Teams and Teamwork
When individuals with a common interest, goal, attitude, need and perception come together, a team is formed. Individuals need to come and work together to form a team for the accomplishment of complicated tasks. In a team, all team members contribute equally and strive hard to achieve the team’s objective which should be predefined.
In any organization, no one works alone. Every employee is a part of a team and works in close coordination with the team members to perform his level best and in turn benefit the organization. The team members should complement each other and come to each other’s need whenever required.
Teams can be formed anywhere, anytime whenever the task is little difficult and complicated. Let us understand the various types of teams in detail.
- Permanent Teams: These teams perform on a permanent basis and are not dissolved once the task is accomplished. Let us understand the concept with an example.
Mike, Peter, Joe and Ana had a strong inclination towards branding as well as promotions and hence were a part of the branding team with a leading organization. They were primarily responsible for promoting their brand and designing marketing strategies to generate maximum revenue for their organization. They worked extremely hard and always managed to achieve their targets well in advance, but their team was always in place and never dissolved. Their organization never asked them to leave or ever dissolved their team. Such teams are called permanent teams.
Work or no work, the human resources team, operation team, administration team always function effectively throughout the year and hence are permanent teams.
- Temporary Teams: Unlike permanent teams, temporary teams lose their importance, once the task is accomplished. Such teams are usually formed for a shorter duration either to assist the permanent team or work when the members of the permanent team are busy in some other project.
When organizations have excess of work, they generally form temporary teams which work in association with the members of the permanent team for the accomplishment of the task within the stipulated time.
- Task Force: Such teams are formed for a special purpose of working on any specific project or finding a solution to a very critical problem.
The government generally appoints special teams to investigate critical issues like bomb blasts, terrorist attacks and so on. The task force explores all the possible reasons which led to a severe problem and tries to resolve it within a given deadline.
- Committee: Committees are generally formed to work on a particular assignment either permanently or on a temporary basis. Individuals with common interests, more or less from the same background, attitude come together on a common platform to form a committee and work on any matter.
To organize any cultural event, organizations generally make committees to raise funds, invite celebrities and all the major tasks involved to successfully organize any event. The committee members work together, design strategies to successfully accomplish the task.
In educational institutes, various committees are formed where students with a common interest join hands to organize cultural events and various other activities required for the all round development of students.
- Organization/Work Force: Such groups are formed in organizations where team members work together under the expert guidance of leader. A leader or a supervisor is generally appointed among the members itself and he along with his team works hard to achieve a common goal. The leader all through must stand by his team and extract the best out of each team member. He must not underestimate any of his team members and take his team along to avoid conflicts.
Samuel was working with a leading advertising firm with two members reporting to him. Samuel always believed in his team members and worked together with his team and no doubts his team always did wonders and was way ahead of others.
- Self-Managed Teams: Self-Managed Teams consist of individuals who work together again for a common purpose but without the supervision of any leader. Here as the name suggests every individual is accountable for his individual performance. The team members of self-managed teams must respect each other and should never loose focus on their target. No leader is appointed and the team members have to take their own responsibility. Individuals take the initiative on their own and are their own guides and mentors.
- Cross Functional Team: Let us understand this with the help of an example.
Maria and Andy both were part of the branding team. They got an assignment from their superiors to be completed within two days. Unfortunately Andy met with an accident and was advised complete bed rest. To avoid delays, Peter from the operations team was shifted to the marketing team to assist Maria for the time being and form a team. Such teams are called cross functional teams. Ideally the employees should be more or less on the same level to avoid ego hassles. Individuals from different areas come and work together for a common objective to form a cross functional team. In such teams, people from different areas, interests and likings join hands to come out with a unique idea to successfully complete a task.
- Virtual Teams: Virtual teams consist of individuals who are separated by distances and connected through computer. Here individuals communicate with each other online through internet. Sam at Los Angeles can form a team with Mandy at Mexico and Sara at Denver all working for a common objective but the communication is totally digital through internet. Such teams are helpful when employees need to connect with each other and are located at different places. Individuals supporting any community in social networking sites such as facebook or orkut also form a virtual team as all the members are from different locations but support a common community. They all have a common objective -to support and promote their community.
A single brain sometimes is not capable of taking critical decisions alone. An individual needs the support and guidance of others to come out with an effective solution. When individuals come together on a common platform with a common objective of accomplishing a task, a team is formed. Ideally the team members should be from a common background and have a common goal to ensure maximum compatibility. The team members must complement each other and work in close coordination as a single unit to deliver their best.
As they say “There is no I in Team Work”, every individual must think of his team first and the personal interests must take a back seat.
The success of any team is directly proportional to the relation among its team members and their collective efforts.
What is Team Work ?
The sum of the efforts undertaken by each team member for the achievement of the team’s objective is called team work. In other words, team work is the backbone of any team.
Every member in a team has to perform and contribute in his best possible way to achieve a common predefined goal. Individual performances do not count in a team and it is the collective performance of the team workers which matters the most.
Let us go through a real life situation.
One cannot work alone in any organization and thus teams are formed where individuals work together for a common objective. Peter, Michael, Jackson and Sandra represented the legal team in a leading organization. Peter and Michael always took the initiative and performed their level best while Jackson and Sandra had a laidback attitude towards work. Their team could never meet their targets inspite of Peter and Michael’s hard work.
Peter and Michael worked hard, then why do you think their team fell short of targets?
In a team; everyone has to work equally for the maximum output.
