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What is Teamwork?

Teamwork is defined in Webster's New World Dictionary as "a joint action by a group of people, in which each person subordinates his or her individual interests and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group." This does not mean that the individual is no longer important; however, it does mean that effective and efficient teamwork goes beyond individual accomplishments. The most effective teamwork is produced when all the individuals involved harmonize their contributions and work towards a common goal.
A team comprises a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose. Teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.

Objectives of Team Building

Team building activities can help with communication conflicts.

"Building a team" and "working as a team" are phrases commonly thrown around in the workplace. Team building, however, may be ineffective if participants do not have a clear understanding of the purpose of the associated exercises. A group of people who work together must have a good understanding of the organization's objectives and how working as a team can create a sense of unity.

1. Improved Interpersonal and Communication Skills


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An understanding of personality types and activities that encourage effective communication can help improve overall team communication. By having an understanding of how nonverbal cues can affect the meaning or perception of a statement, team members can learn how to avoid miscommunications. When conducting team building activities related to interpersonal and communication skills, it is important for a team to also practice sensitivity to cultural differences in communication.

Decreased Conflicts
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Conflicts in a team, no matter how minor, are inevitable and can lead to fixing blame on team members. Team building exercises that involve an understanding of different personality types offer an opportunity for team members relate to different types of personal workplace demeanors, which can help decrease potential conflict. When team members have a better understanding of the personality types that represent the team, individuals can practice communication that is more effective and assign roles that will help how a team works as a system.

Awareness of Team Culture


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A team's culture includes an organization's goals and the relationships of those working within the organization. Team building helps develop team member understanding about the organization's purpose and mission. When this is done, members of a team gain a better understanding of how personality types affect relationships with peers and subordinates, personal variances, the division of work and how different departments interact.

Improved Effectiveness and Productivity


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Team building can help team members consider the different personality types in the group and how each individual can contribute to the success of the team and organization. Individuals learn that even though each person has a different job function, they all belong in the same department and can work together. As a result, individuals are more likely to unify to accomplish the organization's goals with the "big picture" in mind.

2. Benefits of Team Work

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Be it work, play, or entertainment, togetherness is what makes it enjoyable, easy, and fun. Team work has become an essential element of any activity. Be it schools, companies, social organizations, religious organizations, political organizations, or be it your get together involving friends, family, or acquaintances, every activity seems to require some sort of team play. Thus the importance of team work has become undeniable for social, political, cultural, religious, educational, and economic development.

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1.Creativity: Different people have different skills and possess different perspectives of every activity. Therefore any activity that involves team work would benefit from the various creative thoughts and inspirations of different people. By making use of different thoughts and perspectives, varied ideas can be used to find an array of solutions that will ultimately help find the best solution or a new solution for an old problem.

6. 7. 8. 2.Overcomes monotony: People working as individuals fall into the monotony of their jobs and this lead to dissatisfaction and underperformance in the long run. However, when people work in teams, the interaction in itself generates enthusiasm and any issues are resolved by inputs from different people, making even small tasks enjoyable and interesting. This leads to better enthusiasm and energy levels among team members leading to better productivity.

9. 10. 3.Varied skills: 11. It is impossible for one individual to possess all the knowledge and skills required to complete any job. For example, lets look at the construction of a house. When one individual builds a house all on his own, besides the long duration and the risk of the construction stopping mid-way, there is also the risk of faults and damages in various aspects of the house. However, when different individuals with specialized skill and knowledge come together to do the different jobs, the house will be completed in a much shorter duration and the end product would definitely be a house that is beautiful and inhabitable.

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13. 4.Accomplish faster: 14. Team work definitely finishes tasks faster than if an individual were to slog at it. The speed is not only because of different hands coming together, but also because of different minds working on the varied aspects of each task. When a problem occurs there are different people thinking of it from varied perspectives and thus they are able to arrive at a solution faster than if one person were to try resolving the issue.

15. 16. 5.Support: 17. Team work leads to camaraderie between team members. This not only leads to better social relationships, but also acts as a support when things go wrong, both in the work and in the personal front.

18. 19. 6.Distribution of work: 20. Imagine having to conduct a wedding or your companys annual meeting on your own. Your never be able to complete all the tasks before its due and the greater chances are you will mess up the whole activity. However, if you create a team for the task and assign activities to each member of the team, you will definitely be successful in making the event an unforgettable and successful event. Distributing work not only reduces each individuals burden, but also increases responsibility and ensures better commitment to completing the task individually and as a whole. 21. It is because these benefits of team work have been fully understood by schools, organizations, and even nations that they encourage team work in all activities. Everyone has come to understand that only many hands and minds working together can bring about all round development to build their organizations and nations.

