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Four rules of effective teamwork

Mary Lewinson
May 18, 2010

Top 4 suggestions regarding effective teamwork

rules of teamworkIf during the implementation of your project the team gets stuck with lots of unproductive conflicts and unsolved problems, you can try to follow a general list of team management recommendations. If you haven’t yet found a solution, you can get your team together at a meeting to clarify and agree on the basic rules of teamwork that will govern the team’s behavior. By establishing such rules, you gain more chances to achieve greater team effectiveness and strengthen group collaboration. Read top 4 teamwork tips that you must take into account for building and managing your team.

Tip #1: Schedule regular meetings

A team meeting is a great opportunity to meet the members of your team face-to-face and talk about existing problems. When you carry out a project, you need to take care of arranging regular team meetings at which you will discuss issues, resolve conflicts, find solutions, make offers, etc. Multidisciplinary team meetings should be planned in advance, and respective agendas should be added in your general project plan. You will need to develop schedules and make sure every member of the team is aware of the events and questions planned for discussion at the next collaborative meetings.

The 1st rule of teamwork: Every kind of collaborative activity is a subject to be determined, discussed and approved (or rejected) during a regular team meeting, so no activity can be undertaken without appropriate group discussions and apporvals.

Tip #2: Strengthen collaboration

A team work makes the dream work, so the way how your team works will define the success of your project. Your team needs to collaboratively follow a strictly defined and planned workflow that shows sequences of tasks and processes to be carried out next day/week/month/quarter. You can use project management software (ex.: MS Project, VIP Task Manager) to define collaborative workflows, create job schedules, and prioritize group-based tasks and processes. Effective collrboation will be achieved if common roles and responsibilities in a team are identified and assigned, so when designing workflows, you need to take into account existing roles and responsibilities in your work team.

The 2nd rule of effective teamwork: A team is a group of people who work in collaboration as a single mechanism following a predetermined workflow, in accordance with predefined schedules and work schemes. The team cannot exist without collaboration, and their roles and responsibilities should be considered when planning the workflow and work schemes.

Tip #3: Establish good communication

Communication is a vital team building process that allows team members to communicate with each other and share ideas. Most team-related issues are caused by a lack of effective communication when people become aggressive and de-motivated and create conflict situations. Effective communication between team members is the key aspect of successful team collaboration and productive and non-conflict relationships. As a leader of your work team, you need to take care of developing communication skills, maintaining effective team communication activities, and implementing modern means of communication (incl. software). Usually special team communication training and exercises are used to teach group members to communicate with each other and share information. You can arrange regular training activities in your team.

The 3rd rule of effective teamwork: Good communication involves asking questions and getting clarification. Each team member needs to have a sufficient level of communicative skills and be aware of communication means that can be used within the team environment in order to know the understandings of the rest team members about what and how things should be done


Tip #4: Ensure decision making

A strategic leader of a work team can utilize decision-making as a powerful tool for increasing teamwork effectiveness. Work team decision-making is a cognitive process of selecting, analyzing and approving a course of actions among alternatives. Effective decision-making can be achieved by using a process of consensus. The consensus process allows knowing how to forge consensus for teamwork development, leading and implementation.

The 4th rule of effective teamwork: Every decision in the work team can be made only if a need for that decision exists and a correct question is defined. The consensus process should be used to make teamwork decisions.

Defining the basic rules of teamwork will uncover hitherto unspoken assumptions and new ideas. You can modify and supplement the suggested rules with your own ideas. Remember that each team member needs to understand your rules of teamwork in order to see more clearly where other team members are coming from and what is required from the whole team to produce a result and get job done.

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