Jobs that do not require teamwork are virtually nonexistent. To succeed in the workplace, you must be able to collaborate with other people. Teams will not always consist of your peers. You will probably have to work on diverse teams that are made up of your subordinates and your superiors. Collaborating with outside consultants and other companies is not unusual. If you cannot work well in a team, you will not get very far in your career. It is important to learn how to be a team player.
Perhaps the best way to learn to work in a team is to be on one. If you work as part of a team, you will naturally pick up the skills you need. As long as you are open-minded, observant, and flexible, you should have few problems. You may face stumbling blocks if you have a big ego or if you are prone to emotional outbursts.
Besides hands-on experience, there are other ways to learn to work in a team. One way is to take a class. Students in business programs often study the fundamentals of teamwork and group dynamics. They also learn how to motivate people. If you are not in a university program, you can still find resources at your library or on the internet.
A less obvious way to make yourself a better team player is to understand your own strengths and weaknesses. If you know what you are good at, you will be able to make more appropriate contributions to any team. You will not make yourself look bad by volunteering for tasks that you do not excel at. If you develop the ability to recognize the strengths and weaknesses in others, you will also have an advantage. It is important to remember not to directly point out other people’s weaknesses to them, however.
Working in a team can be a great way to achieve a common goal. While it’s possible to achieve goals working on one’s own, many projects require the skills and experience of several individuals. The following guide provides simple tips to help enhance productivity and group cohesion when completing a team assignment.
It’s important to make sure any team-oriented assignment has a clear set of goals. While working in a group can provide a productive blend of different ideas and concepts, it’s also easy to become distracted. Setting goals before a team assignment will help all individuals stay on track until the work is completed. It’s also important to set milestone goals for any team goal. This will allow a group to reach smaller goals that they can use to reach their final goal.
It’s also important to provide the proper tools to enable teamwork. While a pencil and paper can be a valuable tool for a brainstorming session, tools for collaboration can be beneficial. Many cloud-based storage solutions allow multiple users to edit a document at the same time. It’s possible for several people to write, edit, and comment on a document from remote locations. This can allow people to collaborate from home, while traveling, or from outside the office.
There should be a team leader to help guide any group work. A team leader’s role is to organize meetings, create records of any work completed, and assist in holding a group accountable for their work. A team leader doesn’t play the same role as a boss – he or she simply helps organize times for a group meeting.
There should be no central leader or a boss in a team-oriented environment. A boss or superior may inhibit the creative flow of employees. Many employees will not share ideas in the presence of a boss. They may feel that their ideas are worthless or may make them appear incompetent in the eyes of a boss. There should be no criticism when working on a team-oriented project. Criticism will inhibit the flow of ideas.
Project milestones should be defined based on short, moderate, and long-term goals. Long term goals may be dictated by a company or a superior, while moderate and short-term goals can be decided by members of the team. It’s important to provide a reasonable set of goals that individuals can strive to achieve. It can be difficult to care about a project that had a deadline in the distant future. A short-term deadline for a small goal can be a great way to help keep a project on track.
It’s also important to provide incentives for workers in a team. Each project milestone should be celebrated with incentives for team members. An employee won’t work hard towards a goal if he or she can see no benefit. Incentives should not be provided for just completing a long-term goal — they should be provided for different incentives throughout a project.
Once you have built up some solid teamwork skills, it is essential that you highlight your abilities on your resume and in job interviews. Be prepared to describe your past team successes and what your roles were. Think of anecdotes that illustrate your teamwork skills and practice telling these stories. You might be the best team player in the world, but if you do not advertise that fact, no one will know about it. Just do not exaggerate or make things up. There is a fine line between bragging and confidently explaining your skills.
Team Building in a Work Environment
Teambuilding can be defined as employee’s or group members who work together in synergy for one shared goal rather than be singular, independent workers. In order to build proficient teams, it is important to create a blueprint that outlines the goals that the team should achieve and what characteristics each individual team member should have. Guidelines should be adhered to when assembling a team because the success of the team will be greatly determined by how successfully each team member can work with each other. If members of a team cannot effectively work conjointly, it can be disastrous for the team and its results.
