Promoting Teamwork

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An organization's success depends on the ability of each employee to interact with other members of the team in an effective and professional manner. Your team will have greater potential to produce quality products and services if every team member works well together.

Here are some guidelines to assess your effectiveness as a team leader:

  • Most conflicts are created because we don't understand one another's true meaning or intentions. Monitor your patterns of communication and provide opportunities to explore differences in a calm, fair-minded and solution-oriented manner. Every member of a team must be on the same track if the team is to accomplish its goals.
  • Replace defensiveness with open communication and fair-minded postures. Employees become defensive when they feel threatened. The best way to prevent defensiveness is to ensure that you are professional and nonthreatening in your approach. Let your work associates know you respect their opinions, even if you don't agree with them. Give every idea a fair hearing.
  • Be assertive rather than aggressive. You can resolve conflicts and satisfy your own needs without dominating other team members, and without insisting that your way is the only way. Healthy team leaders use openness, honesty and negotiation to help everyone win to some degree.
  • Don't belittle the accomplishments of your employees. We all have talents and achievements that are sources of pride in the work that we do. Belittling team members promotes anger and encourages the wish to retaliate. Instead, offer sincere compliments to build team spirit and cooperative effort. Support your team members and they will support you in return.
  • Avoid predicting gloom and doom. If you are a pessimist by nature, keep it to yourself while you are at work. Pessimistic viewpoints influence energy and productivity, and they have a negative impact on team morale.
  • Refuse to play games. Some employees take great delight in setting up situations to manipulate and control other members of the team. These individuals thrive on chaos and discord. If you refuse to join in on these unhealthy activities, offer a reason. This can often stop malicious behaviors before they get started.

Effective team leaders provide challenging and rewarding opportunities for individual growth and team achievement. But, it also takes the sincere effort of each member to ensure the team's success.