Effective Teamwork

Effective Teamwork

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Effective Teamwork
This paper will explore some ways to effectively create and manage a team. There are many differing styles, so I will try and focus on the ones that I would chose personally; and match my style. With my style being eclectic, this is a pretty broad statement. I like to take, what I feel are the best ideas, and transform them into my own. I like to think that if given a team, I would be a great manager; being able to bring out the best is my workers. No matter what style you take on, you have to be ready to adapt at a moments notice. This paper will look at ideas and ways to accomplish this task.
First we need to create a team. In doing so we need to think about what personalities and backgrounds will be a good fit. Of course this will differ with such things as: project, deadline, and available personnel. Should you get to chose your team, then you have control over the outcome, but you don’t always get to choose; so then what? This is where one of the instances of adaptation comes into play. Assuming that we do get to choose, the best team is one that is diverse and will bring new ideas to the table. Getting people that do not know each other well can also spark some very interesting work ideas. The comfort zone is removed and the team has to think outside the box. Since they do not know each other, each one can say and do things that they normally would not if surrounded by familiar co-workers.
Once you have the team you want, and this may take several revisions of the original list of potentials that you created, then you have to make sure that you set up ground rules and roles for all the members of the team. As we learned this week in the assignments, if you do not then you team may fail to meet expectations, and goals; Leading to trouble for you, the client, and the company. Ground rules and roles help keep the team focused and on track by eliminating the ambiguity often associated with teams that have no real control structure. Setting this up right, and in the first place, will help keep conflict to a minimum. Later we will discuss getting to know the team, to help drive results, and get the best out of them no matte the situation that is being faced.

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No matter how careful you are in selecting your team, and setting roles and ground rules, you will have conflict. Some conflict is healthy for the team, and will keep the team striving to better the last idea until an agreement can be made. The conflict that we have to worry about is the kind that can hinder the creative process, and cause problems between teammates that may be irreparable. This is where a manager can either shine, or show that they are not ready to lead. A good manager can use many techniques, and will use yet another form of adaptation, to quell the problem before it ruins what could be a great team. One such technique would be to take the two aside, and have them work out the problem, so as to not interrupt the others progress. Also you could use a team building exercise, one of my favorites is team paintball; where I would put the two on the same team, so they can learn to work together. However, if the conflict is bad enough I would do something that would allow them to get the aggression out in a safe supervised manner.
In the course of the project it is possible for the team to lose focus, and need something to bring them back on task. Any good manager has taken many different courses to add to their arsenal of tricks, and can often use what they have learned to train the team to use, so they can resolve some of the lower level problems themselves; saving the majors ones for you. Giving the team a chance to relax and learn something new can be a welcome break; especially if they have been putting in long hours. Everyone needs a morale booster every now and then to keep the team, so make sure you leave some time to have some fun; doing so could help keep costs, and wasted time, to a bare minimum.
Even with all the right people and right structure in place if the manager is not a people-oriented person, then that alone can bring the team to a screeching halt. Technical know-how will only get you so far, then you have to have those people interaction skills to make the picture complete. People relate to people, not to the degree or skills that person possesses. This maybe the most important skill that any manager can possess, managers without it may not be a manager for long. “The success of a team depends on the people skills of a manager”, (Prithivira, 2008). People can easily tell the true people person from anyone trying to pretend to be one; if people skills are not your strong point, then you had better develop them, or consider another career path.
In doing the simulation the other day, I learned a great deal about how to effectively manage a team, and resolve unhealthy conflicts. Simulations such as that should be mandatory requirement to even be considered for a position in management. Regular change training should also be part of the job description, to keep the ideas fresh. Once the skills become stagnant then you may fall into some bad habits that may wreck your team. Keeping abreast of new ideas that may prove useful can only help you in the long run, making you the go-to person in any situation. Simulations are used in my job now to keep the associates, as well as the managers, keyed into the ever changing world of business.
Another tool that no man, let alone manager, can live without is respect. Not only the team’s respect for you, but yours for them as well. Respect is a two way street that must exist for any relationship to work, whether business or otherwise; respect must be there for there to be success. People will not work for you if you are not willing to work for them. You cannot expect to do for yourself and have other do for you as well. Life, like respect, is a two way street. Make the extra effort, and it will pay off for you and your team in the end. Respect yourself as well, if you have no respect for yourself, it is hard to command respect from your fellow managers or teammates. Step up and treat others how you want to be treated, and everybody wins.
Get to know your team. I do not mean just what they know, but who they are, and what they like to do. Getting you know them may prove beneficial in resolving conflict, motivating them to push the envelop to do something they thought impossible, or to have someone back you up if needed. Get to know their hobbies, family life, and work skills. Knowing the whole package may help you in a pinch. Plus, knowing everything you can, can lead to the respect that was mentioned in the preceding paragraph. It only takes a little time but can make all the difference in the world.
So, to wrap up the point of this paper, you have to be willing to work and adapt to be an effective manager managing an effective team. Like I mentioned above, skills will only get you so far, without the necessary people skills success will always be just out of reach. Take the time to learn who your team is, and they may just surprise you; don’t and you may miss something that could make the team be the best that it could be. Getting you know your employee can give you valuable insight into what is needed to motivate them to get their best performance as well. Respect one another, go to bat for the team is needed, and you’ll have one loyal bunch of people willing to go to great lengths to accomplish what you need them to. Effective team creation, and management, is just a few tools away for anyone.

References
Prithiviraj, S. (2008). Helium. Creating and Managing Effective Teams in the Workplace. Retrieved June 22, 2008, from www.helium.com
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