Successful teams include people who are seasoned, purpose oriented, and skillful in solving problems swiftly and accurately. Members of the team should be skilled in both giving and receiving feedback and in addition, be able to work in an environment that focuses on open and candid communication. Teams should assign one person to act as Team leader in order to ensure that the team focus on the goal, foster confidence between its team members, makes certain that the priorities of the team are being adhered to and oversee the performance of the team.
There are a number of team building exercises that can be performed to assist teams in becoming cohesive units of people that are working together towards a common goal. Communication is crucial when working on a team and there are a number of exercises that are geared towards improving the exchange of ideas within a group. Activities that underline the value of good communication further improve on the problem solving and decision-making process within a group. This permits each member of the group member to focus on being adaptable to change and finding middle ground with each other. The aim of the exercise is to create trust among the team members which can be problematic when working in a group.
The nature of any team will vary depending on its size and what it is trying to achieve, so it is important that an assessment be performed to determine or identify any strength or weaknesses the team may have. By allowing each member to access each other, they will gain better insight of their working technique and further enrich the bond of the team.
When establishing any team, it is always important to gather ideas from each prospective team member and develop exercises that each will enjoy. Imposing your ideas on the team and having them perform activities that they do not get pleasure from, will not be beneficial to the success of the team. Allowing each member to contribute ideas to the group, will encourage confidence and ensure that the team will be successful as a whole.
Effective Meeting: Basics and Tips
Good team spirit helps to have an effective meeting. To have effective team meetings it is very vital to keep some things in mind. While meetings are quite important, they should not be called for every little thing. Things that can be communicated through emails, flyers and memos should be sent across as such. Meeting can often be lengthy and cumbersome especially if a large sized staff is involved, so call meetings to discuss vital matters such as crisis management or a new project and keep smaller matters out of the meeting to prevent it from becoming an extra-long affair. Here are some tips that can definitely help conduct effective meetings.
Tip 1: Plan out an agenda and email everyone involved. Ask everyone to show up to the meeting with a copy or keep one for the staff and stick to the agenda. Often digressing from the given topic can lead to meetings continuing for too long and becoming aimless. Plan out a short agenda that highlights the topic to be discussed and if possible keep a timeline for the meeting. For example, start time should be 8: 00 am and by 8 :30 you should be heading towards a wrap up. Divide up the time effectively between all topics to be discussed and have a goal for the end of the meeting. You should preferably have assigned each person in the meeting with a task to be completed by a particular deadline.
Tip 2: Involve the staff in the meeting. It is really not very uncommon for the attendees of meetings to be half asleep while the team leader talks about important issues. Instead of having a one-way meeting, involve your staff. Email out topics to be discussed in the meeting and request feedback. Involve the staff by calling on each one and asking them for suggestions and solutions to the problems at hand. Have some form of getting feedback and involving the attendees to ensure everyone gets involved.
Tip 3: Limit dragging things or delaying solutions. Keep the objective in mind and decide on an action that can be taken to tackle a particular problem. Allow people to provide alternates and suggestions and actively identify the best solution. An effective meeting must stay focused on action that is realistic and it must be focused on breaking down problems into smaller tasks and assigning each one. Before you call a meeting assign out any other backend work that can be successfully completed before the meeting is called.
Tip 4: Limit the number of people who attend the meeting. It is not necessary to call in the entire office to a meeting regarding a project that does not even concern their department. Effective meetings are generally conducted within small groups and are much faster and successful simply because the lesser the people, the lesser the distractions. It is a good idea to divide up departments into groups for more effective planning and meeting. Keep everyone else in the loop through emails and memos and conduct meetings with the leading staff concerned.
The A Team Recipe: How to Create the Perfect Work Environment
In high school or college classrooms nothing can inspire the same level of despair as two simple words. Group project.
The reason for this is simple. Being forced to work with people that you do not mesh well with can be frustrating and difficult for everyone involved. This frustration can be found in copious amounts in our professional lives as well when asked to collaborate with colleagues, regardless of profession. Managing these tasks is essential for job success and should be taken seriously.
When staring into the face of a professional collaboration, the easiest way to tackle the problem is to asses each group member individually. This is a short list of the most common personality types and the best trick to handling them.
The Overbearing Leader
This character, blinded by blood thirsty ambition and desire for success, can be extremely difficult to handle in a group situation. There is a reason that The Overbearing Leader is so successful, but beware being swallowed up whole by their drive.