Team work is actually the collective effort of each and every team member to achieve their assigned goal. No member can afford to sit back and expect the other member to perform on his behalf. The team members must be committed towards their team as well as their organization to avoid conflicts. Nothing productive comes out of unnecessary conflict and in turn diverts the concentration and focus of the team members. Every member should adopt an adjusting and a flexible attitude. One should consider his team members as a part of his extended family all working together towards a common goal. The team members must be dependent on each other for the best to come out.
Tips for a better team work
Let us go through some steps for a better team work
- Think about your team first: Every individual should think of his team first and his personal interests should take a backseat. Do not mix your personal issues with your professional life. Keep them separate.
- Never underestimate your team member: Do not neglect any of the members, instead work together and also listen to them as well. Never try to impose your ideas on any member. Avoid demotivating any team member.
- Discuss: Before implementing any new idea, it must be discussed with each and every member on an open platform. Never ever discuss with anyone separately as the other person feels left out and reluctant to perform and contribute to the team.
- Avoid criticism: Stay away from criticism and making fun of your team members. Help each other and be a good team player. Be the first one to break the ice and always create a friendly ambience. If you do not agree with any of your team member, make him understand his mistakes but in a polite tone and do guide him. Avoid negativity within the team.
- Transparency must be maintained and healthy interaction must be promoted among the team members. The communication must be effective, crystal clear and precise so that every team member gets a common picture. Effective communication also nullifies misunderstandings and confusions. Confusions lead to conflicts and individuals waste their time and energy in fighting rather than working.
- The team leader must take the responsibility of encouraging the team members to give their level best and should intervene immediately in cases of conflicts. The personality of the leader should be such that every team member should look up to him and take his advice whenever required. He should not be partial to any member and support each of them equally. It is the duty of the team leader to extract the best out of his team members.
- For better team work, try to understand your team members well. Do not just always talk business, it is okay if you go out with your team members for lunch or catch a movie together. It improves the relations and strengthens the bond among the team members. The team members must trust each other for maximum output.
- Avoid conflicts in your team. Don’t fight over petty issues and find faults in others. One should be a little adjusting with each other and try to find an alternative best suited to all the team members.
- Rewards and Recognition: Healthy competition must be encouraged among the team members. The performance of every team member must be evaluated timely and the best performer should be rewarded suitably so that the other members also get motivated to perform. Recognitions like “The Best Team Player” or the “The Best Performer” go a long way in motivating the team members. Appreciate the member who performs the best or does something unique.
Teams are formed when individuals with a common taste, preference, liking, and attitude come and work together for a common goal. Teams play a very important role in organizations as well as our personal lives.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success-Henry Ford”
The above proverb by Henry Ford can very well highlight the importance of working together in teams.
Every employee is dependent on his fellow employees to work together and contribute efficiently to the organization. No employee can work alone; he has to take the help of his colleagues to accomplish the tasks efficiently. It has been observed that the outcome comes out to be far better when employees work in a team rather than individually as every individual can contribute in his best possible way. In organizations, individuals having a similar interest and specializations come together on a common platform and form a team.
A sales team has employees inclined towards branding and marketing activities to promote their brand. An individual with a human resource specialization would be out of place in such a team. Research supports that organizations with clearly defined teams are more successful as compared to those with a one man show.
Team work is essential in corporates for better output and a better bonding among employees.
- No organization runs for charity. Targets must be met and revenues have to be generated. Tasks must not be kept pending for a long time and ought to be completed within the desired timeframe. A single brain can’t always come with solutions or take decisions alone. He needs someone with whom he can discuss his ideas. In a team, every team member has an equal contribution and each team member comes out with a solution best suited to the problem. All the alternatives can be explored to come out with the best possible solution. Thoughts can be discussed among the team members and the pros and cons can be evaluated.
- Tasks are accomplished at a faster pace when it is done by a team rather than an individual. An individual will definitely take more time to perform if he is single handedly responsible for everything. When employees work together, they start helping each other and responsibilities are shared and thus it reduces the work load and work pressure. Every team member is assigned one or the other responsibility according to his specialization, level of interest and thus the output is much more efficient and faster.
- Work never suffers or takes a backseat in a team. Mike was taking care of an important client and was the only one coordinating with them. Mike took a long leave and there was no one else who could handle the client in his absence. When he joined back after a long vacation, the organization had already lost the client. Had Mike worked in a team, others could have taken the charge when he was not there. In a team, the other team members can perform and manage the work in the absence of any member and hence work is not affected much.
- There is always a healthy competition among the team members. Competition is always good for the employee as well as the organization as every individual feels motivated to perform better than his other team member and in a way contributing to his team and the organization.
Team work is also important to improve the relations among the employees. Individuals work in close coordination with each other and thus come to know each other better. Team work also reduces the chances of unnecessary conflicts among the employees and every individual tries his level best to support his team member. The level of bonding increases as a result of team work.
- Team members can also gain from each other. Every individual is different and has some qualities. One can always benefit something or the other from his team members which would help him in the long run. Everyone is hungry for recognitions and praises. One feels motivated to work hard in a team and to live up to the expectations of the other members. Each member is a critic of the other and can correct him whenever the other person is wrong. One always has someone to fall back on at the time of crisis.
Team and team work must be encouraged at workplace as it strengthens the bond among the employees and the targets can be met at a faster pace. Workload is shared and individuals feel motivated to perform better than his team members.