All companies tries to build a successful team in its organization that’s why it supports and have “team building” yearly/quarterly in its organization. It is not that easy to work in groups or team. Most of the time it has miscommunication and misunderstanding that creates conflicts in a team but there are ways in order to be an effective team.
In Business Communication: Process and Product Book written by Guffey, M., Loewy, D., Rhodes, K., and Rogin, P., noted that according to experts who studied team workings and decisions there are some characteristics that a team should have to be effective.
Small Size, Diverse Makeup. The larger the group or higher number of members in a team can most likely have difficulties in communicating to one another. Since there are many members in a team, some of them just let the other members do the work or just be there but not sharing their own ideas as there are already many people sharing their ideas. It is said that four or five members in a group is the most advantageous for many projects. In Canada, many people came from different countries and have different culture. Because of different experiences, they provide different perspective on how they view certain problem and come up with different solutions and many organizations find that having a diverse team can produce creative solutions.
Agreement on Purpose. To become a successful team, communication is very important. Everyone from the team should have the understanding of why are they are doing certain things. What is the purpose of the team for doing a certain project? Having a purpose and getting everybody on the same page will lead to understanding of what is the goal of the team.
Agreement on Procedures. Everyone in the group will have roles and equal task that they need to do to contribute in their project. It is very important for the group to have equally divided of task in order to avoid conflicts like not getting the work done by scheduled deadline, being bias to the other member (favoritism) that can cause members to stop communicating, etc. Having due date helps the team to share what they have so far for the project, this also encourage the team members to have the opportunity to talk in the group and give their ideas on other’s work that can help the team members individually and create a better project for the whole team.
(Photo: Courtesy of Scott Adams)
Ability to Confront Conflict. Like I have said on the previous point, having conflict in a team is inevitable but if everyone is on the same page, understand each other, and willing to fix and confront conflicts, it will make a huge difference as it can avoid talking behind each other’s back and gossip (which is by the way, very unprofessional!). Having/being a team means, different personality = more brains working = more ideas = more opinions. Being confident to point out that there is something that is not right and hears other members’ thoughts about the conflict can solve the issue. It should be task oriented and not person oriented to serve a useful purpose in fixing the problem. This also helps members to know/understand their team member better also strengthens the team. There is nothing that communication cannot fix”.
Use of Good Communication Techniques. Listen when someone is talking; speak when you get your chance to talk. Showing respect to one another goes a long way in a team. If everyone is confident and can speak freely in discussions, it changes the mood of the whole team because they are comfortable and being comfortable working with your team makes you happy and creates good vibes that can make everyone productive! (Working in team should always be fun!)
Ability to Collaborate Rather Than Compete. Whenever you say something, make sure you do not sound like as if you want your opinion only to be use in a group’s project. Keeping in mind that it is a “team” work and “team” effort. A member’s accomplishment is everyone’s accomplishment. Do not try to put yourself on top rather help each other for everyone to be on top!
Acceptance of Ethical Responsibilities. We all have responsibilities to each other in the team and to our society. Individually we are to represent the team we are coming from. Some discussions in the group are just to stay in the group we have the responsibility to respect that we should not discuss it with any people that are not part of the group.
(Photo from: Geese Team Work)
Shared Leadership. Like how geese take turns being the lead goose that when the lead goose tires, it moves back in the formation and a new goose moves into the lead position. To have shared leadership in a group/team shows the trust to one another. That everyone is comfortable and confident enough that whoever will lead the team, the group will be fine. As I have said earlier, teamwork is to help each other to be on top. It should mold you to be an effective follower and to be an effective leader. It will build your self-esteem; you will feel important, needed, and useful in the team.
All of those characteristics are connected to one another. But for my opinion the most important characteristic to have in a team would be the Use of Good Communication Techniques. Why? Because I believe that respect is the solid base of a team or any organization. We allow people to have their freedom to speak and we listen (vice versa). If the team have respect to one another, it is easier to be comfortable to communicate (especially whenever there is conflict) and after that everything follows.
(Photo not mine. Credit to the owner)
Guffey, M., Loewy, D., Rhodes, K., and Rogin, P., (2013). Business Communication. Process and Product, Brief Canadian (4th ed)
Toronto: Nelson Education