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What Makes a Team Work? The TEAM algorithm

What makes a team work?

Let’s be frank – Not all teams work; most people are terrible at teamwork.

As J. Richard Hackman, a leading expert on teams, puts it – Most of the time, team members can’t even agree on what the team is supposed to be doing. The odds of success are always slim.

So, what makes a team work?

What make a team work?

Here’s an acronym, I just created to provide you with a framework to identify the potential cracks, and hopefully, to help you build and bond a better team. I call it the TEAM algorithm.

T – Target

Direction. A clear, challenging direction. It’s the target that drives people. Only the teams that are productive, and have done something good together –  stay together, not the other way round. As per studies by Edwin A. Locke, well defined targets help direct efforts to goal-relevant activities, and lead to more effort.

E – Equity 

Most leaders think that all team members should be treated equally, but my experience says otherwise. Take a good look at the picture below.

One size doesn’t fit all – Every team member has a different need, and it must be respected. It’s the unique experiences that make people value their position in the team.

My advice is –  Make equity your priority. Value everybody’s uniqueness; treat them uniquely; and the results would surprise you, definitely.

A- Affection

Bonds among the team-members mean everything. Great results – the one that matter – are a result of collaboration and teamwork. It is the sense of belonging that fuels effective communication, support, and sharing of work load.

Samantha McDuffee has listed six reasons for team bonding. I am in total agreement with her.

M- Morale

You may not realize it, but morale is what makes and breaks teams. If you want an effective workplace, work towards making them happy. When the staff morale is high, everyone works better. Morale is what fuels creativity and improves performance. It’s important that your staff enjoys what they are doing.

Unless you attend to the TEAM algorithm, it may seem that everyone is filled with the spirit of goodwill and cooperation, but beware the project is bound to fail.

An important step in creating good teams is to recognize the barriers that hinder the TEAM algorithm. These barriers could come from the leader, the team-members or the situation. So, how to identify these barriers?

We’ll talk about it some other time.

The Thing About Advice

The Thing About Advice

Nobody likes to be advised. You heard it – there are no takers of your hard-earned wisdom. Want better results? Trying herding cats.

However, if you are a business owner, and you have a retail clerk who keeps on losing money, a message needs to be delivered. This is what you can do to ensure your message is delivered, successfully.

Timing

Perfect timing – that’s the mantra! Reach out only when people are most likely to be open and attentive. Think carefully. Imbibe this- how you deliver a message is as important as the message itself.

In a line – convey your views at the right time, [and at the right place too.]

Switch your shoes

Step into their shoes – learn to identify with the person. People may not view the matter at hand the way you do – they don’t have to. Learn about their concerns; identify the benefits of your advice; and focus over their needs.

In short, learn to be patient, practice empathy, and seek to understand. Otherwise, your advice may hit a wall and bounce-off.

What Makes Trust so Important for Your Team

To trust is to have faith in the honesty, integrity, reliability, and competence of another.

Working in a team is fun, and it’s exciting, until that first fight breaks out. That’s the time when the floodgates of hidden insecurities and fear crack open. This is often the case with newly-formed teams. It isn’t until people begin working together that the seeds of trust and mistrust sprout. What’s the level of trust in your team?

Is trust really so important

Stephen Covey defined it as the foundation stone that can either make, else break organizations. In his book ‘The speed of Trust’, he states:

There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world—one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.

On the other hand, if developed and leveraged, that one thing has the potential to create unparalleled success and prosperity in every dimension of life. Yet, it is the least understood, most neglected, and most underestimated possibility of our time.

That one thing is Trust. It impacts us 24/7, 365 days a year.

 

Why makes trust important for your team

To trust is to have faith in the honesty, integrity, reliability, and competence of another.

Stephen Covey adds:    

It undergirds and affects the quality of every relationship, every communication, every work project, every business venture, every effort in which we are engaged.  It changes the quality of every present moment and alters the trajectory and outcome of every future moment of our lives – both personally and professionally.

Confidence in one another, it’s such a beautiful thing.  The mindset of trust – where you believe in the competency of your team members, are sure that everyone would do their job diligently, and believe that people would come to your aid – empowers a positive sense of self-expectancy. It increases the chances of every team member finishing their work.

  1. Trust fuels commitment.

Without trust – the talk of commitment – is worthless. It precedes commitment. Only a team bound together by the bonds of trust can keep commitments.

  1. Trust makes goals achievable.

Team’s success depends a lot upon the trust that the members share among themselves. Only those, who believe in their companions’ strength to complete their duties, can put in their full effort.

  1. Trust is the channel that allows effective communication.

It is the channel over which successful teams to connect. Sharing of information, ideas, problems, and solutions happens only in a team which trusts itself.

  1. People collaborate only with those they trust.

Collaboration is working together. The sense of trust is essential for collaboration.  It helps reduce the hostility among team-members, and it enables everyone to work together.

Trust is the anchor of strong teams, and successful teamwork is a product of robust relationships. It pushes people – the team members – to work with each other and conquer obstacles. Cultivating trust is necessary. It is the glue that binds people together and transforms them into a unit.