Teamwork and the Team Leader
One of the most valuable benefits of a strong workforce is the ability to draw creativity and ingenuity from multiple sources within your company to achieve a professional goal. When you have a strong team working on a project, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. But what is team work in the workplace? Let’s consider some of the components of building a team in which everyone brings something to the project in an environment where everyone benefits.
Having a reliable and trusted Team Leader is essential to success. Leading by example promotes confidence and motivates a team. A good team leader inspires by creating and maintaining a positive environment, and providing effective support during any crisis phase of the project. He or she should set reasonable goals and deadlines for each phase of the project and communicate them clearly and concisely to the rest of the team. Once the team leader puts the following concepts into motion, the work can begin to flow.
Create an atmosphere of clear, concise communication. Speaking in direct language will deliver your message and impart the specific information you wish to convey. Vagueness, abstractions or metaphors are open to interpretation and are vulnerable to misinterpretation. Listen. Remember that listening is part of clear and productive communication. Invite team members to share their ideas and suggestions. This generates a team experience and shows respect for team members. Clarify any errors and clear up misunderstandings as soon as they arise. Be engaged throughout the entirety of the project, not simply handing out assignments and washing your hands of it after doing so.
Clarity of Purpose
Make sure the team understands the Project Goals. It may seems simplistic, but go through the five “W’s” with them: Who is the client, What are we working on, When does this need to be completed by, Where is this project ultimately heading, Why are we doing what we are doing, by discusings the mission and the purpose of the project, and How are we going to achieve our goals as a team and as individuals?
The Team Leader must outline well defined roles and responsibilities for every team member. Organize processes and delegate when appropriate. Obviously, each team member must fully understand his or her obligations in order to meet expectations and succeed in completing their own piece of the puzzle. Additionally, knowing how the rest of the team fits in the greater scope of the activity encourages team members to work in concert with each other, not duplicating each other’s work, resulting in wasted time and money.
Every team hits stumbling blocks, whether it’s interpersonal conflict or unforeseen problems that arise during the project. Whatever the ailment, a strong Team Leader will take a hands-on approach to resolving issues quickly and respectfully. Have strategies in place to address and resolve conflicts and other difficulties. The longer problems continue, the more the project is hindered resulting in delays.
Collaboration and Cooperation
The whole point of having a team is working together. Figure out what that means in terms of your project needs:
- Consider employing various collaboration tools such as document sharing software or a dedicated project space where the team can meet and work together.
- Regular meetings for a quick status update will help keep everyone on track, and aware if parts of the project timeline shifts.
- Taking some time away from the project, while still working as a team is also important. Team building activities may help cultivate a unified atmosphere, and team members can get to know each other in a somewhat different setting. Choose an activity that’s relevant to your team goals and communicate the purpose of the activity. Perhaps you want to stress cooperation or provide a platform for team members to demonstrate their strengths.
- Celebrate project milestones and completed deadlines together as a team. Recognize the good work that has been done and inspire more to come. Additional recognition and rewards can provide encouragement. Remember that teamwork should be and feel inclusive.
In any business, as in life, working as a team helps to achieve goals by bringing the strengths and creativity of multiple individuals together into a single project. Having a Team Leader who inspires and can bring out the best in each member is essential to bring a project full circle from design to execution. They work for the betterment of each person and the success of the whole group, through careful, thoughtful leadership.