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Many organizations have implemented teams for tackling new problems, large projects, or major initiatives. However, poorly performing teams are easily surpassed by individuals who work alone only to combine their work together at the end. The highest performing teams experience synergy, where their product is more than the addition of each member’s contribution. Luckily, encouraging productive, synergistic teams is within the grasp of the leaders who design and support these teams. A leader’s ability to facilitate teams can make or break the team’s short-term outcomes and long-term performance.
‘Facilitating Teamwork’ is the ability to promote teamwork, cooperation, and identification with the work group. Leaders who are skilled in this area are effective at encouraging employees to think of themselves as part of something bigger than their individual roles, and to encourage the extra patience and communication that is often required with teamwork.
In assessing your ability to facilitate teamwork, ask yourself the following questions:
Consider whether or not teamwork is right for the project at hand: One of the biggest reason that leaders are unable to facilitate productive work from a team is because the team itself does not need to exist. Certain tasks, such as those that involve recalling and expressing information in a formal report, are better left to one talented individual. Teams should be used if a project is too large for one individual to manage, especially if time pressures are at play; the work requires the knowledge and expertise from a number of different specialties; and the tasks are interdependent, that is, the work of Employee A depends on the output of Employee B. If individuals have no need to rely online julietta casino on the expertise or work of others and are only rewarded for their individual contributions, putting these individuals together and calling them a team will not produce the positive outcomes that are seen with high functioning teams.
Don’t be afraid to lead: Often leaders can be afraid to provide much input into teams. Remember, a leaders’ role is to provide employees with direction and support. Teams with more instruction feel more capable of reaching their goals, which have been clearly communicated to them. Don’t be hesitant to act as an authority when teams are struggling. Newly formed teams in particular benefit from a leader who can set clear goals, communicate these goals, and monitor team progress on projects or initiatives. In addition, a leader is instrumental in setting the norms and expectations for behavior in developing teams. Encouraging collaboration and striving for difficult goals can shape a team for success.
Teams require resources: Before forming a new team or giving an existing team a new project, remember that teams require a different set of resources than individual employees do. Teams must have the space to work together, the tools and equipment required to get the task done, and the intellectual resources that can only be obtained by using talented, motivated individuals within teams. Before implementing teams, consider if your organization has the resources to not only form teams, but to ensure the continuation and success of these teams.
The following steps can help you become better at facilitating teamwork:
WATCH: How to Build Your Team
DEVELOP your ability to Build Better Teams and other leadership skills by taking advantage of SIGMA’s Coaching Services.
Interested in a hard copy of this handout? Download your PDF copy of our Leadership Series Handout: Great Leaders Build Great Teams.