How to Help: Be assertive with this person. Due to their personality type, they will only respect you for rising up to the challenge that these professional collaborations can possess. Help this person to delegate jobs to other team members instead of doing everything themselves.
Almost every office environment has a Mrs. Mouse. Possibly slightly socially awkward, but a genuinely good person who will not speak up about anything. This personality type is often extremely intelligent and will have despite great ability to contribute to your collaboration.
How to Help: Ask this person to contribute, especially if there is a particular facet of the project that would benefit from their expertise.
We all knew this person in school. Even when assigned a simpler part of the project this person will not deliver on time, if at all. While the excuses that can be encountered when dealing with this person can be amusing, doing their work yourself is not.
How to Help: You must be this person’s motivation because it seems this person does not possess it internally. Provide time tables or deadlines and offer help should any obstacle arise that could slow momentum.
By far the smartest person you talk with on a daily basis, this person will recite Pi to twenty digits or huge swaths of Shakespeare’s sonnets on command. While a huge asset to any project, this intellect must be tempered so that your targeted audience demographic isn’t bored or confused.
Great companies are built in the office, with hard work put in by a team. Emily Chang
How to Help: Always assign this person the most intellectual portions of any task to keep them engaged and challenged. However, it can be extremely beneficial to pair The Brain with a more creative team member to ensure that the final product or presentation is not purely intellectual and has the spice needed to hold the audience’s interest.
This person has that awkward habit of interjecting random things into conversation that are completely unrelated to the topic at hand. This isn’t due to a lack of intelligence, but rather a truly gifted multi-tasking individual that is concentrating on many things at once.
How to Help: The best way to help Daisy Dreamer is to give them extremely engaging tasks that will hold their attention for long periods of time.
New Future: Virtual Teams
The Internet along with advances in information technology has made it possible to assemble a strictly remote workforce. Telecommuting has grown within the past decade and shows no signs of slowing down.
The ability to create a virtual team has actually improved productivity throughout most sectors. Whether public, private or government, creating a work-life balance; saving energy and time commuting through highway traffic; and reducing overhead expenses by omitting unnecessary on-site work space has proven cost efficient for both employer and employee as well.
Through technologies such as video conferencing, virtual blackboards, time-recording software and numerous other methods, businesses can communicate with employees individually or as a team any time and in any location. Virtual teams receive the same corporate communications strategy sessions, peer support, project creating capability and any other cohesive team structural elements without the distractions and delays caused by the logistical issues often encountered when trying to gather employees at a physical location.
Virtual teams are also prudent when personnel are spread across the country or offshore. Not only can everyone get together online without having a team member absent due to illness, travel complications, and unforeseen emergencies, but company expenses in these areas are reduced immensely.
The need to find meeting facilities large enough to hold team meetings is no longer an expensive proposition. Airfare, overnight accommodations, meals, along with the costs associated with the team event itself can be completely eliminated.
There is no longer downtime for employees who need to travel to other time zones to meet with members of their teams. This is an expense that is often overlooked. But, salaried employees are paid whether they are at the desk or in the air. Virtual teams allow meetings to take place without logistical or human capital expenditures.
Scheduling conflicts are another benefit to the virtual team. Often, issues that need to be addressed immediately are postponed due to the inability to find an open slot on each team member’s schedule. With remote technology, a manager can call a meeting together without the hassles involved with coordinating schedules.
With simple scheduling software that is available with most business software suites, the team supervisor can check each member’s calendar for conflicts or common open space in an instant. This alleviates “telephone tag,” waiting for voice mail to be returned, and email messages that become lengthy threads.
It may seem to those not familiar with virtual teams that cohesiveness, supervision, and problem-solving may be an issue if there is no face-to-face interaction. However, studies find the opposite to be overwhelmingly the case.
With most companies needing to do business globally, even in the most basic sense such as offshore purchasing, setting up remote capabilities keeps all team members informed of management strategies and tactics. This makes employees feel more involved as the information is more transparent.
With society as a whole becoming more mobile, virtual teams meet more frequently for support and information than those relying on a physical presence. The less anxiety one suffers, the more productive it is.
Therefore, remote work environments are not only cost effective and efficient for employers, but employees welcome this structure as well. Instead of alienating individuals from the company, supervisor or peers, teams are coming together with a sense of wholeness more often than ever before.