High performance work teams have both a clear understanding
of the goal and a belief that the goal is worth pursuing..
Moreover, the importance of these goals, encourage
individuals to redirect energy away from personal concerns
and toward team goals. In high performing work teams,
members are committed to the teamís goals; they know what is
expected of them, they will work together to achieve those
Effective teams are composed of competent individuals with
the relevant technical skills and abilities to achieve the
desired goals and the personal characteristics required to
achieve excellence while working well with others. These
same individuals are also capable of readjusting their work
skills Ė called job morphing Ėto fit the needs of the team.
Itís important not to overlook the personal characteristics.
Not everyone who is technically competent has the skills to
work well as a team member. High performing team members
possess both technical and interpersonal skills.
Effective teams are
characterized by high mutual trust among members. That is,
members believe in the integrity, character and ability of
one another. But, as you probably know from your own
personal relationships trust is fragile. Members of an
effective team exhibit intense loyalty and dedication to the
team. They are willing to do anything that has to be done to
help their team succeed. We call loyalty and dedication
unified commitment. Studies of successful teams have found
that members identify with their teams. Members redefine
themselves to include membership in the team as important
aspects of the teamís goal and a willingness to expend
extraordinary amounts of energy to achieve them.
Not surprisingly effective teams
are characterized by good communication. Members are able to
convey messages in a form that is readily and clearly
understood, including nonverbal as well as spoken messages.
Good communication is characterized by a healthy dose of
feedback from team members and management in order to guide
team members and to correct misunderstandings. Like two
individuals who have been together for many years, members
of high performing teams are able to quickly and effectively
share ideas and feelings.
When jobs are designed around
individual job descriptions, rules and procedures and other
types of formalized documents clarify roles. Effective
teams, on the other hand, tend to be flexible and
continually make adjustments, so team members must possess
adequate negotiating skills. Because problems and
relationships are regularly changing in teams, the members
have to be able to confront and reconcile differences.
Effective leaders can motivate a
team to follow them through the most difficult situations.
How? Leaders help clarify goals. They demonstrate that
change is possible by overcoming inertia. And they increase
the self confidence of team members, helping them to realize
their potential more fully. The best leaders are not
necessarily directive or controlling. Increasingly effective
team leaders are taking the roles of coach and facilitator.
They help guide and support the team, but they donít control
it. This description obviously applies to self managed
teams, but it also increasingly applies to problem solving
and cross functional teams in which members themselves are
empowered. For some traditional managers, changing their
role for boss to facilitator Ė from giving orders to working
for the team Ė is a difficult transition. Although most
managers relish the new found shared authority or come to
understand its advantages through leadership training, some
hard nosed, dictatorial managers are just ill suited to the
team concept and must be transferred or replaced.
The final condition for an effective team is a supportive
climate. Internally, the team should be provided with a
sound infrastructure that includes proper training an
understandable measurement system with which team members
can evaluate their overall performance, an incentive program
that recognizes and rewards team activities and a supportive
human resources system. The infrastructure should support
members and reinforce behaviors that lead to high levels of