Five Tactics for Effectively Working in Teams

Teams drive the core processes of most modern organizations. To develop and maintain productive teams, effective team management is essential. This article outlines the key features of working in teams and identify five winning tactics that can improve your teamwork.
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What is a team?

A team is a group of individuals who work together to achieve common goals. As a team member, you contribute as an individual while sharing a collective responsibility with other members. Typically, each team is influenced by the individual characteristics of its team members. There are various types of teams:


  • Cross-functional teams: These teams are comprised of players from various departments who collaborate on projects and report to a team leader. 
  • Functional teams: Generally, these teams are comprised of individuals with different responsibilities who work for a single department and manager. These teams are generally stable and support ongoing business processes.  
  • Self-managed teams: These teams lead by consensus, although members have a relatively high level of autonomy and are expected to manage their own time and workloads. 
  • Virtual teams: These teams interact virtually using digital methods of communication. Virtual teams can involve team members from various geographical locations. 


Why effective teams deliver value  

Great employees bring exceptional talents, enthusiasm and ideas to the workplace. When you team great people with each other, however, the benefits increase exponentially.  When teams function well, employers enjoy benefits, such as: 


  • Cross-pollination: Teams made of varied members share and grow each other’s knowledge and ways of thinking.  This can lead to enhanced innovation and problem-solving.
  • Employee engagement: Individual and collective responsibility in teams can boost employee engagement. Employees tend to work harder and pay more attention, so they don’t let team members down. Teams also offer camaraderie and intellectual challenges, which keep employees engaged.
  • Higher performance:  When they function well, teams deliver more than an equal number of individuals. 


Five tactics to improve teamwork

Why do some teams outperform others? It’s not always about the individuals but how teams are built and function. Here are some tips to create better teams:


  • Work with the right people
  • Use participative leadership
  • Form small teams
  • Communicate effectively
  • Invest in continuous improvement


1. Work with the right people

Each employee brings their own skills and personality to work.  Great teams are fueled by the right combination of those individual assets. Here are a few tips you can use to find the right people for your team:


  • Choose people with complementary skills and traits.
  • Consider hard and soft skills that are necessary for a particular project
  • Select a leader with the right project management, leadership and interpersonal skills 
  • If you’re a team member, remember to appreciate people whose skills and traits are different from your own 


2. Select participative leadership

Participative leadership, which is also called democratic leadership, can improve the effectiveness of a team. Typically, a team leader delegates tasks, monitors performance, makes changes to project flow, keeps the project on track and takes overall responsibility for the team’s performance. With participative leadership, the team lead encourages the input of team members in the decision-making process, improving employee engagement and team performance.


3. Form smaller teams 

Instead of assigning to larger, functional teams, opt for small teams that tackle individual projects. Compact, project-only teams can help you to choose team members with skills that precisely match project requirements. Smaller teams are often easier to manage and tend toward more cohesiveness than larger teams, so they’re likely to adapt quickly to changes as well.


4. Communicate effectively

Effective, clear and transparent communication is essential.  There are several ways you can use communication to:


  • Achieve group consensus: Including participants in major decisions, such as changes to project direction or workflow can improve the team environment. 
  • Solve conflicts: Communicate and turn conflicts into opportunities. For example, to understand a team member’s pushback, start a dialogue and work toward a compromise that takes the individual’s feelings and perspective into consideration. In the end, even conflicts can strengthen team relationships. 
  • Improve engagement: A group of individuals becomes a team when achievements are acknowledged. Remember to celebrate team efforts, but celebrate individual contributions as well.


5. Invest in continuous improvement

Continuous improvement ensures that teams are fresh, new ideas are generated, and areas for improvement are identified. Remember to: 


  • Evaluate team performance regularly
  • Identify areas for improvement 
  • Make changes when needed 


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