To achieve the team goal, you also need agreement on how it will be accomplished. And individual responsibilities need to be well defined. If they're not, productivity slows down, as team members wait for more guidance. Or else, more dominant team members simply take charge. The ideal situation, of course, is for everyone to participate equally. Then, each team member is just as invested as the next.
Team values or norms are used to assess how well team members are interacting. Team values/norms enable team members to call each other out on any behaviour that is dysfunctional or that is negatively impacting the success of the team. We’ve already explored respect, but it is important that team members are equal, respected colleagues. This means all team members are equal; every team member's opinion will be thoughtfully considered; each team member will keep all commitments by the agreed upon due date; each team member agrees to constantly assess whether team members are honouring their commitment to the team norms.
Interacting Positively with Others
Teamwork can be tough. Dealing with different personalities and compromise is not necessarily easy. However, it makes sense that the better our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we're going to be.
Good working relationships give us several other benefits: our work is more enjoyable when we have good relationships with those around us.
Team member communication: You speak respectfully to each other; don’t talk down to each other; positively recognise and thank each other for team contributions.
Team contribution in meetings: You listen without interrupting; hold no side or competing conversations; follow the rules for effective meetings; attend the meeting on time; always work from an agenda and minutes are be recorded at each meeting.
Mutual Respect – When you respect the people that you work with, you value their input and ideas, and they value yours. Working together, you can develop solutions based on your collective insight, wisdom and creativity.
Mindfulness – This means taking responsibility for your words and actions. Those who are mindful are careful and attend to what they say, and they don't let their own negative emotions impact the people around them.
Welcoming Diversity – People with good relationships not only accept diverse people and opinions, but they welcome them. For instance, when your friends and colleagues offer different opinions from yours, you take the time to consider what they have to say, and factor their insights into your decision-making.
Schedule Time to Build Relationships - Devote a portion of your day toward relationship building, even if it's just 20 minutes, perhaps broken up into five-minute segments. Ask a colleague out for a quick cup of coffee or ask if they need help. These little interactions help build the foundation of a good relationship, especially if they're face-to-face.
Use Personal Awareness - For example, show your appreciation whenever someone helps you. If someone looks flustered, ask if you can help. If someone is struggling to understand something, ask if you can show them how to do it. Every small positive interaction and/or action will help to build the relationship.
Be Positive - Positivity is attractive and contagious, and it will help strengthen your relationships with your colleagues. No one wants to be around someone who's negative all the time. Don’t complain either, focus on what you can change and control and let go of those you can’t!
Understand the contribution of individuals within a team and be able to use feedback on objectives in a team
Different Team Types and their contributions
Everybody has a tendency to behave in a particular way when working with other people. Meredith Belbin and his colleagues found that there are common ‘clusters’ of these behaviours, and these clusters are stable enough to be separately identifiable. Everybody seems to have a preference for one or more of these ‘Team Roles’ when behaving naturally in a group. If you have more than one ‘natural role’, then you can switch between them if you chose, and this is useful knowledge if you ever need to fill a different role in a team.
The significance is that by observing real teams over a period of several years, Dr Belbin and his group learned how to predict whether a team would succeed or fail, just by knowing the mix of roles within the group. They could also make a failing group succeed by adding somebody with the right-role – or make a successful group fail by taking away a vital supporting role. They also found that if team members identify, share and discuss their team roles then this improves how people work and live together.
Have a look through and see if you can spot your preferred role.
Do you prefer to do/act?
Do you prefer to think/problem-solve?
Do you prefer the social aspect/ use your feelings?
If you work in a team, can you identify he preferred styles of those you work with?
Doing / acting
Well-organised and predictable. Takes basic ideas and makes them work in practice. Can be slow.
Lots of energy and action, challenging others to move forwards. Can be insensitive.
Reliably sees things through to the end, ironing out the wrinkles and ensuring everything works well. Can worry too much and not trust others.
