Overcome Barriers for Effective Teams
As we entertain the concept of teamwork and start to collaborate with others, we come to realize that complex tasks become simpler, productivity improves, and time becomes less of a constraint with more helping hands and brilliant minds working together. This article discusses about teamwork, some barriers to effective teams and how you can overcome these. In the content below, we share with you five impediments to effective teams.
No common purpose
For a team to work effectively together, there should be a clear vision in mind. Define the business problem early on and set key performance indicators. From there, align everybody towards achieving the targets. Note that as the project progresses, some members may lose sight of the end goal in which case, individuals will end up pursuing separate agendas. We don’t want individuals to be sidetracked. Hence, when this happens, reconvene and make the team’s purpose unified again.
Lack of open communication
To be an effective team, team members should be able to communicate freely and openly. Practicing a culture of open communication not only facilitates brainstorming, it also helps everybody assess the problem from different points of view and collectively devise solutions. What we want to avoid is members seeing red flags ahead but not feeling safe to voice out their concerns. This results not just to wasted efforts from the other members, but also avoidable costs for the company in pursuing a solution that is not optimal. Meanwhile, when members feel safe to voice their opinions out, we cultivate a team who can share ideas, present the pros and cons based on their respective roles, and even initiate difficult conversations.
For many teams, once the goal, roles and responsibilities have been set, the team disperses and works on their assigned tasks on their own. This is normal but ensure that there are still regular meetings to bring everybody on the same page again. Even if you have delegated responsibilities already, it is important to stay updated on the progress of other members. Avoiding a silo working mentality will facilitate sharing of status updates and insights, raising any issues encountered, and possibly even get inputs from a diverse group.
Poorly managed team conflict
It is common for team members to encounter conflicts. Disagreements arise while issues are raised and questioned. Note that this is normal and expected. It is good that the team is opening the floor for discussions and communicating the problems and their different points of views straight up. However, sometimes, things may get too intense. Heated arguments may be taken personally and ultimately, poorly managed conflicts create tension that when left unresolved will lead to damaged relationships and disrupted workflows. In which case, it is good to establish some ground rules on how to handle conflicting ideas from the start of the engagement. If the problem persists, engaging a neutral party within the team or externally helps to stabilize the situation.
Lack of diversity in skill sets
The purpose of forming a team is to pool together individuals of varying experiences, educational backgrounds, and specializations. If the team comprises of like-minded individuals, ideas will be skewed and biased towards what they are aware of only. It is expected also that they are strong in one aspect but lacking in another. One way to solve this will be to come up with a diverse team. With diversity, we open opportunities to see things from a wider perspective. Solutions will also be more creative as the team is capable of tackling problems unconventionally using the different skill sets they have. With a good distribution of qualifications, you can then properly delegate tasks to those suited for the role.
Overcome these Barriers to Build Effective Teams
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” These are words spoken by Helen Keller herself. True enough, we can only go so far if we were to rely solely on ourselves. Teams are primarily formed to help us reach our goals by the targeted date. In a team set up, a group of individuals work together and share responsibilities. It sounds easy but, bringing people together and giving them things to do is the easy part. The challenge lies in making the team perform well.