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Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

Everyone knows that teams can get more done than individuals, but knowing something and putting it into practice can be easier said than done.

What is clear however is that every successful team has a goal that every team member is working towards. Without a common goal there is a tendency for everyone to be working towards their own agenda, and that can create roles and working practices that will eventually come into conflict with each other. Therefore sharing the strategic vision and operational goals with all team members is an important first step in becoming an effective leader.

In order to create a team environment it may be necessary to change existing roles and working practices. If this is the case it’s important to bring the whole team together to discuss how things can move forward in the best possible way. While it is generally a manager’s job to oversee this kind of meeting, as a leader it is important to create a trusted environment where everyone can contribute their ideas and feelings without the fear of being ignored or ridiculed.

Perhaps the best way to create a good team environment is to encourage everyone to be pro-active. While it’s not a good idea for anyone to take it upon themselves to instigate certain procedures that may or may not help the whole team to achieve a goal, it is important to ensure that everyone has a say within a constructive environment. That’s not to say that people can’t use their own initiative at any point; rather, they shouldn’t strike out on their own to achieve something without the help or support of the team as a whole.

One thing that goes hand in hand with goals is recognition. There has to be an expectation of being appreciated for reaching a goal that is set by a manager, otherwise the initial sense of excitement and motivation will soon wane, and there will be nothing left to replace it.

Another aspect to be considered which can create an even stronger team is to make sure everyone is capable of multi-tasking. Not only does this mean that individual roles can be covered in the event of absence, but it also leads to a greater understanding within the team as a whole, since everyone will become far more aware of and sympathetic to the roles other people have performed in the past. As a bonus, training to prepare individuals to multi task helps in succession planning and effective time management. A win/win all round.

This particular facet of a team also creates a better understanding of the business as a whole, since it helps to foster respect and an inner drive to do better work in the future. The best team environments also learn from their mistakes to ensure they are not repeated, and set out even more determined than before to succeed. There is no room for blame or negativity in a solid team environment, since these are things which can make a team fall apart. If any signs of these appear they should be squashed immediately.

In short, a team environment will always do more and achieve more than any number of motivated individuals. That’s because the sum total of the effort put in by everyone involved is always worth more than each individual part.

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