Teamwork and collaboration are vital in the modern workplace. Katzenbach and Smith provide a good definition of teamwork “A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed in a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”
Google did some research into what makes a good team, they looked at published studies and interviewed hundreds of employees. The findings show that the best teams respect one another’s emotions and are mindful that all members should contribute to the conversation equally. Julia Rozovsky of Google People Operations says “Who is on a team matters less than how the team members interact, structure their work, and view their contributions.“
Success as a manager is directly related to how well you lead and connect with your people. If you want to nurture talent and encourage ambition then I’d suggest you ask:
- Is leadership in the organisation visible, authentic and engaged with the workforce?
- Do you put collaborative working and personal development at the heart of your workplace culture?
- Are career pathways clear to employees and are you making the most of opportunities for talent development?
- Do you have good two-way communication with the workforce? Dialogue not dictation.
- Does the organisation recognise the value flexible working?
Team work is the interplay of purpose and goals, talent, skills, performance management, incentives, motivation, leadership, conflict and communication, empowerment, norms and standards.
Successful teams are cohesive because team members work cooperatively, they share goals and the resources to achieve their objectives. They are productive, not because team members don’t disagree, but because they work out ways to resolve conflicts when they occur. Stephen Covey says “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.”
Most employees will look for roles that are consistent with their strengths and interests. As a manager you should look for strengths of your team members and ask them what parts of their work they most enjoy or would like to develop. At 10Eighty we use Strengthscope® to help team leaders and their team members to understand not only the strengths each individual brings to the team, but also how well the team applies well-researched team habits productively to translate these strengths into results.
Surveys have demonstrated a positive impact on high performance by teams with a diversity of ages, ethnicity and gender. A diverse workforce can also improve organisational productivity and creativity. Patrick Lencioni says “teamwork is uniquely powerful, enabling groups of people to achieve more collectively than they could have imagined doing apart.” Focus on the collective identity for the best results.
In a dynamic, networked workplace, managers are restructuring the old hierarchical models to build networks of empowered, interdisciplinary teams which collaborate in making strategic decisions to deliver on the organisation’s overall business objectives.