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    BuildingEffectiveTeams

    By

    SonjaChamberlinandMeenaKumar,SAITPolytechnic,Calgary,Alberta

    GroupversusTeam

    Thewords 'team' and 'group' are generally used interchangeably, yet there is a distinct differencebetween the two.A group isanumberof individualsworking togetherwhilea 'team' isagroupofindividualsworkingtowardacommongoal.Ateamcannormallyoutperformagroup.

    The following paper outlines some characteristics and benefits of high performance teams andstrategiesforbuildingthem.

    SuccessfulandEffectiveTeams

    Mostteamsarentteamsatallbutmerelycollectionsofindividualrelationshipswiththeboss.Eachindividualvyingwiththeothersforpower,prestigeandposition.DouglasMcGregor

    DonClark(2011)suggeststhataneffectiveteamcanmaximizetheorganization'shumanresources.Ateamcanbeeffectiveifthereistrustandmutualaccountabilitybetweenthemembers.Teammembershelp each other and each member will lead other members at various points throughout therelationship. Successesand failuresareequally feltbyallmembers,not justan individual.Thisgivesmembersmore courage to take risks and therefore, realizebigger gains.Most importantly, a teamsoutput issuperior toagroupof individualsdue to thesynergisticeffectofa team (Majorbenefitsofteams,para1).

    Inorder for a team tobe successful, all the teammembers shouldbe knowledgeable regarding thestructure,mandate and the strategic direction of the organization. They should be familiarwith thepoliciesandoperationalprocesses.Rulesofengagementandexpectationsaremutuallyagreeduponbyallmembersintheteam.Theyallshareacommongoal,andtogethertheysetconcretemilestonesforselfassessmentandperformance.Smallwinsarecelebratedalongthewaytomilestones.

    AsstatedbyMarkMiller(2001),successfulteamsbeginwithafocusonresults.Havingtalentedpeopleinateambuildsastrongfoundation;however,theskillsetwithintheteammembersandthesenseofcommunity/teamspiritmustbebuiltsimultaneouslyinordertogetoptimumresults(p.79).ThismodelisdepictedinFigure1below.

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    SuccessfulTeams

    Figure1.AdaptedfromTheSecretofTeams,MarkMiller(2001),p.79

    Ifgivenanopportunity,effectiveteamsshouldbebuiltstrategically.Themembersshouldnotonlybecompetent,butalsohaveastrongcharacterandauniqueskillsetthatcomplimentothers'intheteam.Thereshouldbechemistrybetweenteammemberswitheachmemberbeingacustom'fit'intheteam(Miller,2001,p.28).EffectiveTeamBuildingthroughPrincipledLeadership

    Beforeyouarealeader,successisallaboutgrowingyourself.Whenyoubecomealeader,successisallaboutgrowingothers."JackWelch

    Allteamsrequireprincipledleadership.Strongleadersprovidementorshipwhilesettinghighstandardsofexcellence.Theyareinfluentialinsecuringadequateresourcesbothinternalandexternal(LarsenandLaFasto,1989).Clearandsustainabletargetsaresetincollaborationwiththeteam.Specificdirectiontoachieve these targets is mapped out together and mutual constructive feedback for continuousimprovement is provided. Purpose of the project and the value added by the teams work iscommunicatedeffectively inordertogetbuyin.Positivereinforcementbooststheteamsconfidencewhilerecognitionandawardsandquickwinsarecelebratedtoincreasetheenthusiasmoftheteam.EffectiveTeamBuildingthroughStrengthBasedLeadershipInordertoaccomplishastrategicplanwithdiversegoals,theteamneedstobewellroundedwitheachmemberbringinguniqueskills,strengthsandtalents.Highperformanceteamsalignprojectscapitalizingonmembersstrengthsratherthanfocusingonimprovingtheirweaknesses(ConchieandRath,2008,p.2).Allindividualshaveadistinctpersonalityandareasofstrengthwheretheydemonstrateleadership.Itisbeneficialandproductive to focusonpeoplesstrengthsrather than tryto improvetheirweaknesses.Someteamscompleteapsychometricassessmentandsharetheresultsfromtheseassessmentswithallmembersoftheteam.Thisgivesmembersanewperspectivewhendealingwithothermemberswithin

    CommunityRESULTS

    Skills

    Talent

    Fit=Character,Competency&Chemistry

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    the team. Investing in peoples strengths maximizes their engagement, effectiveness and output(ConchieandRath,2008,p.15).OutlinedinTables1and2belowarethefourpersonalityandbehaviorstylesbasedontheDiSCProfileand complimenting them are the four leadership domains as defined by Conchie and Rath (2008).Effectiveandsuccessfulteamshavemembersineachofthefourdomains(p.23).PersonalityandBehaviorStyles

    Profile CharacteristicsDominance Direct,decisive,drivenproblemsolvers,achieversInfluence Influencer,image,enthusiasmcommunicatorsSteadiness Steady,stable,supportiveprocessorientedConscientiousness Conscientious,correct,carefuldetailoriented,focusonqualityandaccuracy

    Table1.Adaptedfromdiscprofile.comLeadershipDomains

    Domains CharacteristicsStrategicThinking AbsorbsandanalyzesinformationtohelptheteammakebetterdecisionsRelationshipBuilding TheessentialgluethatholdsateamtogetherExecuting Makesthingshappen;implementssolutionsInfluencing Sellsideastoothers;getstheteamheard

    Table2.AdaptedfromStrengthBasedLeadership,ConchieandRath,2008.DelegationinanEffectiveTeam

    Ineffective teams, the leadership shifts from time to timedependingon theexpertise required.Thisallowsforgrowthanddevelopmentoftheteammembersandcontributestoamoreproductiveteam.Italsohelpswithtransitionplanning.

