Teamwork is the ability of team members to work together, communicate effectively, anticipate and meet each other’s demands, and inspire confidence, resulting in a coordinated collective action.
The group relentlessly pursues performance excellence through shared goals, shared leadership, collaboration, open communication, clear role expectations and group operating rules, early conflict resolution, and a strong sense of accountability and trust among its members.
Stages of Team Development
There are four-phase model of team development which are forming, storming, norming and performing. Refinement by other researchers has resulted in a well-known team development process that provides a useful framework for leaders and team members seeking to understand the nature of group dynamics and their evolution.
The four typically recognized stages of the process include:
- Forming. Individuals are trying to get to know each other and have not formed a commitment to the team.
- Storming. In this typically rocky stage, team members may challenge the leader and each other. The leader coaches members on how to manage conflict and focus on goals
- Norming. After individuals have worked through conflicts, the team begins to develop. People begin to appreciate their differences and start to work together. The leader begins to serve as a facilitator, offering encouragement and guidance.
- Performing. At this stage, the team is fully functional, and members are able to manage their relationships and work toward shared goals. Team members feel accepted and communicate openly with the leader. The leader focuses on delegating responsibilities and must identify when the team is moving into a different stage.
Common Barriers Faced by teamwork
- Nonparticipating leadership. Team members fail to use a democratic leadership style that involves and engages team members.
- Poor decision-making. Team members make decisions too quickly without a blend of rational and intuitive decision-making methods.
- Infrequent communication. Lines of communication are closed and infrequent.
- Diversity not valued. Team members do not value the diversity of experience and backgrounds of their fellow team members, resulting in a lack of diverse viewpoints and less successful decision-making and solutions.
- Lack of mutual trust. Team members do not fully trust each other or the team as an entity.
- Inability to manage conflict. Not dealing with conflict openly and transparently and allowing grudges to build up can destroy team morale.
- Lack of goal clarity. Team members are unsure about their roles and the ultimate team goals, resulting in a lack of commitment and engagement.
- Poorly defined roles and responsibilities. Team members are not clear about what they must do to demonstrate their commitment to the team and to support team success.
- Relationship issues. The bonds between the team members are weak, which affects their efficiency and effectiveness.
- Negative atmosphere. An overall team culture that is not open, transparent, positive and future-focused results in a failure to perform at high levels.
Tips for Getting Team to Work Together
- Set team goals: Use timelines, plans and structured content that clearly define current and future goals for the team.
- Foster a creative environment: Allow team members to brainstorm in an open, non-judgmental framework that embraces the team’s purpose and direction.
- Build Cohesion: Create a means of communicating that allows for easy workflow, establishes a distinct set of priorities and makes all members feel included.
- Visualize Ideas: Give team members the opportunity to use visuals to clarify and share their ideas at the simplest level.
- Breakdown barriers: using multiple channels of communication such as email, phone and text messaging can ultimately create barriers to successful collaboration
- Follow Through: With all of the focus on creating ideas, don’t forget the most important step: acting on the good ones. #MMBA