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How to be a better team player in the workplace

Published: , автор: Mubar

how to be a better team player in the workplace

If team members don't feel respected, they won't be motivated to bring their best ideas — and their best selves — to work. Support Other People on Your Team. What does it mean to be a team player in the workplace? What qualities make a good team player at work? What are examples of collaborative teamwork skills? DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DISAPPLYING AND INVALIDATING LEGISLATION IN PLACE

Consider a software design team based in Santa Clara, California, that sends chunks of code to its counterparts in Bangalore, India, to revise overnight. But in one such team we spoke with, that division of labor was demotivating, because it left the Indian team members with a poor sense of how the pieces of code fit together and with little control over what they did and how.

Repartitioning the work to give them ownership over an entire module dramatically increased their motivation and engagement and improved the quality, quantity, and efficiency of their work. Destructive dynamics can also undermine collaborative efforts. Teams can reduce the potential for dysfunction by establishing clear norms—rules that spell out a small number of things members must always do such as arrive at meetings on time and give everyone a turn to speak and a small number they must never do such as interrupt.

Instilling such norms is especially important when team members operate across different national, regional, or organizational cultures and may not share the same view of, for example, the importance of punctuality. And in teams whose membership is fluid, explicitly reiterating norms at regular intervals is key.

Supportive context. Having the right support is the third condition that enables team effectiveness. This includes maintaining a reward system that reinforces good performance, an information system that provides access to the data needed for the work, and an educational system that offers training, and last—but not least—securing the material resources required to do the job, such as funding and technological assistance.

While no team ever gets everything it wants, leaders can head off a lot of problems by taking the time to get the essential pieces in place from the start. Ensuring a supportive context is often difficult for teams that are geographically distributed and digitally dependent, because the resources available to members may vary a lot.

Consider the experience of Jim, who led a new product-development team at General Mills that focused on consumer goods for the Mexican market. While Jim was based in the United States, in Minnesota, some members of his team were part of a wholly owned subsidiary in Mexico. The team struggled to meet its deadlines, which caused friction. But when Jim had the opportunity to visit his Mexican team members, he realized how poor their IT was and how strapped they were for both capital and people—particularly in comparison with the headquarters staff.

Shared mindset. Establishing the first three enabling conditions will pave the way for team success, as Hackman and his colleagues showed. The solution to both is developing a shared mindset among team members—something team leaders can do by fostering a common identity and common understanding. In the past teams typically consisted of a stable set of fairly homogeneous members who worked face-to-face and tended to have a similar mindset. This is a natural human response: Our brains use cognitive shortcuts to make sense of our increasingly complicated world, and one way to deal with the complexity of a 4-D team is to lump people into categories.

This was the challenge facing Alec, the manager of an engineering team at ITT tasked with providing software solutions for high-end radio communications. His team was split between Texas and New Jersey, and the two groups viewed each other with skepticism and apprehension.

Differing time zones, regional cultures, and even accents all reinforced their dissimilarities, and Alec struggled to keep all members up to speed on strategies, priorities, and roles. The situation got so bad that during a team visit to a customer, members from the two offices even opted to stay in separate hotels. In an effort to unite the team, Alec took everyone out to dinner, only to find the two groups sitting at opposite ends of the table. Incomplete information is likewise more prevalent in 4-D teams.

Very often, certain team members have important information that others do not, because they are experts in specialized areas or because members are geographically dispersed, new, or both. After all, shared knowledge is the cornerstone of effective collaboration; it gives a group a frame of reference, allows the group to interpret situations and decisions correctly, helps people understand one another better, and greatly increases efficiency.

Digital dependence often impedes information exchange, however. When we walk into an in-person meeting, for example, we can immediately sense the individual and collective moods of the people in the room—information that we use consciously or not to tailor subsequent interactions. Having to rely on digital communication erodes the transmission of this crucial type of intelligence.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter Management Tip of the Day Quick, practical management advice to help you do your job better. Thanks for subscribing,! You can view our other newsletters or opt out at any time by managing your email preferences. Some effects of incomplete information came to light during a recent executive education session at Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Japan. One of the U. The Americans left the office at a normal hour, had dinner with their families, and held calls in the comfort of their homes, while their Japanese colleagues stayed in the office, missed time with their families, and hoped calls ended before the last train home.

Fortunately, there are many ways team leaders can actively foster a shared identity and shared understanding and break down the barriers to cooperation and information exchange. Returning to Alec, the manager of the team whose subgroups booked separate hotels: While his dinner started with the Texas colleagues at one end of the table and the New Jersey colleagues at the other, by its close signs had emerged that the team was chipping away at its internal wall.

He emphasized that both subteams contributed necessary skills and pointed out that they depended on each other for success. To build more bridges, he brought the whole team together several more times over the next few months, creating shared experiences and common reference points and stories. Often this is done by reserving the first 10 minutes of teamwide meetings for open discussion. The idea is to provide an opportunity for members to converse about whatever aspects of work or daily life they choose, such as office politics or family or personal events.

This helps people develop a more complete picture of distant colleagues, their work, and their environment. By simply panning the camera around the room, they were able to show their remote colleagues their work environment—including things that were likely to distract or disrupt them, such as closely seated coworkers in an open-plan space or a nearby photocopier. Evaluating Your Team Together the four enabling conditions form a recipe for building an effective team from scratch.

But even if you inherit an existing team, you can set the stage for its success by focusing on the four fundamentals. How will you know if your efforts are working? We have found that these criteria apply as well as ever and advise that leaders use them to calibrate their teams over time. The ideal approach combines regular light-touch monitoring for preventive maintenance and less-frequent but deeper checks when problems arise. For ongoing monitoring, we recommend a simple and quick temperature check: Every few months, rate your team on each of the four enabling conditions and also on the three criteria of team effectiveness.

The results will show where your team is on track as well as where problems may be brewing. Does Your Team Measure Up? To see how your team is doing, evaluate it on the three classic criteria of team effectiveness. Set the Tone It is incredibly important for leaders to set a tone, and model the behavior, that everyone will respect one another. So you can say anything to anyone, as long as you say it the right way.

We make everyone understand that the reason the culture works is that we have that respect. Treating people with respect is part of a two-way street to help foster teamwork. At the same time, leaders also need to hold everyone on their team accountable for their work and role on the team.

You can count on them, and you can get by with fewer layers of management, and communication flows faster. Stay On Your Side of the Net "Having those good conversations is really 80 percent of being an effective manager. A big part of holding people accountable for their work is a willingness to have frank discussions about problems and misunderstandings that inevitably arise among colleagues.

They can be unpleasant, and most people would rather deliver good news instead of bad. That is why problems are often swept under the rug, and maybe dealt with months later in an annual performance review.

This approach was first described to me by Andrew Thompson , the chief executive of Proteus Digital Health, who said he uses it as a counterweight to a natural tendency of human beings. Thompson said. Set Expectations for Feedback How often people give feedback is just as important as how they deliver it.

Some leaders tell their employees upfront that they are going to give them frequent feedback. If you get into a rhythm of giving feedback, they get used to it. The problem starts because emails often lack the tone and context to clearly signal what the sender is thinking. So a straightforward email can get misinterpreted, create anxiety or trigger an angry response. As a result, email can often damage the connective tissue that forms relationships among colleagues rather than help build it up.

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