Within the supply chain, effective teamwork is an essential ingredient for success. Your team could be small and internal however it is becoming increasingly common for teams to be spread across the country, or even the world, as remote and flexible working becomes easier and more popular. Both scenarios can throw up a variety of challenges, including communication issues and conflict, creating a turbulent and dysfunctional working environment, so how can you create an effective team that supports every individual to reach their full potential? Within this article I will discuss how you can create a well functioning team.
Voice your goals, values and expectations
The most effective teams are those who share the same values that guide them towards shared goals so try to build teams that align as much as possible for the best chance of success. Naturally, we are drawn to work at organisations that match up with what we believe in, so it is likely that these shared values already exist within your team ready for you to draw upon to inspire and motivate. They provide a great unifying focal point whilst also serving the expected workplace culture and as a way to hold those who are not adhering or fulfilling their tasks to account. If you can show how individual tasks contribute to overall shared goals, team members will be much more focused on achieving them as high a standard as possible, particularly as demonstrating this shows how they individually contribute to the wider business goals and could fuel their desire to hold additional leadership or management responsibilities.
Don’t avoid conflict
Of course no team outwardly seeks to experience conflict, however actively avoiding any instances of this can also have negative consequences and create an uncomfortable environment with underlying tension. When any disagreements are always suppressed or you try to put a temporary plaster over them, they are likely to return and have a larger detrimental impact than if they were dealt with at the root cause initially. When conflict arises, get both parties together quickly to work through the issue and come to a compromise; you could bring in an external mediator to ensure the situation remain impartial, and as a leader learn from this how you can prevent it from happening again.
Team members should be allowed to voice feedback on tasks that betters the team as a whole in a constructive way, but it should not be personal. Conducting a feedback session is particularly helpful when a challenging situation has arisen, but it should not lead to blaming one another and remain ideas focused to move forward.
For both teams who see each other every day and those who work remotely, effective communication is of vital importance. For example, you may sit in the same office as your team members but this does not automatically mean you are communicating well. Similarly, emailing external team members may get you a response but this does not mean that the instructions you have given have been fully understood. Prioritise working with each individual member to find out their communication style and preferences so these can be incorporated where possible thereby helping the team to work seamlessly. This could be using more verbal and direct tools but it could be less detail instructions to give them more room for creative thinking. They all have their benefits within different tasks so allocate those who are most well suited to the task at hand.
Be results driven
Ultimately, the end goal of all teams should be to deliver the expected results, and more, and any strategies put in place should be to facilitate this. Teamwork rests upon everyone working towards a common goal, not prioritising their personal successes or bolstering their ego. Of course, leaders should be facilitating the growth of each individual but this should be within the overall goals of the team and business.
You could opt to get in an external team specialist to help pinpoint any issues so you can really maximise the potential of your team. Spending time initially investing in creating a harmonious and productive working environment will save you much more time to focus on other important aspects of the business.