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Building a Heathly Team Relationship: The 7 Indicators for Effective Teamwork

Many people think they function adequately or even effectively on teams, until you ask their fellow teammates and get a different story. In this article you will learn the 7 indicators of healthy, hardy teamwork. You may be surprised at how healthy - or unhealthy - your current team relationship is.

Have you ever noticed that the word team is a big buzz word today?  Actually, it's been a buzz word for the last decade.  The same can be said for team player.  Everybody is supposed to be a team player, and we spend a lot of time talking about it.  While you may be expected to be this, you may not exactly grasp what it involves.  Or maybe you grasp parts of it and not other parts .  It's tough to be something you don't completely understand.   It's difficult to be something that's only a fuzzy concept in your mind.

In my experience, many people think they function adequately or even effectively on teams.  Until you ask their fellow teammates and get a different story…. You hear comments like:  "Sue didn't tell us she couldn't finish her assigned tasks by Tuesday.  Tim never did buy into the purpose of the project.  Beth let me proceed with an idea she couldn't support.  Dave didn't contribute anything to the work over the course of two weeks.  We spent at least thirty minutes arguing during every team meeting we ever held."  When you hear these kinds of things, you know the team isn't thriving—primarily because individual team members lack clarity around their roles and responsibilities.  They may also lack clarity about what their behavior needs to look like while serving on a team.   Several people may be getting together twice a week to accomplish a certain project, but they surely aren't functioning well as a team.

Teams are made up of a group of people who are organized to work together for a particular reason, often but not limited to accomplishing a project of significant complexity.  Created for a long or short term purpose, their members are expected to work in cooperation to meet established goals.  Functional teams may be formed to design a new product or service.  Cross functional teams may be formed to develop a process for marketing those new products or services.  Executive teams are formed to provide ongoing, solid, consistent leadership to organizational staff.  Why a team is created isn't of paramount importance.   What matters most is how that team will communicate, make decisions, deal with conflict, demonstrate respect, manage change, meet deadlines, and celebrate success.  A tall order!

Review the following indicators of a healthyPsychology Articles, hardy team.  Know that all of these indicators must work together for optimal results.  Ignore or forget even one?  You may be surprised at the damage done.

1.Team members are united by the team's overall purpose.

2.The team has clearly defined goals and objectives.

3.The "right" people serve on the team.

4.Team member roles are appropriate and clearly defined.

5.A decision making process is in place and has been described to all team members.

6.Needed resources are available to team members.

7.Team members engage with a collaborative spirit.

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Sylvia Hepler, Owner and President of Launching Lives, LLC, is an executive coach based in South Central PA.  Her ideal clients are persons in management positions:  corporate, nonprofit, and business owners.  Her company mission is to support executives as they solve problems, develop leadership skills, and increase balance in their lives.  Sylvia offers three programs, any of which may overlap depending on client need:  First Class Management Program; Change, Loss, and Grief Program; and Career Development Program.  Her professional background includes:  extensive nonprofit management/leadership, public speaking, business writing, retail sales, and teaching.

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