7 things to do in a Team at Work, tells you tips to be followed when you are working as a Team at workplace. A team is like a lubricant that oils the engine of a company. It keeps the company going. A team can sink the ship or set it sailing.
A good team along with a good leader is a pre – requisite for success, especially in the world of commerce. In any career, be it in the PR department, executive department, planning department or at managerial level, if a person learns to be a leader as well as a good team member, his chances of climbing up the corporate ladder are high. A leader is not one who commands others, but also takes people along, says a proverb.
Team spirit is of utmost importance at any level of corporate ascension. The responsibility of acquiring a good team falls on the leader, who could be a manager, CEO or HR department official. Notwithstanding good market conditions, a hard working team (including the leader) is what helps a company work efficiently. Hence the importance of a good team cannot be emphasized enough. Take for instance the entertainment industry which has a huge team which is indispensable. It includes the producer, director, actors, marketing team, action director, screenplay writer, dialogue writer, advertising team, make-up artists, music director and so on. Every person in a team has his or her role cut out for him or her and the task has to be done diligently by the team member for a satisfactory outcome. The work is distributed to members according to their proficiency and experience in the field.
The IT industry, real estate firms, advertising firms, media industry, or the banking industry- all maintain good teams. Thus, operating an industry can never be a one-man show.
Qualities of a good team
A good team is one where the optimum potential of all the team members has been harnessed, thus contributing to the growth of the company as well as the team working under the company. It has to be a win-win situation where the enthusiasm of the team and the smooth sailing for the company can be guaranteed. The sea may be rough, but the team sticks together to steer the ship forward. That is how one can identify a good team.
Vince Lombardi said “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work”.
Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likable local says, “It might be fun, or interesting, or exciting to be on your own, but a one person business can only grow so much. I have learnt that the only way to build a company with great success and scale is to build a great team. No matter how smart, talented, driven or passionate you are, your success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to build and inspire a team”.
Industrialist Andrew Carnegie said “Teamwork is the ability to work together towards a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
Andrew Carnage helped launch an entire industry. He couldn’t have done that on his own. He needed a team to help him. In the Quotation he talks about how teams united in purpose can achieve uncommon results. Considering that he sold his steel company to JP Morgan for about $370 billion in today’s dollars, it is to say he practiced what he preached.
LinkedIn co-founder Raid Hottman says “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy is, if you play a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team”. The Importance of a team cannot be emphasized more than what Hottman has said.
There are many tips that can be followed while acquiring a good team. Let us take a closer look.
• Make a plan
The first step towards acquiring a good team is to make a plan.
Plan as to what the team is being built for, the company requirements and how large a team is required to execute the plans. Put the plan on paper and make the requirements clear so that it suits the company.
“Goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan, in which one must fervently believe, and upon which one must vigorously act. There is no other route to success,” said Pablo Picasso, the master of modern art. Likewise, inventor Thomas Alva Edison said, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning”. Long ago, Chinese philosopher Confucius said “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door”. No matter which age or country one lives, planning is the first step towards reaching his or her goal.
While planning, one must keep in mind that too much workload on a person can be fatal, while too less responsibility can make them idle away their time and wastes company’s resources. If one asks a company chief about the company’s success, they might say that they managed to have a wonderful team. But managing a team does take more effort than just creating one.
Make the objectives of the company as well as the objective of taking up a particular task clear to all the team members. The aim of the company and its targets has to be outlined clearly. It may look too simple an objective, but a clear picture of the task is what touches a chord in the members.
Richard Branson, famous entrepreneur of Virgin group says “A passionate belief in your business and personal objectives can make all the difference between success and failure. If you aren’t proud of what you are doing, why should somebody else be?” Business objectives of a company must be as clear as crystals to the person at the helm which can then be explained to the team. Tom Steyer says “Clarity of a vision is the key to achieving your objectives.”
Objective has the word object in it. Objects are concrete. Because of this, objectives can be scoped with time frames, budgets and tangible results.
Rob Liana, a life coach and an author says “If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never find it. “
•A goal for each
Give a specific goal for each member of the team. Individual goals make them strive hard towards completion and derive satisfaction. A sense of achievement keeps the team going and infuses confidence in them. Hence each team member must be assigned specific tasks and a time frame within which to complete it. A leader must be able to find what work must be assigned to which member. Here the ability of a leader is put to test.
Difference between goals and objectives
Objectives are the specific actions and measurable steps your company must take to reach the goals. They give you clear understandings of the specific tasks or projects that need to be completed in order to get closer to the primary goals. Creating goals without clear objectives leads to goals that never get accomplished. Goals are the aims set by a company and they give a broad picture of what the company intends to achieve. The objectives are the concise steps taken to achieve the goals of the company.
For example, the goal of a person could be to become a well published author of a novel. Here, the objective of the person must be to get a precise number of copies sold. For example 30,000 copies in the first print or so.
