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Elements of Effective Teamwork

Rita Putatunda
Teamwork undoubtedly produces extraordinary results - in the workplace, sports, or a community. The absence of teamwork makes it difficult for a group of people to achieve productive results, despite an efficient process and proper workflow structure.

Duties of a Good Leader

  • Leadership is one of the most important aspects of teamwork.
  • A team leader must be skilled enough to create and maintain a positive working culture.
  • He/She must help motivate and inspire team members to create a professional environment with a positive approach and high commitment levels.
  • A good team leader must ensure that team members focus on the organization's goals.
  • He/She must also be able to promote a high level of morale amongst the team members so that they feel supported and valued.
  • He/She must work towards preventing the bane of most office cultures - backbiting, rumor mongering, gossip mongering, and cronyism, which can derail the efforts of a team.

Communication - A Challenging Factor for Teamwork

  • It goes without saying that communication is a vital factor of interpersonal interaction; the very term 'teamwork' represents interpersonal interaction.
  • Open communication being one of the key aspects of teamwork, enables team members to articulate their feelings, express their plans, share their ideas, and understand each other's viewpoints.
  • Grappling with and sorting out the complexities involved in communication is one of the challenges of developing and sustaining an effective and efficient group of individuals.
  • In case of poor communication, measures should be taken to work around this aspect and make way for effective communication between the team members.

Understand what to Expect

  •  A team is created for a purpose; it is important that expectations from the team members are clearly chalked out.
  • The higher authorities must work towards attesting the constancy of the team's purpose.
  • The necessary resources - people, money, and time should be made available for the team to meet expectations.
  • Lastly, a team should be given attention and interest to boost its morale.

Team Efforts for Role Definition

It is necessary for teams to know the following:
  • What is their purpose?
  • What role does each team member play?
  • What is each person responsible for?
  • What is not within the scope of the team?
  • What resources are needed to achieve goals?
  • In order that teams know their roles, responsibilities, and resources, the team leader must define the purpose in a clear-cut manner, up front.
  • On the other hand, the team members can help build processes wherein the roles and scope of each member as well as the team are kept in focus.
  • Both the parties must strive to avoid any glitches that undermine effective teamwork.

Primary Methods to Resolve Conflicts

  • No matter how good a team may be, the occurrence of conflicts is inevitable at some point or the other.
  • The best way to counter this is to have structured resolving methods.
  • Team members should have a way of expressing their opinions without fear of causing offense to anyone. Direct confrontation can also be allowed in a subtle manner so that matters that may have been simmering can be aired out and cleared.
  • Instead of ignoring or procrastinating internal conflicts, it is better to adopt a hands-on approach that resolves them quickly.
  • In fact, it is advisable for the team leader to actually sit with the parties in conflict and work out the differences between them, without taking sides and making sure to remain objective.
  • Eventually, the conflicts can actually be used as a chance to reveal underlying problems that may be in existence within the team.
  • Teamwork can be successful only when the team leader sets a good example, which can be emulated by the team members.
  • In order to keep the team committed, positive, and motivated, the team leader has to exhibit all these qualities first; after all, team members look up to him/her for support, direction, and guidance.
It is to be remembered that any cynicism or negativity on the team leader's part is picked up by the team, and is reflected in their teamwork. So, even if it means forcing yourself to, it is important to maintain a supportive and positive attitude always, so as to encourage the team and promote effective teamwork.