Project Management

Team Building

Team Spirit is vital to the making of a team that works. It is the ability to work on ones’ own, feel free to ask for help and share the glory of your combined work. That is the reason why team communication and team building is so important.

When I first start a team, I have everyone take an assessment and share the results with each other. Everyone communicates differently and if you know the style of your team member it will go a long way in making that relationship successful. I also take the assessment and share it with the team. Pretty soon it gets to be fun when person A witnesses Person B reacting to Person C in a way that is uncomfortable for person C. If it is caught in the moment, people can laugh about it and not let it get in their way. Some teams I’ve worked on even go so far as wearing a badge that signifies their personality traits.

If a team is built with these suggestions in mind, they will work towards the goal of overall team success and not individual success. You may find a person or two who won’t follow this team building activity. If you run into this case, either remove the person from the team, or if this is not possible, give them a chance to see others make it work. People in general, want to do a good job and want their team to succeed.

On-going training for the team is essential and will keep the ideas fresh in their heads. It is also beneficial to have some bonding time like playing softball or some activity outside of work.

Another technique that is beneficial is to have a scoreboard that states how the team is doing towards making their goals. This should not be used to single out anyone, but to find areas where mentoring or training can help the overall team. Whenever the team beats its goals, the success should be celebrated. You’d be amazed how quickly the team will strive for high results.

There are two major types of teams: the ongoing team and the project team. We are going to concentrate on project teams since work that is of an ongoing nature is defined as an operation, not a project. The exception to this is in a matrix organization where the functional managers are in charge of the teams and loan them to the project manager for the duration of the project. IT team, the marketing-research team, and the accounts payable team.

Project teams are formed for a particular purpose; to complete the project. They usually disband when their mission is accomplished. The mission that binds them is the project’s mission and it falls upon the project manager to instill the leadership required to build followers of the project’s mission.

There are many benefits to be working on a project team.  The social aspects as well as the opportunities for less experienced members to learn from the more experienced members along with the abilities for the more experienced members to mentor and learn from that experience. The synergy that the team provides allows them to make better decisions than if they were working in isolation. Everyone has a different skill set to bring to the table. As we all have learned “the whole is larger than the sum of its parts”.

I’d like to say a little bit about team leaders. Some schools of thought are that the subject matter experts should be the team leaders. As I said before, everyone has a different skill set to bring to the table and most people who concentrate on becoming the expert in a particular technology are usually introverts and aren’t the one you want to resolve conflict between team members, keep the team on track and keep them energized. These folks usually are better at people skills, negotiations and are typically extroverts. That’s why having a mixture of talent makes up the best team. I once heard a Vice President talk to me about his staff. He said he always looked for people that were not like him, giving him a well rounded staff that came out with better solutions than a bunch of “Yes” men would have.

Another possibility is to train people to take over in leadership positions. The fact is you are born with natural abilities and you can be trained, but in a crisis situation will usually revert back to what you were born with. It is also a very unique individual who is good at everything required to run the business.

 

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September 18, 2008 - Posted by | Communications Management |

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