Another example could be that a company sets the goal of increasing the sales by 50% in a year. The objective of the company could be to increase the sales by 5% every month to reach its goal.Thus when the goal is backed up by objectives, the aim is reached.
• Clear communication
If team members are the building blocks of a company, communication is what cements them together. The greater the communication, better the bond, thus leading to the smooth functioning of a firm. If a person is able to communicate his ideas, half the work is done.
Communication must flow from top-down as well and the leader must be available for discussing issues. A leader must be able to welcome differences and be magnanimous enough to give everyone a patient hearing. Communication must lead to a conducive atmosphere at work.
“Poor communication is the root cause of problems and dissatisfaction in an organization”, said Girish Anand.
Paul J Meyer says, ” Communication – the human connection, is the key to personal and career success”.
Yehuda Berg says, “Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”
So that sums up the importance of communication for human kind.
A saying goes, if you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Be it in a man’s personal life or work life, the importance of co-operation cannot be stressed enough.
Working in collaboration as a team member is not a skill that everyone is born with; however, it is a skill that can be learnt. Hence it would be good if an organization spends money on workshops and seminars on the topic of teamwork for the benefit of its employees. Making sure that each employee understands not only his or her role, but also the roles of the people around them will help everyone in the long run. It will make them see the big picture and understand how they fit into the larger puzzle. Cooperation among team members makes work look like fun and less stressful. Things become less taxing for everybody involved, creating a positive environment.
When the team members co-operate among themselves and the leader chips in as well as a team member, the results will be beyond expectations.
An unknown author said, “Teamwork divides the tasks and multiplies the success”
Henry Ford said “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” So, three cheers to co-operation in the workplace.
• Enthusiasm and work culture
Willingness to work and contribute to the team is an important trait of a good team member. Search for people with enthusiasm for work while recruiting members to a team. This is the most important additional quality of a team member apart from their qualifications and experience. Enthusiasm goes a long way in reaching one’s objectives and goals in life.
Napoleon Hill, an author says “Enthusiasm is the foundation of a pleasing responsibility and you must have such a personality in order to influence others to co-operate with you”. Enthusiasm is so important that it is said, “If you don’t feel enthusiastic, then fake your enthusiasm”.
Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson says “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”. Give perks and promotions to people who work with enthusiasm and perform well. This creates a strong work culture where performance is valued and rewarded. Thus the company can reach its objectives with the performance of its employees. A strong work culture can be instilled in the employees when integrity and performance are rewarded.
•Establish Strong Leadership
A leader of a company must be clear about the vision and goals of his company and expectations from his team. He must be capable enough to simplify the task for them. He must be subtle and stern at the same time. A leader in today’s world should lead the people, but in a gentle way. He must be convincing enough to make the team members follow him willingly. Therein lies the capacity of a leader. To sum it up, a leader must be a visionary with a gentle aspect to his or her character. He thus should have the vision to serve the company he is associated with and also have the wellbeing and development of his team members in mind. It is said, “Great things in business are never done by one person “. They are done by a team of people”. There is no doubt that successful people build each other up. They motivate, inspire and push each other while unsuccessful people just hate, blame and complain. It is up to the team members and the leaders to choose which road they wish to take. The path must be clear to the leader and the others will join hands.
Bill Gates said, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. ”No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or to get all the credit for doing it,” Andrew Carnegie said.
John Maxwell said “A great leader has courage to fulfill his vision. This vision comes from passion, not from position.”
“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through arguments, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand”, said General Colin Powell.
7 things to do in a Team at WORK – What not to do while selecting a team
While we have gone into the details of how to acquire a good team, one must also know the don’ts to be followed while hiring a team.
If a company is looking for the perfect employee to create the perfect team, then it could be disappointed because such a thing doesn’t exist. It is the responsibility of the leader to bring out the best in its team members by placing them in the right places and encouraging them to take risks and also perform better.
- Don’t ignore strengths and weaknesses
- Don’t let conflicts linger
- Don’t micromanage
- Do not cut on perks and rewards
- Do not allow procrastination
- Do not indulge in blame game
- Do not encourage dishonesty
•Don’t ignore strengths and weaknesses
For keeping a good team, each team member must be valued. Each member adds up to the total value of a team, just like drops of water that add up to become a water body. Thus each member must be counted upon and placed with responsibilities according to their strengths in talents and experience. This helps them to be productive and deliver the goods. The onus is on the team leader to give each member responsibilities keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses. Like the story of the pigeons which flew away carrying the hunters’ net that was placed to trap them, each person has to perform their task.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”. This underlines the importance of each individual and what difference his actions can bring about in the world
Mother Theresa said, “Do not wait for leaders, do it alone, person to person.”
Alice Walker said, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” Thus every drop of water counts and every person counts.
