Keys To An Effective Team

It is the assumption that if people work well together that they are a good team. But nothing could be further from the truth.  Teamwork is not just working together but working for the benefit of the team.

I worked a job assembling roofing trusses there were 10 people on the assembly line.  But everyone had an alpha dog mentality, meaning each saw themselves as the leader.  They were able to work with others but unable to communicate or take orders.  When something went wrong it was always the other persons fault.

There was a prevailing attitude that they were the best and the others were inferior.  There was no true respect for one another and often there was a lot of back biting and gossip.  Though we were all working together there was no real teamwork let alone a real team.  People on the assembly line were to busy looking to see if anyone else was making mistakes and it interfered with their ability to do their own job.  One of the other problems it created was intimidation to where others were afraid when ever this person was around, that they were not doing it right.  It caused more rejected trusses and resulted in lower quality, many mistakes and lost time and revenue.

Here are keys to a successful team

1) Respect

Each person respects the other no matter what their position, length of time on the team, age, education or experience.  Respect is something that needs to be given even if you don’t like one of the other people on your team.  BTW, not liking a person on you team makes you a non-team player.

2) Professionalism

You are all one team so professionalism is required no matter what field your team is in.  Professionalism is more geared toward the customer than each other but still professionalism is needed amongst team members too.  This includes going beyond your duties so the customer is satisfied.

3) Trust

If you can’t trust a team member then there is no real team.  Trust is given until it is lost and once lost takes extra effort on the part of the one who violated it to mend it and earn it back.  Trusting a team member to have your back in any situation is necessary but once that trust is gone or if it is lacking then the team is dysfunctional and hence no longer a team.

4) Communication

This is an essential key and the bases on the above three takes effort to communicate truthfully, clearly, freely and without fear of retaliation or retribution such as gossip or backbiting.   Generally if the latter begins it is because someone didn’t like the communication they received.  Communication takes practice and it takes the ability to not interpret it beyond what is said.

As mentioned before listening is an important fact in communication.  But it is a two way street.  Remember, if you are not willing to listen then you can’t expect the one receiving your communication to listen?

Gossip to other members of the team is not communication it is destruction of the team and creates an atmosphere of distrust and animosity.  Any team member who is active in this needs to reevaluate  their reason for being on the team and if they cannot stop then for the benefit of the team they should resign.  Read “Gossip is not Co-equal Communication” for more info on gossip.

Communication is 92% body language and intonation.  If you carry incorrect body language and intonation of speech you will offend and even hurt your customer and or team member.  Always remain upbeat and smile with your words.  This is not smiling while you speak, this is placing intonation on your words in a way they are smiling even when your face is not.  This is great for phone etiquette when a person has no body language to go by in interpreting your words.

4) Quality

As a team seek to do your job with the best quality of attitude and abilities you have.  This does not mean that mistakes wont be made but when the team is working in a quality mode many mistakes are caught before they reach the customer.  Quality is produced when all the above keys are in place and working.

Being a fourth lineman on a team that was making trusses, I got in the habit to have some plates that were used in the second and third lineman’s positions so if they missed a plate (which occasionally happened) I would put it in place as I did my own work on the truss before it went into the press.  This teamwork paid off and created a quality product.  It was not my job to do their work but If they got overwhelmed I could help out and in the end we as a team created a quality product.

No matter what occupation you are in whether office, sales or labor these teamwork keys are beneficial and necessary for the success of any and every endeavor.  If you have these qualities in your team then you have the signs of a great team.


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