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6 Reasons Teams Fail Dale Roach


There have been many efforts toward developing teams that have failed at the start. Why does this happen? Why do some teams succeed and many other efforts toward team development do not make it out of the starting gate? 1. No Vision! First, the concept of "vision" must be defined. Simply stated a vision for a team is "a vivid mental image produced by the imagination." A vision sees the future, possibilities, and future successes. If a team does not have a vision the possibilities for failure are great. The entire team must produce the casting of a vision. There will always be those who lead the way however, all members of the team must be included in the vision casting process.

2. Failure to Be Personally Responsible Teams can never hope to succeed if one person on the team refuses to play their part. The success of any team is dependent upon the involvement of every person on the team. The skills of the many are what make a great and productive team.

3. Conflict Between Personalities Every person is different! That is not a big surprise. The uniqueness of individuals can create a wonderful environment of teamwork while at the same time it can cause conflicts on the grandest of scales. One of the great challenges of teams and teamwork is to recognize that we are all different but these differences can produce great power when combined together. Conflicts will take place but if handled in the proper fashion these very conflicts can produce a strong team of complimentary personalities.

4. Power Struggles

Who is in charge here? This is a question that just about every organization asks. The idea of shared responsibility is not a comfortable concept for some people. There are those personalities that are very aggressive and those that are passive or somewhat shy. One of the greatest challenges for any team is to work on bringing out the talents and gifts of the entire team. The failure of most teams is the result of one or two people leading the way and leaving very gifted people behind. Those left behind may not say anything about this action but they will soon become inactive and the team is reduced to the one or two strong personalities.

5. No Clear Identity Who are we? Does the team have a clear understanding of its purpose and direction? Every good sports team has a name and play book. A good team will be able to identify itself to others outside of the team by the title or name they carry. A strong team will also know the "play book." The direction, focus, and goals must be stated. It is best to write these things down and for every team member to be able to identify their purpose and direction in less than a paragraph. Two sentences would be best. A team without a clear identity will never succeed.

6. No Coaching Every good team has a good coach. The coach is not a member of the team. The coach does not work with the team. The coach is an outsider who can give direction, insight, and wisdom for the team. A coach will give the team an edge for strong development. The insights and "wisdom" of someone that is not on the team can give the team the benefit of hearing from an observer. This calls for the team to put egos aside and embrace a willingness to receive productive criticism.

Five Key Elements to Managing Teams


As explained by Patrick Lencioni in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, senior executives, middle management and assigned team leaders, must foster and expect that team member activities include the following characteristics: 1. Trust among team members Building trust takes time. If trust is lacking it must be the responsibility of the team leader to focus first on building

trust, i.e. getting team members to open up (among the team) and expose their weaknesses and fears to each other. In some cases, a team building exercise can be utilized. In certain business cases, due to time pressures, the leader may have to take responsibility for building trust or change the team to achieve the necessary level of trust for team success. Until everyone is willing to trust the other members of the team, progress towards team success will be limited.

2. Prepare to engage in debate around ideas. Disagreements can lead to conflict, but conflict can be good. If ideas are not presented and debated, the team will miss opportunities to find the best solutions to problems. Respect for the thoughts and ideas of the other team members will be developed through healthy debate.

3. Learn to commit to decisions and plans of action. Team results will only come about as a result of team commitment to team decisions, this includes agreeing on the specifics of action plans. If some team members are not consistent with their commitments, the team will not succeed.

4. Hold one another accountable against their plans. Team members must be prepared to check among themselves to assure progress and overcome obstacles to progress. Ad hoc meetings may be necessary to coordinate actions between departments or groups to assure progress.

5. Focus on achieving collective results. The vision and/or mission of the team must be accepted by all the team members and critical goals viewed as the collective responsibility of the team. If a return to profitability is a critical goal of an executive team, priorities and time commitments must be pulled from elsewhere. Focusing on results that in any way does not support the critical goal(s) of the team will lead to team failure.

Twelve Cs for Team Building


Executives, managers and organization staff members universally explore ways to improve business results and profitability.. Many view team-based, horizontal, organization structures as the best design for involving all employees in creating business success. No matter what you call your team-based improvement effort: continuous improvement, total quality, lean manufacturing or self-directed work teams, you are striving to improve results for customers. Few organizations, however, are totally pleased with the results their team improvement efforts produce. If your team improvement efforts are not living up to your expectations, this self-diagnosing checklist may tell you why. Successful team building, that creates effective, focused work teams, requires attention to each of the following.

