What is the difference between 4 people standing on a bus stand, waiting for the bus and 5 schoolboys practicing for a football match?
Both sets form a group which is, “A collection of people with a common characteristic or purpose”. However, on deeper thought do you realize the difference between the two? 4 people standing at the bus stop are individually waiting for a bus, while the 5 boys practicing for the match are collectively working to achieve a goal of improving their game-play and increase their chances of winning the match. Hence, they are not just a group of boys but a football team.
We all work in teams, be it in our personal or professional life. However, a work team is more dominant in today’s professional environment and its functioning. More often than not, we are a part of one or the other work-team. Being part of a team can be rewarding and challenging at the same time.. However, it is still important for us to effectively function within a team to achieve the goal.
Work teams have
- Clearly defined purpose and goals
- Shared commitment of all team members towards the
- Process – how team works together to reach its goal
- Product – work team accomplishes
- Performance is primarily measured by collective output of the team and individual performance is only secondary.
Working with a successful team hence, ensures better results for the organization, for the team as well as for the individual. This means our career advancement and development is also dependent on the team we work with and the way we work with the team. Work-teams are not successful in themselves, team members actively collaborate and work together towards making a team successful which enables superior delivery and achieving goals!
How to build effective team?
- Spending time together to define group goal (in case it is already defined, focusing on specific aspects) and develop a shared and common understanding of the goal.
- All team members participating in group discussion to ensure commitment
- Clearly defining roles and responsibilities of each team member. Also defining the rules and process to achieve goals.
- Collaboratively agreeing upon model and levels of decision making.
- Ensuring a culture of open communication, trust and respect within team members.
- Conducting periodic team performance reviews.
Working towards being an effective team member is of crucial importance. It is essential to realize that individual goals can be attained only when team goals are attained and hence, one has to focus more on what “we” the team can do it better and less on what “I” can.
Here are five qualities to be a good team player
- Communication: Open, transparent and direct communication is valued when working in teams. It may save the team from taking wrong decisions. It also helps in building relationships with the team members which leads to greater willingness to collaborate
- Using strengths: The best way you can contribute to your team is by working on your strengths without overusing them to reach group goal.
- Trust: Building trust between your team members is essential for working together effectively. Constant doubting on their abilities will not only impair team relationships but also create hurdles in the way of the goal. Being trusted is of equal importance.
- Respect: Mutually respecting eachother. Every member is a part of the team for a purpose and may have strengths different from the ones you hold.
- Be reliable: Meet your deadlines and ensure meeting all the commitments you have made. This constantly sets an example for others and ensures better and timely team productivity.
It is not essential to be an extrovert to be a great team player as an ideal team is a mix of diversified set of individuals with different strengths. Playing on your strengths to ensure significant contribution to the team and being an active part of the team is the key to be a great team player.