Perhaps teamwork is the best form of organization among people to improve productivity and performance, creating synergies between the different tasks of each team member. In complicated situations, each person brings his or her talents to deal with the different problems that arise, in order to achieve the proposed goals and objectives. Allen Woo, an expert people development and the workforce, discusses the different qualities and characteristics of a high-performance team.
Teamwork is an organized way of operating where several people work together on a given task to achieve a common goal, putting their talents at the service of the team’s mission. Each team member has an individual responsibility and a strong commitment to achieving the group’s objectives.
In addition, all the skills of its members are complementary and generate a powerful synergy through a sustained, directed and coordinated effort among all its components. This results in higher performance, greater productivity, more motivation, more efficiency, and a significant increase in well-being and personal satisfaction.
For Woo, teamwork is a set of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of goals, and focus, for which they hold each other accountable. “For teamwork to be fully efficient and a high-performing team, we must ensure a number of key factors,” Woo points out.
One of the first characteristics to keep in mind is a shared mission. In simple terms, this means that the entire team must look in a single direction. Each of the team members’ tasks, goals, and objectives must be relevant to the achievement of the team’s mission and vision. In addition, the overall goal of the team should always be ahead of the individual goals of each team member. Cohesion is also one of the most notable characteristics of these groups. There must be a strong sense of belonging among its members, who must be perfectly cohesive.
“Leadership is also present here,” says Woo. “There must be a figure who acts as a leader with the intention of directing and coordinating the individual tasks of each member toward the achievement of the objectives set. To do this, he or she must ensure that there is harmony among the functions, tasks, and activities to be performed. It must also offer development and autonomy to each of the team members.”
All team members have individual responsibility for their own tasks. Each of them must be clear about their goals, tasks, responsibilities, and decision limits. Many of the conflicts that arise within teams are due to poorly or poorly defined objectives. This situation causes delays in the processes or that the goals are not concluded in the defined times, thus damaging the confidence of the people that integrate the team.
“Innovation must be a constant factor that helps improve processes, solve the different complex problems that the team encounters, look for new and more efficient alternatives, and find new competitive advantages that guarantee the organization’s survival,” suggests Woo.
Beyond the typical job functions, people must know their role within the team. They must know what is expected of them and what role they have during the different phases the team goes through. These include training, idea generation, problem-solving, conflict resolution, coordination, task implementation, member cohesion, situation assessment, internal or external resource management, innovation and, hopefully, completion with defined quality standards. High-performance teams have well-defined roles.
There is also communication. This is probably the most important factor in teamwork. The information must not remain stagnant in the different steps of the procedures and must flow among all team members. In addition, team members must communicate with each other in a clear, open, and timely manner. This will help manage potential conflicts that may arise and ensure that each team member knows what to do, when to do it, with whom to do it, and how to do it most efficiently.