Brought to you by Nicola Turner, Organizational Psychology at Human Relations Institute & Clinics (HRIC)
Effective work teams are incredibly important in today’s world. Promoting team effectiveness can be challenging because each person has their own values, opinions and knowledge, past work experiences, education, prior team experiences and life goals. Nonetheless, understanding your team, facilitating communication and regular feedback sessions could greatly improve team morale, productivity and employee retention.
Defining roles and responsibilities is key; this could be discussed initially during a face-to-face meeting and regularly thereafter. These include responsibilities that feature in the job description and unofficial responsibilities that actually lie outside the written description, for example if someone is a good organizer they might like to take charge of group activities too. Unofficial responsibilities should be given based on the individuals’ strengths and should promote development.
Self-awareness and team awareness is important. Self-awareness refers to understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, it is also important to understand the personalities of the people and team around you. If the team members’ responsibilities are interconnected to each other, not dissimilar to sports teams, then this can lead to highly functioning teams. Highlight the importance of individual team member’s contributions and establish how all of their jobs function together to move the team closer to its goal.
Feedback is vital and should be consistent and regular. Constructive feedback, including both positive and negative feedback should be given in a straightforward manner, it must be accurate and complete. This can be given in an informal or a formal context. Take the time to acknowledge employees and do not take good performance for granted. If employees have reached or exceeded a goal, positive feedback should be given. The sooner they receive it the more rewarding it will be to them. Conversely, negative feedback is to create awareness that can lead to correction or improvement in performance. If it is not given in a helpful manner you defeat its purpose.
Group communication and keeping the team ‘in the loop’ are important, particularly in today’s fast paced and rapidly changing world. Specifically, when group success arises, it should be celebrated. It is important to pick the right time to do it. Often it is the small gestures, which go a long way; these include celebratory group meetings, sending handwritten notes, taking your team out for lunch.
Communication within an organization should not be underestimated. Communication can be in the form of defining expectations, actively understanding others working with yourself and through feedback. Studies show that employees with better friendships tend to stay on with their organization for longer. It has also been shown that workplace friendships yield
greater productivity, perhaps because friends are easier to work with and that there is more on the line.
* Feedback sessions are important, make sure they occur regularly.
* Make an effort to establish friendships at work, not only will this make you more satisfied but this will also help productivity
* As a leader, make sure to communicate regularly with your team and celebrate successes.
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