    Delegationoftasksisawaytoshiftleadershipwithintheteamanddevelopteamcapability.However,delegationofresponsibilityneedstobedoneeffectively inordertoachieveoptimumresults.Thefirststepistoidentifyanddefinethetaskstobedelegated.Next,distributethetaskstoindividualsbasedontheir strengths and passions. Ensure adequate resources are allocated. Then brief the team onexpectationsanddesiredoutcomes.Giveteammembersbothresponsibilityandtheauthoritytomakedecisions and take action. Monitor progress at regular intervals and ensure each employee isperforming.Finally,provide support toall themembersbygivingguidanceand feedback regularly inordertosetthemupforsuccess(Dokeetal,2011,p.1267).

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    EffectiveDelegation

    Figure2.AdaptedfromBuildingaTeam,DeeDeeDokeetal(2011),p.127TypesofTeamMembersandEngagementGenerallyateamiscomprisedofthreekindsofmembersintermsoflevelsofengagement:

    1. Engaged:Thesemembersarehighperformersandareabreathoffreshair.Theyarethegotopeopleintheteam.Thesemembersareknowledgeableabouttheorganizationsstrategicgoalsand direction. They are influential and communicate effectivelywith othermembers in theteam.Researchsuggeststhatonly29%oftheteammembersaregenerallyengaged(Crabtree,2013).

    2. Notengaged:Thesemembersaretheminimaliststomiddleperformers.Theydojustenoughtogetbyandflyundertheradar.Itissuggestedthatinanyteam,generally54%ofthemembersarenotengaged(Crabtree,2013).Thewaytoengagethemistodirectthemtowardstheirareaofpassion,give them cleardirection,give them responsibilitywithauthority andmake themaccountablefortheiractions.

    3. ActivelyDisengaged:Thethirdandthemostconcerningaretheactivelydisengagedmembers.

    TheyarealsoknownasCAVE(ConsistentlyAgainstVirtuallyEverything)dwellers.Theyactivelyworkonbeingdisengaged. Theyare lowperformers,generally irrationalandmiserable.Thesemembersneedtobecounseledtoleaveandfindotheroptionsawayfromtheteam.Seventeenper centof teammembers generally fall in this category (Crabtree,2013). It takes fourhighperformerswhoareengagedtocounteractoneactivelydisengagedindividual.

    EffectiveTeamsinaPositiveWorkEnvironment

    Support Distribute

    Delegating efficiently

    Monitor Brief

    Identify

    Teamscanbeeffectiveandsuccessfulwithengagedanddisengagedmembersbutcannotachievethatwithactivelydisengagedmemberspresent.Activelydisengaged

    memberseitherneedtotransformorleave!

    Equity,fairnessandtrustformthefoundationofaneffectiveteam

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    A climate of mutual trust, equity and fairness is essential in a highperforming team. The workenvironmentcancontributetobuildinganeffectiveteam;idealcharacteristicsinclude:

    Theworkingenvironmentissafe,comfortable,relaxedandpositive; Allmembersarerespectfulofothersandcommunicateopenlyandhonestly; Teammembersareengaged,vestedandinterestedandcarrieshisorherownweight; Creativityandrisktakingareencouraged.

    Meetings are a reality in thework environment and are essential for communicating, planning andrelationship building. They can also be a huge timewaster so it is important to conductmeetingseffectively.Sometipsforeffectivemeetingsinclude:

    Allmeetingshaveanagenda,achair,minutetaker,processobserverandatimekeeper.Agendaitemsareallottedtimebyteammembersbasedonimportanceinordertokeepfocusedandontrack;

    Rotate the chair to help develop people. This gives everyone in the team an opportunity todirectthemeetingandhaveanappreciationfortherulesofengagementwhensomeoneelseischairing;

    Memberscomepreparedandarriveontimetorespecteachotherstime; Meetingsalwaysstartandendonapositivenote.Anexamplewouldbetostartmeetingswith

    somegoodnews from teammembers. Itcanbepersonalorprofessional;something that thememberfeelscomfortablesharing.Endthemeetingbyappreciatingpeoplethathavehelpedinanywayormadeadifference.

    Theagendashouldbecirculatedtoallteammemberspriortothemeetinggivingthemtimetoreflectandcomeprepared tocontribute.Forparticularlychallenging issuesorproblems,an issue statementcanbepreparedbyateammemberpriortothemeetinggivingmembersasummaryoftheissue,whyitis important, relevant background, potential options with the corresponding pros and cons, and astatementaboutwhatdecisionneeds tobemadeorwhat input isrequiredso thatpeoplewhoneedmoretimetothinkaboutitarenotcaughtoffguard(Scott,2007,p.10).Conciseandpreciseminutesare taken.Thesecanbe referred to in the future toavoid repeating thediscussionorreinventingthewheel.Actionitemsareclearandfocused(whowhatwhen)thusprovidingcleardirectiontomembersfacilitatingacceptanceandcompletion.OrdinarypeoplecancometogethertoachieveextraordinaryresultsBrianJ.Dunn,CEO,BestBuy

    EffectiveTeamBuildingandConflictMany people do not like to dealwith