According to a recent Thrive research study, most of you work in teams on a regular basis. In fact, a lot of you work in teams on a daily basis. Yet our survey shows that even though teams are a integral part of how we operate, it doesn’t seem we are gaining the full benefits of teamwork. Our survey stretched across many industries and included senior leaders, middle managers, and team members. Here are just a few of the interesting numbers.
79% of those responding worked in a team on a daily basis, while another 13% worked in a team at least one or two times a week.
33% of those responding did not agree that senior leadership, management, and employees had a similar view of teamwork.
Even though 94% reported they knew what was required for teamwork to be effective, only 67% agreed that teams within their organization actually are effective.
45% of those responding would not agree that all team members are involved in decisions.
27% report that teams do not accomplish what they intend to.
The picture was not all negative. For example, the majority of those responding claimed to have had a positive team experience recently and over 80% of respondants felt multiple points of view were encouraged in their teams. These numbers are more encouraging I think. Yet considering teams are a significant part of the current daily work environment it would stand to reason that our effectiveness numbers should be higher. How is that only 67% of respondents can agree that their team is being effective. Even accounting for all kinds of variables in this number, that just isn’t good enough in my mind. Furthermore, 33% of executives and employees don’t feel like they are on the same page when it comes to teamwork. Ouch.
It seems there is some work yet to be done by our organizational leaders when it comes to coaching and developing teams. Leading a team is much different than managing a group. Teams are recruited and developed, while groups are simply formed to be functional. You can read more here on the significant difference between teams and groups. Here are four leadership keys to effective teams.
ASK, AND BE BOLD ABOUT IT: You need the best people playing on your team, and this is something team leaders should never back away from. Be bold about asking the best people to come work with you.
MAKE EXPECTATIONS CLEAR: One of the greatest tools for effective teamwork is clear expectations and rolls. Everyone on your team should be able to clearly identify what their role on the team is, and what the expectations are. Consider a project management tool like Basecamp to help with this. Use concrete due dates and confirm accountability and actions steps at the end of meetings.
BE OPEN WITH YOUR TEAM: Team members and team leaders need to be on the same page. There needs to be trust and a sense of common values and direction. As a team leader, be open with your team whenever it is appropriate so they feel connected and in “in the loop”. Keeping information from your team is keeping buy-in from your team.
DEVELOP AND ADD VALUE: Great leaders add value to those they lead. Your teams effectiveness will increase as you take on the responsibility of helping them develop in their skills. Never shirk on your responsibility as a team leader to develop your team members.
What have you found to be key to effective team performance? What are some of the great teams you have been involved with? Why were they so great?