Clear Expectations: Has executive leadership clearly communicated its expectations for the teams performance and expected outcomes? Do team members understand why the team was created? Is the organization demonstrating constancy of purpose in supporting the team with resources of people, time and money? Does the work of the team receive sufficient emphasis as a priority in terms of the time, discussion, attention and interest directed its way by executive leaders?

Context: Do team members understand why they are participating on the team? Do they understand how the strategy of using teams will help the organization attain its communicated business goals? Can team members define their teams importance to the accomplishment of corporate goals? Does the team understand where its work fits in the total context of the organizations goals, principles, vision and values

Competence: Does the team feel that it has the appropriate people participating? (As an example, in a process improvement, is each step of the process represented on the team?) Does the team feel that its members have the knowledge, skill and capability to address the issues for which the team was formed? If not, does the team have access to the help it needs? Does the team feel it has the resources, strategies and support needed to accomplish its mission?

Charter: Has the team taken its assigned area of responsibility and designed its own mission, vision and strategies to accomplish the mission. Has the team defined and communicated its goals; its anticipated outcomes and contributions; its timelines; and how it will measure both the outcomes of its work and the process the team followed to accomplish their task? Does the leadership team or other coordinating group support what the team has designed?

Control:Does the team have enough freedom and empowerment to feel the ownership necessary to accomplish its charter? At the same time, do team members clearly understand their boundaries? How far may members go in pursuit of solutions? Are limitations (i.e. monetary and time resources) defined at the beginning of the project before the team experiences barriers and rework?Is the teams reporting relationship and accountability understood by all members of the organization? Has the organization defined the teams authority? To make recommendations? To implement its plan? Is there a defined review process so both the team and the organization are consistently aligned in direction and purpose? Do team members hold each other accountable for project timelines, commitments and results? Does the organization have a plan to increase opportunities for self-management among organization members?

Collaboration: Does the team understand team and group process? Do members understand the stages of group development? Are team members working together effectively interpersonally? Do all team members understand the roles and responsibilities of team members? team leaders? team recorders? Can the team approach problem solving, process improvement, goal setting and measurement jointly? Do team members cooperate to accomplish the team charter? Has the team established group norms or rules of conduct in areas such as conflict resolution, consensus decision making and meeting management? Is the team using an appropriate strategy to accomplish its action plan?

Communication: Are team members clear about the priority of their tasks? Is there an established method for the teams to give feedback and receive honest performance feedback? Does the organization provide important business information regularly? Do the teams understand the complete context for their existence? Do team members communicate clearly and honestly with each other? Do team members bring diverse opinions to the table? Are necessary conflicts raised and addressed?

Creative Innovation: Is the organization really interested in change? Does it value creative thinking, unique solutions, and new ideas ?Does it reward people who take reasonable risks to make improvements? Or does it reward the people who fit in and maintain the status quo? Does it provide the training, education, access to books and films, and field trips necessary to stimulate new thinking.

Commitment: Do team members want to participate on the team? Fell the team mission is important?Are members committed to accomplishing the team mission and expected outcomes? Do team members perceive their service as valuable to the organization and to their own careers? Do team members anticipate recognition for their contributions? Do team members expect their skills to grow and develop on the team? Are team members excited and challenged by the team opportunity?

Consequences: Do team members feel responsible and accountable for team achievements? Are rewards and recognition supplied when teams are successful? Is reasonable risk respected and encouraged in the organization? Do team members fear reprisal? Do team members spend their

time finger pointing rather than resolving problems? Is the organization designing reward systems that recognize both team and individual performance? Is the organization planning to share gains and increased profitability with team and individual contributors? Can contributors see their impact on increased organization success?

Coordination: Are teams coordinated by a central leadership team that assists the groups to obtain what they need for success? Have priorities and resource allocation been planned across departments? Do teams understand the concept of the internal customerthe next process, anyone to whom they provide a product or a service? Are cross-functional and multi-department teams common and working together effectively? Is the organization developing a customerfocused process-focused orientation and moving away from traditional departmental thinking?

Cultural Change: Does the organization recognize that the team-based, collaborative, empowering, enabling organizational culture of the future is different than the traditional, hierarchical organization it may currently be? Is the organization planning to or in the process of changing how it rewards, recognizes, appraises, hires, develops, plans with, motivates and manages the people it employs?Does the organization plan to use failures for learning and support reasonable risk? Does the organization recognize that the more it can change its climate to support teams, the more it will receive in pay back from the work of the teams? Spend time and attention on each of these twelve tips to ensure your work teams contribute most effectively to your business success. Your team members will love you, your business will soar, and empowered people will own and be responsible for their work processes. Can your work life get any better than this?

