If you’re having trouble with teamwork it might mean you haven’t got the right mix of personalities and roles in your group. Here are some ways to work better as a team.
Teams need a mixture of personalities and strengths to be fully effective. A team with six leaders doesn’t work, nor does one without someone who focuses on the details. We look at how teams work and what it takes to improve teamwork skills.
Get the roles right
There are various ideas about what it takes to create the right team. One of the most commonly referred to models is the Belbin Theory, developed by Meredith Belbin at Henley Management College in the UK. According to Belbin, there are 9 key roles within a team:
- The investigator is inquisitive and brings ideas to the team
- The teamworker helps the team come together and helps others complete their tasks
- The coordinator focuses on the team’s objectives and delegates effectively
- The plant is a creative problem solver
- The evaluator is logical and impartial when considering challenges
- The specialist has in-depth knowledge of specific areas
- The shaper drives the project and keeps it going
- The implementer plans an effective strategy
- The complete finisher has an eye for detail and finesses tasks
If your team isn’t working the way you envisaged, perhaps you haven’t got an optimum team composition. For example, there may be too many people trying to own the ‘plant’ role or perhaps no-one has taken the ‘implementer’ role. Getting the balance right could improve everyone’s teamwork skills.
Have a sense of purpose
Lack of clarity around goals will negatively impact on effective teamwork. This is why it’s worth the team leader taking time to make the team’s aims explicit at the outset. Without a sense of what it’s trying to achieve, a team will quickly fall apart.
Once you’ve established the team’s mission and vision, you can share it with everyone and refer back to it as the project progresses.
Resolve conflicts of style
Another issue that can affect teamwork is that of different working styles. For example, one team member might be very process-driven. Another may want to work in a way that’s more relaxed, spontaneous and flexible.
However, different approaches can be complementary and beneficial to teams. Your team leaders should be looking for ways to frame differences positively. To manage them in ways that bring new, different and refreshing perspectives on the project.
Poor communication is a common cause of conflict and under-performance in teams. So improving communication is crucial when considering ways to work better as a unit.
Having the right collaboration tools in place can play a vital role in enabling this. Platforms like Workplace enable better collaboration in teams across offices and geographies. Using tools like Workplace Chat allows teams to message in real time, hold voice or video calls with project members, and share unlimited documents with ease.
Good teamwork is more often a story about people rather than technology. But the tools your organization uses can have a direct impact on the ability of teams to collaborate and work effectively as a unit.
Find the packages and products that help people reduce distance in your organization and encourage participation, even among those who are reluctant. That way you can make sure that no one in the team ever feels out of the loop.