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  • Human Resource Dimensions

Teams and Team Building

Teams are anything but “standard.” There are everyday departmentwide teams, and some are even created within the same department to focus on a new project. Others are interdepartmental groups set up to increase communication and effectiveness. Whatever kind of team it is, to be effective, certain elements are common:

  • Commitment to the others on the team and the team’s goals

  • Clear performance goals

  • A clear understanding of each member’s responsibilities to the team and individual obligations

  • A diverse range of expertise that complements other team members

  • Trust between members

Teams can provide an advantage since members provide differing viewpoints, ideas and abilities—the whole is greater than its individual parts. This is only one reason teams work. Others can include the fact that teams are generally more responsive to changing needs; they are adept at problem-solving and, in general, are more engaged. It is essential to the success of a team that members have complementary skills, such as technical, problem-solving, decision-making or interpersonal skills. One major factor in successful teams is open and candid communication, which helps maintain motivation and promotes ongoing cooperation.

Here are a few tips to remember:

  • There is no magic formula for building a team.

  • Teams are organic—they grow and change.

  • Improving teams usually requires a combination of improving work skills, understanding of others, communication, negotiation and problem-solving skills.

  • Team building is tied to personal development—team development requires individual team members to grow and develop.

  • If the relationship between team goals and individual goals is close, the motivation to succeed together is greater.

  • Every team is unique.

Last but not least, celebrate a team’s successes. Recognition for a job well done is an incentive to build on that success.

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