You have a big task to undertake and you’re unsure if you should do it yourself or put a team together to do it for you. What’s the right option? Today, a lot of business owners use a team approach to solve problems, generate ideas and complete tasks.
But before building a team, the entrepreneur needs to resolve these key questions: Can I complete the task myself? Do I have the time and resources to complete this task? Can some other person or group be even more effective than I can?
If the answers favour getting others involved, it’s time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of teams. On the up side, teams combine various employee skills, ideas, knowledge bases and perspectives. Teams usually increase individual productivity and workplace satisfaction. Simply being on a team can be a key source of employee motivation, status and pride for having been selected to participate. Team output is generally higher in quality and quantity than individual performance.
However, all is not necessarily rosy – there are some disadvantages to using teams as well. For example, teams may take longer to achieve a goal than an individual would, and teams grow through predictable stages that are time-consuming. These include member selection, organisation, socialisation and the creation of final products or ideas.
Key resources (time, money, people and equipment) are restricted to the team and unavailable to others. Some of the team members may lack the interest, necessary skills or abilities, or motivation. They may have been appointed or self-appointed to the team for political reasons or merely to enjoy themselves while others do the work. This “social loafing” can be a source of tension among productive team members.
Finally, people dynamics can complicate the team process, which is full of conflict, of group pressure to reach a fast or unanimous conclusion, and of taking risky stances.
The good news is that, with effective direction and facilitation from the right team leader, team-building can be a very productive and cost-effective process.
The key to fostering effective teamwork is clarity. When goals, roles, processes, trust and relationships are clear, success almost always follows.
|When teams work|
To help ensure success, the team needs to consider five crucial success factors:
Clear identification and ownership of the team goal
Clear definition and acceptance of each person’s role and responsibilities
Clear delineation of team processes like decision-making, conflict resolution, communication
Clear opportunities to build trust between participants
Clear acceptance of each other’s strengths and limitations in a manner that encourages positive working relationships