The success or failure of a working group does not only depend on its members. Company culture, leadership style, and pay system also play a role in building the perfect team.
Nobody is perfect but a team can be. To successfully build workgroups, or optimize the performance of existing ones, certain factors must be considered that will determine whether or not employees can work together to achieve a goal.
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There are two types of factors, structural and dynamic, that determine whether employees can work as a team. First, a diagnosis should be made on the structural variables:
- Company culture. It is useless to give training on how to work as a team if the company does not favor this methodology. Indeed, it is very difficult to try to create work teams when the company is very traditional. These organizations tend to have cultures in which command and control prevail, where the worker is not autonomous enough to contribute ideas, make decisions.
- Internal organisation. The structure of certain companies makes teamwork difficult. They are organisations where the weight of the departments and the levels of the positions is very strong. Category differences, hierarchies, create insurmountable differences, including architectural barriers that hinder the relationship between employees.
- Remuneration system. There are situations that play against teamwork and that favor competition among workers. They are work systems where individual reward is very important. For example, in a commercial team, where the worker who sells the most charges more.
- Physical environment. The more physically separated people are – in offices, floors, buildings … – the more differences are created that do not favor teamwork. The problem: the lack of communication between them.
- Especially when it comes to sharing information. If each unit has its information uploaded to a computer system and only it has access to retrieve it, it is evident that this does not encourage teamwork. On the contrary, each employee is empowered to keep the information and compete with her colleagues, making her own the maxim that information is power.
If when analysing the previous variables it is confirmed that the circumstances favor teamwork, it is possible to begin to address the dynamic factors, which have more to do with people.
What should a team have to achieve adequate returns?
- The team must have an objective, a perfectly defined goal that all team members know and share. This information is provided by the team coordinator, boss or director, or by the company itself.
Normally, everyone comes to share the same vision, but each member has their personal goals. Therefore, it is essential to discover what the hidden goals of each team member are. It’s like a football team: everyone has a goal – to win the League, the King’s Cup, the European Cup … – but there are players who have personal goals, such as not getting injured, renewing the contract, etc.
Thus, the personal objectives of each member of the group affect their degree of participation or their attitude and make it difficult for them to be as united as they should be. Therefore, these hidden interests must be discovered so that the whole team goes in the same direction.
- Competences. In order for a team to meet its objectives, it would be necessary to analyse what knowledge and skills are required of its different members, because each one will interpret a functional role.
Once the team begins to function, do everything possible to make people aware of their level of competence, both professionally and personally. In this way, it is possible to know if workers need training or what aspects they must correct in their relationship with others.
- Commitment. It is about seeing what interest each person has in meeting the team’s objectives. There are people who do their homework and when the working day is over they go home quietly. Others commit more, pull the car, get more involved, put in more hours – although this does not mean a greater commitment, etc.
The point is that if within a team the degree of commitment of its members varies, the final overall result will suffer. When there are more affluent people and those who dedicate more efforts perceive that others take advantage of it, they will stop doing so. This is detrimental to the dynamics of teamwork and leads to divisions among colleagues.
- Cohesion. This factor has to do with communication. It is not about the group members being friends, but about the information being transparent and circulating freely among all of them. For example, if one person is unhappy with another or is suspicious of their work, it is best to treat them openly. If this is not done, the situation will negatively affect the objectives.
When selecting a person to be part of a working group, it is more important that he or she tunes in with the team’s objectives, because their degree of commitment will be greater than having all the knowledge, skills and experience, because this can be acquired.
Typically, team members are selected to represent their functional roles on the basis of their knowledge and experience, regardless of whether their personal traits help them work as a team. These characteristics have to do with the so-called emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is based on:
- Leadership. Above all, have initiative and also the ability to motivate other colleagues.
- Self-knowledge. That is, perceive yourself in a balanced way: know your strengths and weaknesses.
- Self-control. Dominate the ego, avoiding the desire for leadership.
- Self-motivation. In this globalized and competitive system, don’t wait for a pat on the back. You have to motivate yourself.
- Empathy. You have to understand and get to know others. Know what they think and feel, perceive their needs.
- Cooperation. There are too many individualists, people who create conflicts and who do not know how to work in a team.
Building the ideal team is not easy and, sometimes, some circumstances can ruin the project:
- Swimming against the current. When someone doesn’t share the team’s goals, don’t be overbearing. Give them opportunities to voice their objections and provide alternatives. If this does not work, it is necessary to give him a touch of attention, and in extreme cases, invite him to leave.
- Select a friend. When there are no direct daily rewards, anything becomes a reward, for example, communication with the boss. If he has preferential treatment with one of the members, he is giving more authority to some than to others. In this case, you have to appeal to the mental maturity of the boss and his friend.
It seems clear that the success of a team is based, above all, on two pillars: having very clear objectives and making a good selection
With CX Training on your team, offering second to none conflict resolution training in Brisbane, we can help you achieve your goals and build a cohesive team to maximise your efficiency in the workplace.