2.2 - List the advantages of working in a team

Teamwork can make better use of resources and produce more and better ideas.

They are more efficient: Since teams combine the efforts of individuals, they can accomplish more than an individual working alone.

They can be faster: they can often complete tasks and activities in less time.

They can be more effective: When people coordinate their efforts, they can divide up roles and tasks to better address an issue.

Information: information can be shared amongst the team members, which increases the pool of knowledge.

There are more thoughtful ideas: Each person who works on a problem or set of tasks may bring different information and knowledge to the situation, which can result in solutions an individual would not have identified.

Motivation: Individuals can benefit from working in the team as they help motivate each other.

Greater sense of accomplishment: When members of a team collaborate and take collective responsibility for outcomes, they can feel a greater sense of accomplishment when they achieve a goal they could not have achieved if they had worked by themselves.

Support: Because team members can rely on other people with shared goals, they can receive assistance and encouragement as they work on tasks. Such support can encourage people to achieve goals they may not have had the confidence to have reached on their own.

What can the manager do?

CONFLICT

In any team there will be a difference of opinion and this can be beneficial as it provides the building blocks to ideas for the team and the organisation as a whole. At the same time these opinions do raise the emotions and feelings of the team players. There arises conflict within the group that either improves the team's performance or the breaks down of the team and consequently hampering the achievement of the organisations goal.

Stage 1 - admit it is happening 

  • Acknowledge the conflict – The conflict has to be acknowledged before it can be managed and resolved. It is very easy to ignore the first signs of conflict. We might think it is petty or it is difficult work out if this is actual conflict and not just a heated discussion that can help teams work through problems. It can be useful to discuss it with other team members or get an external perspective. Once the team recognises the issue, it can begin to work on how to get through it. 

  • Discuss the impact – As a team, discuss the impact the conflict is having on team dynamics and performance.

  • Try to gain an agreement to working it out with all team members but if necessary, make it clear you have expectations that it will be sorted out without any further impact on performance. 

 

Stage 2 - explore the situation 

  • Aim to gain clarity on peoples perspective of the situation - use TED questions (Tell me..., Explain to me..., Describe to me...) and objective language (the situation from your perspective) 

  • Listen - try not to jump to conclusions about the situation 

Stage 3 - Find common ground 

  • Try to establish things that are agreed on rather then where there is disagreement first. 

Stage 4 - Establish what they want

  • Find out what each party wants to happen. This might be the same thing in which case there is an agreement.

  • If the requests are contradictory, explore alternatives that meet the same outcome.

Stage 5 - Implement and monitor

  • Agree the actions with time frames and monitor the impact.

  • Maintain your expectations that performance is not affected.

TEAM BUILDING

The following are recognised by the University of Berkeley as key processes to team building.

The first rule of team building is an obvious one: to lead a team effectively, you must first establish your leadership with each team member. Remember that the most effective team leaders build their relationships of trust and loyalty, rather than fear or the power of their positions.

  • Consider each employee's ideas as valuable. Remember that there is no such thing as a stupid idea.

  • Be aware of employees' unspoken feelings. Set an example to team members by being open with employees and sensitive to their moods and feelings.

  • Be clear when communicating. Be careful to clarify directives.

  • Encourage trust and cooperation among employees on your team. Pay close attention to the ways in which team members work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation, trust, and respect in those relationships.

  • Encourage team members to share information. Emphasize the importance of each team member's contribution and demonstrate how all of their jobs operate together to move the entire team closer to its goal.

  • Delegate problem-solving tasks to the team. Let the team work on creative solutions together.

  • Facilitate communication. Remember that communication is the single most important factor in successful teamwork. Facilitating communication does not mean holding meetings all the time. Instead it means setting an example by remaining open to suggestions and concerns, by asking questions and offering help, and by doing everything you can to avoid confusion in your own communication.

  • Establish team values and goals; evaluate team performance. Be sure to talk with members about the progress they are making toward established goals so that employees get a sense both of their success and of the challenges that lie ahead. Address teamwork in performance standards. Discuss with your team:

    • What do we really care about in performing our job?

    • What does the word success mean to this team?

    • What actions can we take to live up to our stated values?

  • Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish; that you know what your standards for success are going to be; that you have established clear time frames; and that team members understand their responsibilities.

  • Use consensus. Set objectives, solve problems, and plan for action. While it takes much longer to establish consensus, this method ultimately provides better decisions and greater productivity because it secures every employee's commitment to all phases of the work.

  • Set ground rules for the team. These are the norms that you and the team establish to ensure efficiency and success. They can be simple directives (Team members are to be punctual for meetings) or general guidelines (Every team member has the right to offer ideas and suggestions), but you should make sure that the team creates these ground rules by consensus and commits to them, both as a group and as individuals.

  • Establish a method for arriving at a consensus. You may want to conduct open debate about the pros and cons of proposals, or establish research committees to investigate issues and deliver reports.

  • Encourage listening and brainstorming. As supervisor, your first priority in creating consensus is to stimulate debate. Remember that employees are often afraid to disagree with one another and that this fear can lead your team to make mediocre decisions. When you encourage debate you inspire creativity and that's how you'll spur your team on to better results.

  • Establish the parameters of consensus-building sessions. Be sensitive to the frustration that can mount when the team is not achieving consensus. At the outset of your meeting, establish time limits, and work with the team to achieve consensus within those parameters. Watch out for false consensus; if an agreement is struck too quickly, be careful to probe individual team members to discover their real feelings about the proposed solution.

http://hr.berkeley.edu/hr-network/central-guide-managing-hr/managing-hr/interaction/team-building/steps

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