How effective are your team building skills?

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, October 1, 2003

By By Sonya Rogers Education columnist
Developing a productive team isn't always easy! Team building is a process of people willingly working together to create a climate that encourages and values the contributions of each member. Together, the members' energies are usually directed toward problem solving, task effectiveness, and maximizing the use of all members' resources to achieve desired purposes for the team.
For successful team building to occur, many conditions must be met. For instance, the team must work on an important task where each member has a commitment toward achieving the group's anticipated results. The team leader must demonstrate good people skills, be committed to developing a team approach, and allocate time for team-building activities. He or she should be fair, supportive, and one who is worthy of making final judgments, while at the same time, capable of giving direction to the team as needed.
It is important that team members are provided the opportunity to exercise leadership when their experiences and skills are appropriate to the needs of the team. Throughout this process, each team member must be willing and capable of contributing information, skills, and experiences that provide an appropriate asset to the team's purpose. In addition, there must be a relaxed climate for communication where respect is given to those who provide input. Once a mutual trust is established within the group, individuals must be brave enough to take risks. However, the team should stay clear in regards to their established goals and predetermined targets.
When individual weaknesses or errors occur, it is imperative that team members refrain from making personal attacks. It is wise for the group to remember that mistakes are one way for a group to learn from their experiences. Moreover, through the means of group interaction, new ideas are created and can be evaluated. As a result, each member knows that he or she can directly influence the team agenda. Furthermore, when there is a feeling of trust and equal influence, open and honest communication is often enhanced.
As team members build trust, commitment, and a sense of support for one another, they soon learn to appreciate and like one another. This undoubtedly increases the team's level of performance. In short, communication is a key tool for promoting growth within any team.
An effective team takes a proactive approach where positive attitudes, established visions, time, gathering of resources, respect for other members, and much patience are characteristics quickly manifested. Do you have the necessary qualifications to be part of an effective team?

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