•Do not let conflicts linger
Conflicts do arise in a team. This is quite normal, because each person has his own perspective and way of approaching any issue or any task. Just like there are many religions, but they all talk of one supreme God, the intentions of each team member may be the same, but the way they approach might be different. The differences need to be looked into and any conflict of opinion must be dealt with in a gentle and effective way. There might be some tight rope-walking a leader might have to do, but it has to be done to iron out the conflicts and any subsequent animosity.
As a business leader, one of the top priorities of a leader is to nurture the team. This means dealing with the conflict. Thomas Isgar said “Conflict can destroy a team which hasn’t spent time learning how to deal with it”. Losing an argument to win the situation can win here. Taking the higher ground (whether you win or lose) always creates a better outcome. The leader as well as team members need to be more flexible and trained to do so. Conflict management specialist Thomas Crum says, “In a conflict, being willing to change allows you to move from a point of view to a viewing point- a higher, more expansive place, from which you can see both sides”. A leader must always remember the proverb, “A stitch in time saves nine”.
•Do not micromanage
While it is the duty of a leader to set goals and assign roles to his team members, it is very important to see to it that the team members have the freedom to decide how to go about their work. Bothering team members with every minute detail can stifle their creativity and zest. A leader must know where to set boundaries and where he or she has to step back.
Micromanagement can lead to obsession with perfection and it can irritate the members and leave them disinterested. Everybody values their freedom and denying it could lead to rebellion. This is unhealthy for any company.
John Strokes, an author says, “Authority when abused through micro management, intimidation or verbal or nonverbal threats, makes people shut down and productivity ceases.”
Miles Anthony Smith, author of “Why Leadership Sucks” says Micromanagement is the destroyer of momentum. Another author Pearl Zhu says,” The result of micromanagement is perhaps tangible in the short run, but more often causes damage for the long run”.
Stewart Stafford Stafford sums it up saying, “Micromanaging creativity kills it. To encourage creative brilliance, foster an atmosphere where it can thrive and then step out of the way and let it happen”.
John Rosemond says, “Invariably micromanaging results in the four problems: deceit, disloyalty, conflict and communication problems. All these need to be totally avoided.”
•Do not cut on perks and rewards
Everyone has an innate need to be appreciated and rewarded. It is like the fuel for an engine to keep it going. Kind words and small rewards can help boost the morale of a team and keep them going. Rewards can be small gestures like words of appreciation, prizes, momentos, and perks in salary or a party thrown in honor of a colleague. It is this human side of a leader that makes workers want to work for him or her. Hence a leader must invariably be aware of it and find innovative ways to reward his team members.
Aristotle said, ” In the arena of human life, the honor and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action’. A Dutch proverb says “Reward sweetens Labor”.
• Do not allow procrastinations
A proverb says, tomorrow never comes. Procrastinations and lethargy are the biggest enemies of any person as work gets piled up day after day. Once procrastination sets in, it becomes a herculean task to finish the piled up work and deadlines just pass by. It eats into the confidence of a person and affects the productivity of the person as a whole. Any delay made by one person can affect the team as a whole. Thus being active and alert is a virtue every team mate should inculcate in their work life.
Horace said “He who has begun is half done. Dare to be wise, begin”. Likewise George H Lorimer said, “Putting off an easy thing makes it hard and putting off a hard one makes it impossible”. Benjamin Franklin has said, “You may delay, but time will not and lost time is never found again”. To quote Napoleon Bonaparte, “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in ”. Alexander Graham Bell said “The only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action. ” E L Simpson says,” Getting an idea should be like sitting on a pin, it should make you jump and do something”.
• Do not indulge in a blame game
Being civil, polite and well behaved are essential in any social setup or business enterprise alike. These are qualities one cannot do away with even after acquiring so many degrees or titles. Playing blame games or mind games can get you short term victories but doesn’t work in the long haul. The more a person is ready to be flexible and civil and owns up for his or her actions, the better are his or her chances to survive in a company in the long run. A team member must not be a trouble monger, but must become a trouble shooter. This wins the trust of the leader and the team members as well. It also creates a win-win situation for the team as well as the company.
“Everyone loves a witch hunt as long as it’s someone else’s witch being hunted,” says Walter Kern. A Chinese proverb says, “He who blames others has a long way to go on his journey. He who blames himself is halfway there. He who blames no one has arrived”. John Wooden says, “You can make mistakes, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes”
•Do not encourage dishonesty
Integrity in personal life as well as in a profession is necessary to build trust. Even among team members, trust and honesty are revered values. Dishonesty is contagious and hence needs to be nipped in the very beginning. Or else it could take a company to the brink of bankruptcy. Just as life is built on trust, so is a company. A person sitting in a bank, counting lakhs of currency notes must be trustworthy. He or she should not give in to temptations or dishonesty, or the bank would suffer huge losses. Thus it is important that every team member is working with integrity and honesty.
Norodom Sihanouk said, “Time will inevitably uncover dishonesty and lies; history had no place for them.”
-Sushma P Mayya
(A journalist by profession, a voracious reader with interest in history, literature and classical music.)