Teamwork is commonly defined as the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient. Most people cringe when they hear the word, teamwork. Why? Because they have been part of a bad team experience.
In a perfect world everyone would be used to working together for a common purpose. A true team consists of a small group of people who have purpose, goals, and leadership. When you have these, the magic happens. You get results.
The team’s purpose is clear, concise, and has merit. The purpose is different from the goals because it describes why there is a team in the first place.
There is one grand goal for the team to focus on. It is so grand that the team should wonder how they would ever achieve it. Hence, short-term goals for the team are born out of this discussion. Goals should be assigned to individuals and given deadlines.
The people on this team are hard-working individuals who bring their talents to the table with positive intent and dedication. Individuals, based on their talents, will have different workloads and responsibilities. The focus, as a group, is to contribute and to progress.
The leadership role is important to the team. You need one person to keep the team focused on the purpose and the main goal. This person needs to continually check in with team members – pull the team together when necessary, keep individuals informed of changes and progress, and report on the team’s developments.
In a true team atmosphere, you work with one another as a unit.
- Learn about the people in your group. This concept makes some people uncomfortable. There are many ways to do this without getting too personal. The main idea is to discover each others’ talents.
- Discuss the goal associated with the purpose. It’s big. It seems impossible or unlikely.
- Develop short-term goals. Brainstorm. Once you start chunking out ideas, steps, plans – it will start coming together.
- Create a timeline starting with the date for the end-goal. Then add in short-term goal deadlines. Don’t forget to add in meetings to regroup.
- Assign who will be in charge of what. Sometimes everyone in the group is responsible for the task or goal. If this happens, be extra clear on what role everyone will play.
- Remember to communicate, communicate, communicate. Communicate your understanding. Communicate your needs. Communicate your discoveries.
My first article on teamwork focused on how to cope with being in a team, that perhaps, wasn’t truly a team. People cringe when asked to be part of a team or assigned to work in a team. If you are this person, step up and say, we need:
- a purpose
- to be accountable
- to be respectful of our talents
- to work together as a team
Working together to get a job done is part of our every day lives. Communication, understanding, appreciating our talents, and respecting our limitations are key to success. I hope both of my articles and the listed resources help you out.
~I’m Here to Help
Change Factory. 2014. Want a performance enhancer? Try strong, clear goals. Change Factory. Retrieved from: http://www.changefactory.com.au/our-thinking/articles/want-a-performance-enhancer-try-strong-clear-goals/
I really enjoyed this article from Britain about teamwork. It addressed team performance and I thought the questions for the leader were spot on. “If your team is lacking in productivity and performance then as a leader, check your organisation’s goals. Are they clear, singular, numeric, time based and audacious, with supporting short term goals? Have you communicated the goals persistently and consistently?”
The Happy Manager. 2016. Team Goal Setting. Apex Leadership LTD. Retrieved from: http://www.the-happy-manager.com/tips/team-goal-setting/
Koort, Kulli. 2016. 3 Timeless Ted Talks to Inspire Better Teamwork. Weekdone. Retrieved from: https://blog.weekdone.com/ted-talks-inspire-better-teamwork/
Robert Half. 2016. Setting Team Goals. Robert Half International. Retrieved from: https://www.roberthalf.com/employers/hiring-advice/employee-retention/teamwork/setting-team-goals
Toolkits. July 23, 2015. Developing and Sustaining High-Performance Work Teams. Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved from: https://www.shrm.org/templatestools/toolkits/pages/developingandsustaininghigh-performanceworkteams.aspx
Whitehurst, Jim. September 7, 2015. 3 Ways to Encourage Smarter Teamwork. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2015/09/3-ways-to-encourage-smarter-teamwork
Williams, Tina. July 30, 2015. You’re not alone – when you are part of a team. Tina Here To Help. Retrieved from: http://tinaheretohelp.com/2015/07/30/youre-not-alone-when-you-are-part-of-a-team/