Most companies require their employees to work in teams. After all, teamwork is what helps move a company forward in its industry and market. But what is it? Teamwork is when two or more people work together to accomplish a goal.
Even while attending the University of Phoenix (UOP) online for my last four degrees I was heavily involved with teamwork. At UOP, students are put together with other students and are required to complete assignments (papers and PPTs) as a unit, with each individual contributing to the assignment. I learned through my experiences at UOP that some teams work better together than others; that confidence, patience, and contribution are required for effective collaboration; and that sometimes you have to change your approach because of the different personalities of each person involved.
What makes a truly effective team?
Ability to offer opinions and suggestions in a collaborative environment. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable giving their ideas, then the team isn’t as effective as it could be.
Clear goals are understood by all team members. If someone isn’t aware of what the goals are, then how can they contribute to attaining those goals? They simply can’t. Ensure everyone knows what the goals are and that they understand the goals fully.
Leadership must be present and strong. I’ve worked in teams where there was no specific leadership. It really didn’t work well until someone took charge. A strong leader will help keep the team in line with the goals and keep everyone results-driven.
Everyone must contribute to the goals. Generally, teams are put together with individuals with different strengths that compliment each other. If anyone slacks on their responsibilities and doesn’t contribute, then the team will lack that part of the project or goal, it won’t be effective, and the goals won’t be met as a collaboration. If everyone contributes with their strengths, the team will be successful.
Ability to overcome conflict. Most teams, especially those that work together for long periods of time, will experience conflict. How the individuals overcome the conflict is a direct reflection of how willing each member is to compromise and help the team be successful. Sometimes the conflict can be resolved easily; however, sometimes someone outside must be called in to mediate and help the team move in the right direction again.
Honesty, respectfulness, communication, and the ability to listen are essential qualities all team members must have. If everyone adheres to these qualities, conflict will be reduced, and the team can stay focused on the goals.