Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Team synergy

Working as a team is both challenging and fun at the same time. The two schools of thoughts are that individual work is better while another says that team work results in higher productivity. In my opinion, there are both pros and cons for working individually and as a team. However, it is highly impossible to escape being involved in teamwork especially in the workplace where we all have colleagues. It is indeed not an easy task to manage a team but here are some recommendations to maximize team performance. This applies to both the team leader and its members.

  1. Be frank from the start
Before the team embarks on any project, it is especially vital that the team leader and members are honest with how they view the project and the amount of effort they are willing to put in. If the team is not unified on the goal for the outcome of the project from the beginning, any rocky times throughout the project will be able to crumble the whole project easily. Therefore, before any further time, effort and money is invested, the whole team must be united and be prepared to work towards the target performance. In addition, any dissatisfaction or conflicting views should be settled as soon as possible before the project begins.

  1. Be fair
There is a certain expectation that everyone in the team is treated with mutual respect and with fairness. It is common to always have someone in the team who is ‘picked on’ due to various reasons such as physical size, mental capability and so forth. This is different from having someone who is comical or funny in the team. The team leader must look out for tell-tale signs of a ‘picked on’ member such as being absent frequently or refusing to participate. The value of fairness among all team members is very important in order to gain full co-operation from everyone. Nobody would be willing to give their best if they feel unappreciated or inferior to others. In addition, all team members are responsible to treat each other with due respect to avoid any major conflicts which could interrupt the whole project.

  1. Be supportive
Individual performance is important, but in a team everyone’s combined performance counts. In order to gain synergy in team work, it is important to ensure that all members continually support each other especially morally. Inevitably, a member might make mistakes and it is a killer when the whole team turns the blame on that person. The team members should instead support the member by brainstorming to find a solution. Besides, ‘two heads are better than one’ and that is the whole point of a team, to help each other and to achieve more than individual performance.

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