The configuration of an effective work team

A work team is often perceived as a group of people who work on the same task, and who cooperate with each other in order to achieve the best possible effect. This definition is very accurate. The most important thing in a team is to effectively cooperate

A work team is often perceived as a group of people who work on the same task, and who cooperate with each other in order to achieve the best possible effect. This definition is very accurate. The most important thing in a team is to effectively cooperate and to pursue the goals common to all of its members. Very often, the word team is used interchangeably with group, but we have to remember that, in fact, there are significant differences between the two terms.

A group or a work team?

A group of people is nothing more than a certain number of individuals who get into direct contact with each other over time, and who spatially and temporarily detach themselves from others. Moreover, a group accepts some norms and rules of behavior common to all its members. Every individual in a group has a certain role to play, and everyone has the feeling of belonging to a community. Two people who influence each other and depend on each other already form a small group.

The previously mentioned work team is also a group. However, not every group can be named a team. In order for that to happen, certain conditions need to be fulfilled. Some of them refer to the effectiveness of individual members. A team always combines a small number of people who complement each other when it comes to talents, knowledge, and skills. Those who enter a team agree to follow its rules, cooperate, and pursue common goals. Every member of a given team should be strongly committed to the cooperative fulfillment of the assigned tasks. What is more, team members are always responsible for each other and for their work. Therefore, it is safe to say that a work team is not simply a group of people who aim at achieving the same goal. It is a certain number of individuals who rely on the knowledge and skills of all team members, and who are interdependent.

Only people who are aware of the importance of interdependence and their personal roles in a given group can be called a team. This awareness is crucial in order for a team to work effectively. Every team, not only on professional grounds, should make maximum use of synergy. Thanks to this, it is possible to find more or less effective solutions to problems in a short period of time. Undoubtedly, it is much easier for a group of skilled people than a single individual to cope with difficult situations.

The rules of team functioning

Every team should follow a set of rules which can be formulated as follows:

The team should create the feeling of mutual dependence
The common goal of the work should become the reason for cooperation
Every team member should feel responsible for his colleagues and for the team’s results
Every team member should participate in making the most important decisions and should profit from the team’s common efforts

The configuration of a team

One of the most effective methods of configuring a team is the transformation of any group of people who work at a given enterprise into a well-structured team. It is important to create the so-called deed of settlement (Polish: akt powołania) for a team so that its members can engage in mutual cooperation. Team members, who used to form a loose group, should now recognize that they need the talents and experience of their colleagues in order to achieve better effects at work and to reach the previously established goals. A group that has been transformed into a team has to be totally convinced that the cooperation of all team members leads to better decisions – decisions which are more accurate and yield better results.

Every team member should be assigned a totally new function which was previously unknown to him. It is advisable to make him participate as often as possible in planning and decision making processes in relation to the whole team. We may say that a team is being formed because its members work on establishing its proper configuration. The talents of team members have to be used according to their roles in relation to a given assignment. A leader is a crucial figure in every team because he is the one who encourages all members to make a bigger effort and to actively cooperate with others. With the help of their leader, team members should recognize their roles and functions in the early stage of formation of the team’s ranks. The next step is making employees aware that through a far reaching integration of their roles they can swiftly and successfully achieve the goals related to a given project or assignment.

A very important element of configuring a team of workers is the establishment of effective methods of communication. Such information exchange should be based on sincerity and mutual trust of all team members. Every time, such information should include feedback related to actions of the entire team and not its individual members. It is worth to emphasize that, in this kind o team, the main aim of listening is to understand the person who speaks. He or she is our partner, therefore, we must not attack him or her for speaking out openly. Team members have to always remember that they act cooperatively and demonstrate solidarity in relation to the world around them, e.g., the environment in which their company functions.

Bad configuration of a work team

Not every team configuration ends up in a spectacular success. Sometimes, even in the cases of large and dynamically developing companies, teams fail in their undertakings. Why is it so? In most cases, the causes can be found in the character qualities of people. Not every person can become a good team member because he or she might not know how to cooperate with others. Some other reasons why teams fail in their undertakings are as follows:

Problems that stem from the lack of precision and the inability to perform certain tasks
Ineffective communication between team members

The success of a work team

If a team is to achieve spectacular results, it should be configured properly. It is best to assign this task to team leaders because they know best what qualities and what skills are needed in order to get the job done properly. Generally speaking, the adequate choice of people for our team, with reference to their competences and styles of work, is the key to success. Of course, in order for the team to function properly, the leader (sometimes also referred to as the manager) has to do his work well. He is the one responsible for the choice of people. It is his role to effectively manage the work of his entire team and its individual members alike. A leader should make effective use of motivational systems – not only those based on financial bonuses, but also non-money related ones. In order to use them properly, he has to understand the character qualities and the needs of his subordinates. Some people are motivated by receiving new and more difficult challenges. Others prefer to take on the responsibility for an entire task without sharing it with other workmates. A good leader has to also effectively communicate with all members of his team. Without a satisfying level of communication, his actions do not bring the expected results or show little effectiveness.

Because every team member has a different personality and different style of work, he or she has to be managed in a different way. Paradoxically, only this approach leads to equal treatment of all team members. A competent leader is an invaluable asset. He has to know as much as possible about his subordinates in order to know how to develop their skills and motivate them to work more effectively and with bigger commitment.

Employees are recruited to a team by a manager who considers his candidates’ skills, knowledge, and personal qualities that can prove to be very useful in order to get the job done properly. For example, if a team consists of highly skilled specialists who have an individual style of work, the team’s actions will not bring the results that the company and its management expect. Why? Teamwork and cooperation of employees are the two most important things.

The effective development of a team

Some people claim that a work team, once configured, should properly function when attempting to accomplish any task. This hardly ever proves to be true, and those who follow this idea will get unpleasantly surprised. In order for a team to be effective, one has to carefully and constantly work on its development.

The best way to help our team in its development is to create a safe environment for all its members – an environment that will allow them to effectively realize all the challenges put before them. Under such circumstances, a team can identify its strong and weak points and work on them. The weak points should be strengthened as soon as possible. This usually happens by introducing a new person to the team.

A team manager should work on creating mutual trust between team members by strengthening their informal relations. He has to gradually increase the level of cooperation and the will of subordinates to communicate with each other. It is important to ensure that, during the functioning of a team, all channels of communication do not suffer from any problems. The next step on the way to increasing the effectiveness of the development of a team is to increase the awareness of mutual dependence and responsibility for the actions of the group as a whole.

During the formation of an effective team of employees, we have to bear in mind that the effects of people who cooperate with each other are far greater and more positive than the work of individuals who perform their tasks alone. The general and most important thing during the configuration of a work team is to remember that its effectiveness relies heavily on the proper distribution of tasks between its members. If we bear that in mind, our teams should be able to do their work effectively. Teamwork establishes totally new goals for individuals who used to work alone. These goals can be achieved only if all members learn to cooperate with each other effectively.