In business we rely a lot on functional, positive teamwork to get the job done. So if your team is suffering from a certain amount of dysfunction, maybe its time to reassess how it’s operating.
Teamwork is a subject matter that gets introduced very early in life. From the time we enter school, we are learning how important it is to work with others, to build in cooperation, to utilize the various strengths in the group to achieve maximum results. We are presented this way of working so early on because, in many ways, teamwork can be difficult. When you consider the facts, it’s easy to see how working in a team setting can get complicated.
For one, we all have our own perspective. What one sees as a benefit, another may see as a downfall. It’s hard to find common ground when conflicting opinions are strong in conviction. Secondly, we all have our own way of doing things and our own knowledge-base that gives us the drive to follow-through in the way we think is best. So even when we are able to seek compromise, we are faced with the difficulty of how to enact the steps necessary to achieve the overall goal.
Teamwork is about finding the middle ground between perspectives without diverting from the ultimate goal of success. It involves the humbling of oneself; to step outside personal opinion, look at the greater picture and if necessary, admit that a different suggestion or action is in fact a better option for the project at hand. Yet, embracing collaboration isn’t simply about compromise. We can and should still work on designated portions of a system or project the way we feel is best aligned with our goals and expectations as contributors. It’s a balancing act no doubt and a precarious one at that.
Smartsheet, a product aimed to facilitate teams, training, work groups, etc., published The Ultimate Guide to Team Assessments. This article is rather large, but it is chock full of great information and tips on how to assess, improve and/or build strong teams in your office. Topics include:
- Teams vs. Groups and Why Teamwork Rules
- Assessments and the Stages of Team Development
- The “Five Dysfunctions” Team Assessment Model
- The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team
- Choosing an Assessment For Your Team
- DIY Team Assessment Tools
All in all, this piece is definitely worth the read. The information is beneficial and eye-opening and there’s even a bonus. The last section is: The Pros’ Top Tips on Using Team Assessments. Why is this a bonus you ask? Well, like anything nowadays—whether it’s buying a product, utilizing a service or visiting a destination—reviews and expert opinions matter. We value other people’s perspectives, particularly those well-versed in the industry, because we get a wider picture of what it is we’re trying to accomplish and whether the avenue we are researching will fulfill our expectations. Among the professionals listed in this section is our very own Robby Slaughter, a principal here at AccelaWork. Below are his thoughts on the most common problem seen in teams:
The assumption that a project needs to be handled by a team. We use the word team to describe a group of individuals who are all collaborating simultaneously to accomplish a specific task – even if they have different roles . . .
But often, we’re better off if the workflow is designed by an individual and then delegated to a series of individuals. In this sense, it’s more like an assembly line than a sports team. Each person has their area of expertise, but people aren’t constantly waiting for the ball or frustrated by someone else’s performance.