Fostering teamwork is a top priority for leaders.
That’s because it provides key organizational benefits.
It boosts productivity, increases efficiency, and empowers employees. More important, it improves customer service and customer satisfaction.
Being part of a team comes from feeling part of something larger than you, which has a lot to do with an employee’s understanding of the organization’s mission.
Put simply, it’s the feeling that everyone is working together for a common goal.
Teamwork is a valuable managerial tool, if you know how to create it. Few leaders do.
If fostering teamwork is a priority for you, it helps to have a clear picture of the key traits of highly effective teams.
These key traits drive a team’s success. Without them, teams flounder. Six of these traits are discussed below:
1. Communication Vital For Teamwork
Good teams communicate. Communication allows teammates to say what they think, ask for help from others, or share new ideas. Team members can even risk making mistakes.
But communication between team members can only happen in a “safe” atmosphere—one where members show concern for one another.
To enhance communication between teammates, provide training in listening, meeting management, and feedback and consensus building, among other things.
2. Cooperation Crucial For Teamwork
Today, organizations succeed based upon the degree of interdependence of its members—not the strength of one person. But employees must be willing to cooperate with each other.
To facilitate cooperation, (1) highlight the impact of individual members on productivity, (2) promote valued team member behaviors, and (3) identify behaviors that support synergy within the work place.
3. Commitment By Team Members
Effective teams commit to an organization’s mission—to its values and purpose. Doing so provides clear direction for the team. This commitment serves as the foundation for building synergy within a team.
When conflicts arise—as they often will—you can use the organization’s values, purpose, and goals as the basis for mediation.
To foster commitment within your organization, invite team members to develop a mission, values, and vision statements in line with the organizations goals.
4. Contribution By Team Members
Your team’s success depends on each member’s contribution. Keep in mind that teams need members that are willing to learn and have a variety of skills including technical and interpersonal capabilities.
Keep these three terms in mind when it comes to contribution—inclusion, confidence, and empowerment. Keep team members informed, solicit member’s input, and support an atmosphere of congeniality to encourage associates to contribute.
5. Conflict Management Critical For Teamwork
Conflict is inevitable on teams. When it isn’t managed properly, tension builds, hidden agendas emerge, and contrary positions solidify.
Managing conflict effectively, however, maintains trust and lets you tap the collective power of the group. Two proven techniques to keep in mind when managing conflict are reframing and shifting shoes.
Reframing means looking at the glass half full. Shifting shoes is a technique where you mentally “walk in the shoes” of the other person.
6. Change Management
Teams don’t perform effectively in turbulent environments. But change is inevitable. It’s also good for teams. To keep functioning effectively, teams must not only respond to change, they must also initiate it.
To initiate change, provide the security necessary for your team to take risks as well as the tools needed to innovate. In addition, acknowledge perceived dangers of change, help members see the opportunities in change, and reduce resistance by providing vision and information.
Effective teams display all six of these traits. Keep them in mind when fostering teamwork within your group.
Teamwork is a valuable managerial tool. It boosts productivity, increases efficiency, and empowers employees. Finding ways to foster it in your organization pays off.
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