Contributed on August 24, 2021 by Cheryl Viola, Executive Director, MBA

Everyone’s first experience with teams starts in the family unit. A team is more than one person working together towards a common goal. Developing a good team is not a coincidence. It takes a lot of work from managers and team members. Each person is brought onto the team because of specific skills and knowledge that they can contribute.

A group does not constitute a team. A team is comprised of members with complementary skills and generates synergy through coordinated effort allowing each member to maximize their strengths. Henry Ford said: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”

Teams that work well together can increase productivity and create a cohesive culture. They have the same shared vision that they collectively work towards. The foundation of every great team is vision.

Ed  Catmull the creator of Pixar said: “The way people interact with one another is the key to effective teams. Even the smartest and most talented people can create an ineffective team if they are mismatched. A good team is made up of people who complement each other in skills and strengths.

Keys to increasing teamwork

  • Communicate

Communication is one of the most important elements in a strong team. Keep communication lines open, clear, and honest. Encourage team members to listen to one another and ask questions.

A good team that respects one another will be able to share ideas, disagree with respect, and come to a united solution.

  • Respect individuality.

Each person has different skills and personalities and they bring their strengths to the team. One of the fastest ways to dissolve a team is to have one person take all the credit for the team’s work.

  • Encourage Creativity
  • Define Roles

Effective teams require clearly defined roles so everyone knows what he or she is responsible for.  Collaboration improves when the roles of individual team members are clearly defined and well understood.

Team clarity is reinforced when the organization has clear expectations for the team’s work, goals, accountability, and outcomes.

The ultimate dysfunction of any team is the tendency of team members to seek out individual recognition and attention at the expense of results.

Focus on how to build each other’s strengths. Your team will become unstoppable when each person believes in each other and in their collective mission.

The better you are at forging relationships, especially with those who disagree with you, the more unstoppable you’ll become as a team builder and leader (Alden Mills, “Unstoppable Teams. The Four Essential Actions of High-performance leadership).

When military personnel are sent on a mission. Everyone has a job. They have learned to depend on one another and trust that each person will do their job. When one team member tries to micromanage and do all the jobs the team falls apart. No one person can do it all.

Mother Teresa said: “None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”

Problems arise and it is communicating and working together, building trust, failing, and succeeding that will help refine us as individuals and teams, ultimately leading to success. 

Henry Ford said: “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.