Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Top 6 Teamwork Challenges


Teamwork affects every business and every employee. It determines turnover and productivity and it defines the functionality of a business. While fundamental to a business' success, teamwork is difficult to harness as it is reliant upon several different factors (and personalities!) working together. Below are the Top 6 teamwork issues that I help businesses to resolve.

1. Planning
When it comes to teamwork, planning includes everything from selecting the team members and identifying their individual tasks and responsibilities, to preparing for the inevitable challenges, problems, and delays that could prevent the team from reaching its success.

2. Leadership
Too often a team becomes unhinged because the focus rests on "management" of the team instead of leadership. Leaders motivate, inspire, and chart a course of action. They acknowledge problems but they don't micromanage the completion of individual tasks.

3. Communication
Arguably the lifeblood of any business or organization, communication is key to teamwork. Basic communication ensures that all members of the team know what they are doing, why they are doing it, as well as when and how to get it done. Other essential elements include communicating about problems with the project, or conflicts on the team. With clear communication problems are discussed and resolved.

4. Goals
Similar to planning, setting goals is an elementary task. However, many businesses lose sight of the importance of including the team in the creation of the goals, instead focusing narrowly on the team's delivery of those goals. A team that is united at the start of the project, will be better able to achieve its objectives on time and on budget.

5. Follow-through
Teams are often undermined by poor follow-through and lack of accountability. To get the most from a team, each member needs to respect his/her own role in reaching the established goals, and each manager or supervisor needs to recognize and reward success, as well as counsel and discipline failure.

6. Crisis (conflict) Management
Throughout the life of any team problems and conflicts will surface. They may be project oriented or revolve around personality differences. Addressing conflicts and crises early on is essential to keeping the team on task and focused, able to reach their goals and achieve success for the team, as well as the business itself.