within our Foundation Leadership Programme.
Jane Hulme, Team Leader, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on team leading and management.
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