Updated: Oct 23, 2019
One of the essential skills that places us on the right career path and be recognized as leaders is the ability to establish and run successful teams. First, let’s define what a ‘successful team’ is. A successful team is the one that 1) can work collaboratively and interactively with each other, 2) aims to achieve common goals. However, being a leader who believes in the importance of teamwork and enthusiastically advocates for it is simply not enough to establish teamwork in your organization. Even the willingness of the team to work together is not enough as well. Teamwork needs an environment and an atmosphere to develop and grow. The pillars of establishing this teamwork environment are: the setting, the specialist, and the segregating system.
The setting: the teamwork setting is an open setting where all can participate equally. It’s the setting where hierarchy is present enough to steer the people’s effort towards collaboration but is of little restrains on people’s thoughts and inputs. A setting that allows for open interactions and encourages structured arguments. A setting that encourages all members to participate freely but at the same time suppresses egotists and pessimists from ruining the teamwork environment. A system that rewards team players and recognize them as good calibers to be promoted at work.
The specialist: Initiatives that count on teamwork to be achieved must start with—and supported along the way—with healthy interactions. And this healthy interaction can’t take place without the presence of an expert moderator specialized in running such interactions and streamlining them. Many managers think that, simply because they are the managers, they can take the lead in brainstorming sessions and then distribute the tasks on the team members accordingly. My experience tells me that this usually doesn’t work. An expert in moderation and facilitation may be needed to run such interactions especially at the beginning. This will allow the team to speak freely, allow for more structured inputs not affected by hierarchy or position in the organization, and help the session to be more productive.
The role of management in this situation is to provide a thorough and complete overview to this moderator, so he or she can totally understand the task at hand and the way management perceives its execution. Management can then take the lead in the follow up brainstorming sessions, after an expert facilitator helps in the launch of the team initiative.
The segregating system: a system that can identify when teamwork collaboration is the only way to move ahead in a task. Not all tasks need teamwork, and in some cases individual performance is a better and more effective way to achieve a certain goal. In other times there may be a need for more than one person working on a task, but that doesn’t mean they have to work so closely together to get the task done. Wise managers know what tasks require individuals to accomplish and what tasks require a team. The system that keeps the main objective in front of all team members, while keeping an eye on the way they’re collaborating to achieve this objective. The share of credit each member should expect. The reward system that balances between individual achievement and team collaboration.
“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” - Ken Kesey