“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” (Michael Jordan)
Teams are the building blocks of any company, business, or organization. That’s why teamwork is an important aspect for any team to work efficiently together. If it’s bad, it can destroy whole organizations, but when it’s good, everyone will succeed and soar.
Teamwork is never automatic and can actually be pretty hard to come by. It’s a great way to arrive at solutions but can create a multitude of problems if there is friction within the team. However, you don’t need to despair – there are ways to make sure your team works hard, efficiently, and together to achieve success.
Be a good leader
It may be a big load of responsibility to put on someone’s shoulders, but the leader’s role cannot be minimized. Someone needs to keep the team on track and focused on their goals, as well as handle any problems that may arise.
- Establish a clear leader
It’s important to choose and establish a clear leader. Although each team member needs to focus and handle their own tasks, the leader plays a crucial role. He not only needs to exhibit leadership qualities, he also needs to keep team members single-minded on their goals, entice collaboration, and be open to other people’s ideas.
- Learn how to be a good leader
There are multiple ways you can improve your leadership qualities. You can read books, attend seminars, watch TED talks, listen to podcasts, or find a mentor who can guide you. Learning how to be a good leader can go a long way into helping your teamwork efficiently together.
Get to know your team
As a leader, you are responsible for your team members. You become the face of your team – playing middleman between them and the other levels of the organization. Being a good leader means understanding what makes each team member tick. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses will enable you to assign tasks that play up to each individual’s positives and downplay the negatives so the team will work together well and succeed.
- Choose the right team members
Sometimes, being a leader means having a hand in picking the members of your team.
The members which make up a team can help ensure it succeeds. Choosing the right people immediately equate to creating a well-balanced team, the best foundation for efficient teamwork. This is dependent on understanding personalities, knowledge and skills and is tantamount to a more focused, more productive team. As a leader, you can schedule one-on-ones in order to get to know each team member. This can be especially helpful during the first few months of a new team being formed.
- Delegate and utilize their strengths
Focusing on individual strengths, it’s important to assign tasks, which make use of these accordingly. This is a great way to make sure your team works together efficiently. Each team member has different strengths and is sometimes chosen specifically because they possess certain skills that the team needs to succeed. As each one performs their tasks, they start defining the roles they play in the team. Not only does this help make them feel like equal contributors to the team’s success, but also makes certain that the workload is distributed equally.
“Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication.” (Mike Kryzzewski)
Clear communication is key to the success of any relationship and improves teamwork efficiency. Whenever goals and tasks are not clearly communicated, misunderstandings occur, and results are never as great as team members expect it to be. It’s an important factor for a better relationship with others.
Whenever team members feel unheard, ignored or unappreciated, misunderstandings can occur. To circumvent this problem, it may be good practice to hold regular team meetings where everyone can share ideas, give comments and suggestions, and have the opportunity to feel heard.
- Establish a common goal
What differentiates teams from other groups is that its members work together toward a common goal. As a leader, you must create and share goals that will be communicated to your colleagues so that they understand what you’re aiming for. This will then allow you to plan and assign tasks better.
- Incorporate past learnings
Much like individuals, teams would do well to look back on projects that they’ve done (or others have done) in the past and learn from it, good, bad or great. One of the best practices a team can do in order to work more efficiently is to hold regular reflective meetings after each project to talk about what they learned from it, what mistakes they made, and what they can do to improve.
As a leader, you should always be on the lookout to optimizing processes – automating them if need be. Software tools can help optimize your processes – time tracking, creating reports, checklists, and even track deliveries when necessary. Being able to shorten administrative tasks, like those mentioned, for example, can help your team focus on the more important tasks.
Everyone works best when they feel accepted and comfortable in their work environment. In order to make a team made up of different individuals with distinct personalities work together as a cohesive group, trust has to be established. For everyone to work in their optimal condition, boundaries and accountability need to be established.
Each member needs to know they can count on their teammates to do the tasks to which they’re assigned. There should also be rules of behavior set in place, and everyone held accountable for what they do or don’t do to affect the team’s success. Establishing a clear team and individual expectations will go a long way toward ensuring each individual can see how their work affects the whole.
Encourage team spirit by praising and rewarding hard work
Morale can be a huge factor in the success of a team, or in its failure. As a leader, it would do you well to build up team spirit. Doing so will increase work satisfaction, engagement, and retention. There are numerous things you can do to increase team spirit – but it is a crucial, often neglected aspect of team performance.
Each team member will perform at their best when they know that their contributions are acknowledged, and their hard work rewarded. It will also contribute greatly to team efficiency — knowing their work is praised will encourage team members to keep pushing and performing at their best.
Cultivating team spirit can affect team chemistry in a highly positive way. When team members embody and have team spirit, it means they really take ownership of their roles and feel a sense of belonging toward the team. It will improve everyone’s ability to work together and achieve success.
Most businesses are structured around teams. It is thereby crucial, even for the most seemingly individualized jobs, to realize that their individual effort can impact team effort and success. Great teams are not born, they’re built. Acknowledging that it is individuals who make up teams, and there are different personalities, skills and strengths at play, making an effort to recognize and praise team members for their contributions to the success of the team will encourage them to realize they are part of one, and that their performance, no matter how small, affect team success.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”