By the pure definition of leadership, we are all leaders. Because we all carry influence, we have the ability to lead. We are all leaders…whether we want to be or not. If everyone is a leader, then how do we build teams that are able to function as a unit working toward goals and objectives? According to Parker (1992), a team is a group of people with a high degree of interdependence focused on the achievement of some goal or task. The group or team agrees on the goal and process for achieving the goal. Most of us work in some sort of team and many of us live in families which could be seen as a team. We each can play an important role in how effective our teams are. The leaders’ job is to make sure the team is cohesive and productive.
Researchers have discovered a number of traits that are apparent in effective teams. Effective teams have members who are Honest, Selfless, Dependable, Enthusiastic, Responsible, Cooperative, Show Initiative, Patient, Resourceful, Punctual, Tolerant, and Perseve.
Honesty is essential for effective teams and involves team members who are open and truthful with each other without being rude and hurtful. Highly effective teams work in an environment where honesty is expected from everyone on the team. Selflessness is the ability of team members to put the team’s interests before their own. These team members are focused on doing what benefits the team before doing what benefits them personally. The performance of each individual on a team depends upon the work of the other team members so dependability is an important trait for effective teams.
Teams that are highly effective have members who have enthusiasm and persevere when the things get tough for the team. Great teams have members who take responsibility for their work and never blame others for their mistakes. Additionally, team members must cooperate in order to meet the agreed upon goals.
Effective teams have members who show initiative and do the work that they see needs to be done. Learning to work together closely on a daily basis takes patience and effective teams have members who display a strong sense of patience with each other and the task. The ability to find a way to get the job done requires resourcefulness and is a trait found in effective teams.
Punctuality is another trait of effective teams and is a skill that allows members to show others that there is a respect for time and for other people. Because diversity can strengthen a team, effective teams have a culture that promotes tolerance. Finally, effective teams have members who exhibit perseverance. These members persist until the goal is reached.
Organizations are highly effective when teams are developed and trained. Leaders must ensure that all teams are clear about the mission/vision of the organization. Follow these tips to develop your teams for success:
1. Provide your teams with leadership training
2. Increase your awareness
3. Model the Way ….be the example
4. Build relationships with your followers.
Parker, Glenn & Dropp, Richard, 50 Activities for Team Bulding, HRD Press, Vol. I, 1992, pg. vii.