Strategies for Effective Teamwork

Working together as a team

Effective teamwork strategies bring groups of people together to work toward a common cause. When you encourage harmonious teamwork, people learn how to effectively share ideas and collaborate to achieve a goal. The term "two heads are better than one" is true---bring a group of single ideas together to obtain the best result. Teamwork is effective in schools, offices, sports teams and within the community. Use specific strategies to maximize teamwork efforts and teach individuals how to work as a group.

1. Roles
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Whether consciously or not, everyone working within a team acquires a specific role. Some people like to lead, while others would rather be passive participants. Defining roles, along with a clear goal, is an important strategy for creating a successful teamwork environment. Once groups are assembled, ask each member how they would like to contribute to the group. List the responsibilities and tasks needed to accomplish the goal. Create a category list that matches tasks with roles. For example, the group leader is in charge of monitoring task progress and presenting data or materials. Clearly defined goals, matched with specific tasks, will help each team member determine which role is best suited

for her personality, abilities and efforts.

2. Communication
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Communication is the backbone of any effective teamwork strategy. If members aren't sharing thoughts, progress and ideas, it is impossible to reach a successful outcome. There are several approaches to how you communicate with team members. If members are not living near the same location, schedule weekly or biweekly meetings using Skype, Go To Meeting or by phone to discuss progress. Email a progress checklist to each team member to review what the group has accomplished and the next item to be tackled. For members working or living within the same area, face-to-face meetings are important. Include a progress checklist at each meeting and have team members report their progress. Set a time limit to the meeting---it is easy for groups to get off track during discussion, which can put a strain on those who can only meet for a short time. If this happens, gently bring the group back to the issue at hand. Written communication is another way to maintain team cohesiveness. Weekly memos, blogs or updates from the team leader can help groups track progress and share ideas.

3. Reward and Recognition


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Part of developing a successful group is recognition for exceptional work, and possibly rewards. In a school setting, a high grade is a reward for extra effort on a team project. Some office sales teams strive for being mentioned at the next employee meeting, in addition to possibly receiving a nice bonus. Food rewards such as pizza or ice cream parties are another way to reward team members for their efforts. Simply saying "good job" during the project within the team can provide enormous motivation for members. For example, hearing how your work positively affected the team can boost morale and enthusiasm among the members.

How to Build Successful Work Teams


Working is rarely an independent task. No matter what job you have, you're going to have to work as part of a team at some point. Here's how to build successful work teams that won't leave you groaning about the next looming project.

Step 1 Choose the people with the right skills. The first task when building a successful work team is to put together the right people for the task. You need the right mix of experience and the right personalities in order to get the best job done. You may also want to consider pairing up new employees with experienced ones to help in the training process. As long as the skills are present and the people don't have clashing personalities, the work team should be successful.

Step 2

State expectations clearly. At the beginning of any project, a successful work team needs to know what is expected of them. It is important for supervisors to state expectations clearly, including goals, deadlines and work behavior. Anyone who is part of a work team needs to know the rewards and the risks associated with the task at hand. This will present a clear set of objectives that should help work teams to be successful.

Step 3

Make sure every team member is committed. No matter how big or small the task, a successful work team needs to be committed to reaching the same goals. Team members should all show a keen interest in the positive outcome of the project. Ensure that everyone involved in the project is on the same page when it comes to goals, work ethic and overall commitment to the work team.

Step 4

Decide on a strong strategy. After a work team knows what is expected of them, it's a good idea to lay out a team strategy. Divide responsibilities, set goals and discuss immediate tasks so that all work team members are clearly informed of the approach and the method of attack for the project. A successful work team will result from a group of people working with the same goals and strategy in mind.

Step 5

Collaborate as a team. In order to accomplish a goal, a successful work team must work together. This will inevitably require compromise at some point, since everyone will have different ideas, approaches and personalities that may not always mesh. It's important to overlook your differences when you're part of a work team and aim to cooperate in order to accomplish the team's goal. Support everyone's ideas since creative thinking leads to creative solutions. It is this mixture of people that will help a successful work team meet goals and exceed expectations.

Step 6

Encourage ongoing communication. As a work team works on a project, communication is absolutely necessary. The whole team needs to be involved in major decisions. As well, frequent meetings to update all members on progress are essential for keeping the project on track and the team working successfully together. Make sure to coordinate meetings times when everyone can be present in order to maintain a healthy team atmosphere. With these good team skills and some dedication to the task, any work team can be successful.

Conclusion
Effective teamwork therefore depends on a good leader, the right balance of the right people and the channels of communication remaining open between them.