Thinking / problem-solving
Solves difficult problems with original and creative ideas. Can be poor communicator and may ignore the details.
Sees the big picture. Thinks carefully and accurately about things. May lack energy or ability to inspire others.
Has expert knowledge/skills in key areas and will solve many problems here. Can be disinterested in all other areas.
People / feelings
Respected leader who helps everyone focus on their task. Can be seen as excessively controlling.
Cares for individuals and the team. Good listener and works to resolve social problems. Can have problems making difficult decisions.
Explores new ideas and possibilities with energy and with others. Good networker. Can be too optimistic and lose energy after the initial flush.
Team and Individual Communication
Communication Issues in Teams
Teams that have issues are normally less effective. You might notice these behaviours, which require working through by the team leader or manager.
Conversations are at a superficial level due to lack of trust in each other.
Ideas are not voiced for fear of ridicule.
Members do not participate for fear of being intimidated or overpowered.
Rivalry. This can be indirect through unconstructive comments or sarcastic remarks, or explicit behaviour which may lead to heated situations and an over-competitive atmosphere.
Exhibition of standard defence mechanisms such as:
Flight: Withdrawing from the situation
Fight: Projection, interrogation, competing and blaming
Pairing: Creation of sub groups
If any of these behaviours or traits show themselves, the manager will have to use their skills to bring the issue out ‘into the open’ for discussion, enabling the team to reveal their fears and anxieties.
What difficulties have you faced when working as part of a team?
What were the reasons?
How did you overcome these?
What was the outcome?
Feedback Process: Helping to Move the Team or individual to Achieve Objectives
Appropriate behaviour is important because it reinforces the fit with the organisation, your team, your manager’s expectations and it will impact upon your performance. Poor or negative behaviour can lead to loss of productivity and lack of achievement of objectives, poor morale in the team and even disciplinary action against you.
When you or a team is given feedback, the person providing feedback is trying to:
Build competence – to help change negative behavior or attitude of an individual or a team
Build confidence – positive reinforcement of behavior, as an example
If you are giving feedback, make your feedback constructive by:
Asking questions before making statements
Offering a specific description of what you know or saw and how you feel, rather than a judgement – for example: “The way you behaved towards your new supplier led to complaints from your colleagues.”
Concentrating on behaviour which can be changed
When faced with disagreement:
Respond in a non-reactive way – don’t try to convince, reason or give additional information
Don’t be personal and remain objective – for example, “As you know, I feel differently about this issue…”
If you are wrong in the interpretation of the facts, admit it.
When receiving negative feedback:
Respond rather than react. If it is information about past behaviour, use it to improve – for example, “I can see now why you felt I was getting at you. In future, I’ll….”
Ask questions and request examples in a neutral manner
Thank people regardless
Tell people how it makes you feel – for example, concerned, willing to change and so on.
Finally one way of putting individual differences to one side, is by building a shared understanding within the team, with a commitment to team standards. That way, individual ego or power needs are put to one side for the benefit of the whole team. These are the questions which will create a standard by which all individuals will operate. Communication can focus upon these standards, as they are elevated from individual to a team level.
"What are your personal standards for this project?"
"Are they high enough given the current business environment?"
“How do we harness these as a team?”
“What's possible for our team?"
"Where are the overall gaps in knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours?"
How can we support each other to fill those gaps?
"How do our standards compare with the competition?"
"How will we get everyone's full effort to reach or exceed these standards?"
"How will performance against standards be measured?"
Activity – Comfort and Effectiveness of Feedback
Think about feedback you want to give to someone. You want to make it constructive so that the person can change an aspect of behaviour.
Explain the issue and the impact of the behaviour in your own words:
How comfortable are you in giving that feedback?
When you write down what you want to say, how do you think it sounds?
How can you improve how you deliver the message? Think about practising the content, and your skills in delivering the message.
List two ways you can further develop your skills:
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