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Eight Ways To Make Teams Work

Monday 7 July, 2008
by Daniel Stamp
No one says team-building is easy. It takes work to get a team functioning well. Here are some specific strategies that will help individuals get the most out of teamwork and have everyone contributing to the success of the team.
  1. Articulate goals

    Rather than assuming team members know the desired result, make sure specific goals are clearly articulated. Using annual, quarterly and monthly strategic plans, you can ensure energies and efforts are working in the right direction.
  2. Embrace change

    The nature of teamwork is that your job will constantly change. You will probably be a member of many teams, encompassing many different personalities and working styles. You need the flexibility to adapt to different situations.
  3. Communicate well

    Be aware of the 55 - 38 - 7 equation. Fifty-five percent of what others gain from your presentation comes from non-verbal communication; such as eye contact, hand gestures and body language. Thirty-eight percent comes from the sound or tone of your voice and just seven per cent of the message received is based on the content of what you're saying. Also keep communications organised and documented. Use technology wisely.
  4. Get more out of meetings

    Team meetings are a vital element in an interdependent environment. Improve the productivity of team meetings by developing your meeting skills. Remember that research shows that twenty-five per cent of meetings are considered a complete waste of time. That represents 3 hours a week for each team member!
  5. Commit to learning

    You will be a better team member if you have relevant skills. This mean you have to be continually learning; whether it's through continuing education, training programs or reading. By learning how to communicate or manage more effectively, you can work more effectively in teams.
  6. Learn to be both leader and follower

    As you move from team to team, your role will change. Depending on the dynamics of the individuals in the team, you could be a leader in one team and a follower in another. No one individual is always the boss in a team environment. Leaders who can't follow, and followers who are unable to lead, will have limited value in teams.
  7. Trust your team-mates

    You can't do it better on your own! While individuals have different strengths and styles, you must trust other team members to fulfill their functions adequately. This trust will build strong relationships and stronger teams.
  8. Look for win-win opportunities

    Forget the old ideas of winning and losing. Just because one group wins doesn't mean the other group has to lose. Use the creativity of the group to develop situations where you can win because someone else also wins.
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