This article defines the features needed for a team to work effectively. I have been managing customer facing teams that are part time, have additional responsibilities, and with ebbs and flows in their work. Over time I have added temporary and permanent staff. These all add complexities around team balance and composition.
Firstly, each team members should be committed to their own role within the team. As a manager I am responsible for ensuring they are clear about their role and the roles of others in the team. Once this is the case then mutual respect between team members can be earned. For a team to work well together each team member needs to value each other and the natural differences of each other. Once that mutual respect is in place there is mutual cooperation and acceptance of each others strengths and weaknesses, the different knowledge and skills on hand.
As a manager I am responsible for goal setting at team and individual level – usually through annual performance plans. I am responsible for ensuring the team members understand and agree to the team goals. That shared agreements aids commitment and motivation.
Having shared commitment across the team means they will work together effectively on shared roles and being able to carry out their individual roles more effectively.
As the manager I am responsible for ensuring that each member of my team have the right skill set for their role so they can perform to expectations. Having team members who are both skilled and understand their role leads to balance across the team. I also need to ensure the team are constantly aware of the shared team purpose – a shared identity they all understand how they fit into it; this leads to greater productivity
An effective team should have an agreed set of values: what they believe and promote, how they operate. This ensures the team has minimal conflict.
Communication is the glue in the team. Effective communication leads to work being done on time and to standards. It ,means they understand each other and what is happening in the team. It means the team are sharing ideas, and knowledge with each other, leading to learning and reinforces shared goals. A team communicating effectively respects and trusts each other and makes shared decisions.
In summary, the features of an effective team have effective communication at the heart of them. They need to know their own roles as well as the team’s purpose; they need to have shared values; and the right skill sets individually to ensure there is a balanced set up.
See also the Role of the Team Leader in the team.