With the advent of technology and its associated advancements comes change, and this is one of the greatest and most constant aspects of workforce dynamics. With the globalization factor being the reality of the moment, many organizations are re-evaluating employee engagement methodologies and evaluating their performance as a part of a team than just as an individual performer. Teamwork has always been a corporate cornerstone, and now more companies are not only choosing the collaborative mind set over individual effort but gauging the success of each accomplishment based upon the efforts of the team.
The greatest advantage of the team-based performance structure is that of working as a part of the larger engine, which may tend to have more of a voice in the decision-making process. This business model can help boost morale, as well as employee performance and job satisfaction. In addition, the team-based structure ensures a more equitable distribution of the responsibilities than that of overloading an employee. The even distribution of task responsibility not only relieves stress on key individual employees, it also increases the overall speed and quality of production in the workplace. While there may be significant advantages, this model does have a rather significant disadvantage in the form of lack of recognition that individual might have been used to in the traditional non-team model for their individual accomplishment. Since the team is evaluated, management praises or constructively criticizes the group rather than an individual’s most responsible for the outcome.
There are few key aspects which help to facilitate the re-focus with a restricting exercise:
Breaking the silos
Companies that bring teams together and encourage them to talk to each other are the ones that truly innovate and thrive. Breaking down the silos is absolutely essential towards the success of any organization. This is an organizational responsibility to ensure that there are sufficient forums or groups or initiatives, which can facilitate employee interaction, share information and create liaison roles that work between functions. When it comes to problem-solving, cross-functional teams tend to have much higher levels of success as the team members bring the key element to solutions – Outside-In thinking. This mode of solution ensures that solutions provided have a truly holistic perspective. Additionally, when the solution succeeds the pride which is taken in this success reflects across the team and enables the building of organizational ambassadors.
Improving Collaborative Skills
The Indian education system has set most employees up with a competitive spirit, but more as individuals than as team members. This makes thriving as a productive member of a successful team a touch more difficult to adapt to. Contending with different personalities, cultures, ideologies, and work practices take time.
Here are a few tips to improve team-based skills within an organization.
a. Communication: Clarity in communication is primary to the success of any team. Individuals who focus on their communication skills will quickly see the benefits ensue, as the team begins to achieve greater success, targeting from smaller tasks to larger projects.
Encouraging teams to a conference on a regular basis is a must step, simply to discuss strategy or talking points that may have gotten lost in the day-to-day shuffle.
b. Respectful: It is important to remind and instil within employees the need to remain always respectful of their teammates. Treating each collaborator as they would want to be treated should remain a non-negotiable point within all organizations, as is recognizing the importance of respecting opposing opinions.
c. Suggestions: Employees should be encouraged to offer their inputs/ suggestions on a regular basis. Even if an idea is not directly applied at that time, there is always a chance it can be used and implemented in the future. From an organizational perspective, just receiving feedback or suggestion is half the game, the ability to act on the feedback based on feasibility and or communicate back on the in-feasibility builds significant transparency and trust in the employee groups. When employees see the feedback loop is closed, they start to engage further and see a value to their suggestions thereby yearn to be a part of the change. Additionally, a ready-made support system for employees to share their ideas and approach management regarding concerns and opinions is an undeniable advantage.
d. Constructive, not critical: There are going to be moments of conflicting thoughts and opinions. Reverting the need for respect, team members should be encouraged to offer strictly constructive criticism when in disagreement with another’s idea. The role of a leader in the team is primary towards driving the aspect of constructive conversations and at the end of the conversation to have all team members align to the concept of “Agree to disagree and commit to the organizational imperative”.
Focus on Mission and Culture
When people work in small teams, they become more empowered in taking decisions. Companies should look to organize these teams around a mission, product, market, or an integrated customer need rather than a specific business function. This holistic approach can enable some of the most innovative aspects which can propel an organization through a tough period.
Foster a culture of sharing and feedback
If you want the organization to succeed with the new organizational structure, then it’s important to establish a culture that’s rich in sharing. Information and operation infrastructures are helping companies break down the silos by enabling teams to communicate quickly and identify connections between activities and desired outcomes in real time.
While there are valid points both for and against a strictly team-based company infrastructure, there is no denying that teamwork itself encourages productivity as well as the even distribution of responsibility. It’s important that the leader drives home the aspect that constructive criticism is important, but so is the ability to be accepting of this feedback in the positive perspective within the team than being seen as the cornering of the minority groups who have a differential thought process.
If an organization is keen to succeed by engaging every employee, it would be very important that there is complete clarity in the organizational charter as this enables the migration of employees in their respective teams closer to the organizational objective.
For an individual to achieve true success, it’s important to believe that this can be best achieved through appropriate teaming. There is a strong need for every employee to believe in this saying – “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together”.