Two Heads are Better Than One: Creating a Teamwork Structure
Posted by Shannon Suetos on October 7, 2010 in Business Management [ 1 Comment ]
In today’s competitive marketplace, teamwork is the name of the success game. Whether you manage a struggling community newspaper, a start-up biotech company, or an established law firm, creating a teamwork structure will help you stay on the career fast track.
If you are not a manager yet, but aspire to receive a promotion, building a team and working effectively and can catapult you into a leadership role.
Creating an effective team structure requires careful analysis and preparation. First, a productive team must be working toward a clear common goal, such as creating a better diagnostic test for whooping cough or figuring out how to increase profits by 10 percent. Ensure buy-in by everyone of the goal — make it clear how important the goal is to the company’s success. Each member of a team should have a stake in accomplishing the goal and feel a sense of responsibility.
Second, the composition of the team is critical. Throwing people together without careful consideration will backfire. The purpose of a teamwork structure is to accomplish your goal more efficiently and with better results. The efforts of each person on the team should create a synergy that leaves lone contributions in the dust.
Consider the strengths and weaknesses of individual players. Who will work well together with the minimum conflict? If Larry is great with detail and Mary is fabulous at seeing the big picture, then the two should complement each other. Also consider the personality types involved. Will there be jockeying for authority that will undermine team effort?
Set up clear expectations for each member of the team. For example, who is responsible for marketing, who for finances, and who for writing? You want to avoid conflicts in responsibilities to eliminate competition for control and potential arguments.
Each team should have a good leader to keep everyone focused on the common goal. This leader ensures continued buy-in by each team member. This individual should be the person responsible for answering questions and resolving conflicts, as well as reporting progress to senior executives.
Communication and trust will be the keys to creating a winning teamwork structure. There are a variety of ways to build trust, from overnight retreats to events that involve employee families. Don’t overbook employees’ private time though — you don’t want to create resentment instead of good will!
Make sure that everyone feels free to express his or her ideas. One naysayer can effectively curtail open communication and productivity. Team members need to support one another.
Don’t forget the power of the positive! Seize the chance to tell your teams they are doing a great job. Point out the good things they are doing before talking about how to improve — keeping morale high increases productivity and keeps employees working hard and to the best of their abilities. You don’t need slackers negatively influencing and bringing down any of your company teams.
While building a teamwork structure is time-consuming and challenging, the rewards and effectiveness are worth the extra effort.
Courtney Bishop is a lover of all things creative. she likes to write, and has an obsession with crossword puzzles. She’s recently started blogging, and you can follow her on Twitter @cbishopBG.
Image Credit: http://www.toastmasters.org/