The concept of a team is today well entrenched and has been adopted in organisations globally as a better approach to managing business. The question is now, ‘How do we make our teams more effective?’ If an organisation wants to turn around poor team performance or to increase team efficiency, it is important to first understand the characteristics that standout in effective teams.
Effective teams have certain distinguishing characteristics in the way they work together and interact. A close examination of these characteristics can give vital clues and help identify and deduce the factors that play a big part in effective team work:
- Effective Teams Talk to one Another Rather than Behind Each Other’s Back. Back-biting rare or non-existent in an efficient team and there is a high level of mutual trust. Trust creates a bond among the team members and this leads to rapport and solidarity. Tensions are therefore absent.
- Effective Teams Have a Healthy Respect for Each Other’s Viewpoints. They actively listen and encourage one another and they participate and contribute during group discussions. Disagreements exist but do not snowball into interpersonal conflict.
- Effective Teams Know How to Deal with Conflicts. Conflicts or disagreements pertaining to task-related discussions are treated as a normal occurrence and the team members do not harbour any animosity towards one another once the team meeting ends.
- Effective Teams are True Partners in all Aspects Related to Teamwork. They are supportive and have an informal work ethic of sharing and fellowship. There are fully aware of their shared goals and shared responsibility and work towards jointly achieving their objectives.
- Effective Teams Want Team Success. They realise the need to focus on group goals and rise above personal ambitions. Team members are secure in their individual capabilities and understand the reason why the organisation constituted a team in the first place. They are able to work towards executing their role in line with the common goals of the team. They seem to realise that if they carry out their individual roles sincerely, personal recognition is bound to come their way. In other words, there is a good measure of ‘team spirit’ within the team.
The points outlined above are all integral to good team performance. Though these points put into perspective what an effective team is all about, it is also important to realise that high performance teams need the right challenge, ongoing skills training, regular team building programs and adequate recognition and reward to keep the team momentum going.