The Shift to Team-Based Thinking
With technology comes change, and one of the greatest alterations in the workforce is the method in which employees are working with one another. In light of the global culture that has swept the corporate world, many organizations have chosen to reevaluate how their employees are approaching and being appraised on their tasks and projects; namely, as a team or individually. While teamwork has always been a corporate cornerstone, more companies are not only choosing the collaborative mindset over individual effort, but gauging the success of each accomplishment based upon the efforts of the team as a whole.
One of the most significant disadvantages to a strictly team-focused work environment is the lack of recognition that individuals are not only used to receiving, but may rightfully deserve, for their accomplishments. Since the team is evaluated as a whole, management will praise — or constructively criticize — the group rather than the individual most responsible for the outcome. This concept may come as an unwanted surprise to those seeking raises or promotions through personal recognition.
Within its disadvantages, may also exist some of the greatest advantages of team-based performance structures. Since employees are working as components of a constructive whole, they may tend to have more of a voice in decision-making processes. The term “strength in numbers” holds true for this business model; which in turn, can help boost morale, as well as employee performance and job satisfaction. Additionally, the team-based structure prevents one employee from being handed an overly heavy workload. The even distribution of task responsibility not only relieves stress on key individual employees, it increases the overall speed and quality of production in the workplace.
Improving Collaborative Skills
Thriving as a productive member of a successful team does not always come naturally. Contending with different personalities, ideologies, and work practices takes time. Here are a few tips for decisions makers to assist their staff in improving their team-based skills.
Communication: As with any relationship, employees on a team must learn to communication clearly and often. Individuals who focus on their communication skills will quickly see the benefits ensue, as the team begins to achieve greater success, from smaller tasks to larger projects. Encourage your teams to conference on a regular basis, simply to discuss strategy or talking points that may have gotten lost in the day-to-day shuffle.
Respect: While it should go without saying, it is still important to remind and instill within employees the need to remain respectful of their teammates at all times. Treating each collaborator as they would want to be treated should remain a non-negotiable within all organizations, as is recognizing the importance of respecting opposing opinions.
Input: Employees should be encouraged to offer their input, and not become “lost in the crowd”. Even if an idea is not directly applied at that time, there is always the chance it will be used and implemented in the future. Additionally, leaders should remind team members that the individual offering of ideas generates conversation, which in turn, leads to more ideas and creativity, as well as confidence among individual members.
Constructive not critical: Of course, there are going to be moments of conflicting thoughts and opinions. Reverting back the need for respect, team members should be encouraged to offer strictly constructive criticism when in disagreement with another’s idea. Trying to provide a positive along with the negative is a key way to support your statement without offending the other party. This practice will assist in keeping teams cohesive and loyal to one another.
While there are valid points both for and against a strictly team-based company infrastructure, there is no denying that teamwork itself encourages productivity as well as the even distribution of responsibility. Additionally, a ready-made support system for employees to share their ideas and approach management regarding concerns and opinions is an undeniable plus.
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