A Checklist on Effective Team Working

Abstract

This paper presents a checklist of the qualities that make individuals effective team members.The checklist comprises of seven qualities which are communication skills, commitment towards attaining the team objective, competence members’ respective fields of specialty, creativity, support and respect for other members, effective organization and management skills, and responsibility and accountability.A further explanation of the relevance of these qualities is also presented.

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Introduction

Teamwork is defined as the collaboration of several associates, each playing a role that will contribute to the attainment of the whole group’s objective (Hill & Parsons, 2014).

Effective teamwork requires team members to possess certain qualities in order to facilitate a constructive relationship amongst them (Galbraith & Webb, 2013). This paper presents a checklist and rationale of teamwork qualities. The checklist is developed from my personal career experiences.

Checklist of Qualities of a Team Player
Effective communication skills
Commitment towards attaining the team objective
Competence in one’s field of specialty
Creativity
Respect and support for other team members
Effective management and organization skills
Accountability and responsibility
Rationale

This section presents an explanation of the relevance of the above qualities to team work. Reference is also made to academic sources to provide a more detailed explanation of these qualities.

Communication Skills

In order to function successfully in a team, members ought to be able to effectively communicate on both emotional and intellectual levels (Lencioni, 2012). Possession of this skill enables one to effectively present their ideas to other group members or express their displeasure in certain ideas without being threatening. Communication also involves listening, which is vital for internalizing the ideas presented by other team members. The present–day technological advancements like the internet and mobile phones have further eased the communication process, which is also advantageous for team work and has led to the ‘virtual team’ phenomenon (Duarte & Snyder, 2011). Lack of communication skills often lead to conflicts within the team or groupthink, where some team members agree with ideas without any constructive debate.

Commitment to Attainment of the Team Objective

The level of team members’ commitment to collaborate and accomplish the team’s goals is a critical contributing factor towards the success of the team (Dunin-Keplicz & Verbrugge, 2011). All teamwork projects involve the contribution of individual members towards the attainment of an overall objective. Therefore, commitment starts by their acknowledgement of the fact that what they are working to achieve cannot be solely done by one individual (Mohammed & Harrison, 2013). Committed team members have a high regard for the roles that they have been allocated and work as hard as possible to ensure that they are well accomplished within the allocated time. Commitment however depends on how organizations motivate the team members (Sheng et al., 2010).

Competence

Allocation of roles and responsibilities in team work is done according to the specialty of each team member (Lencioni, 2012). For instance, it is expected that a marketing role will be delegated to an individual who has a rich background in marketing and not engineering. By exercising competence in the roles they are allocated, team members create a sense of confidence in team leaders and other members that they will deliver the required level of quality (Galbraith & Webb, 2013). It is also necessary for team members to only accept roles in which they are sure of delivering paramount quality (Dunin-Keplicz & Verbrugge, 2011). The lack of the required levels of competence results in poor delivery of individual roles, which adversely affects the overall results of the team.

Creativity

Creativity is defined as the ability to come up with ingenious solution for certain issues or problems (Mumford, 2012). In teamwork, it is a very important tool, especially when the problem at hand has no pre-defined approach of addressing it. When a team has creative members, one of the main advantages is that the project at hand will not be hindered by common challenges that may arise in the course of its progress. Whereas creativity can be considered as an individual quality, Foss et al. (2013) also argued that creativity can be nurtured within the team because team members provide different suggestions of approaches that can be used in solving problems.

Effective Management and Organization

In the course of a team project, there are short-term objectives to be met that contribute to the attainment of the larger goal (Mohammed & Harrison, 2013). It is therefore vital for team members to effectively manage and organize time and resources that they have been allocated to accomplish their roles. The lack of management and organization skills is likely to result in delays or failure of some team members in accomplishing their roles within the allocated time schedule and resources (Galbraith & Webb, 2013). Management and organization also determines the punctuality of team members in attending meetings or reporting the progress of their allocated duties.

Respect and Support for other Team Members

One of the pillars of teamwork is the acknowledgement of the roles played by each member of the group (Duarte & Snyder, 2011). This eliminates the subscription to the ideology by other team members that their roles are more important than others. According to Sheng et al. (2010), support of other team members who may be experiencing difficulties exemplifies a sense of loyalty towards one another. Expressing respect and support rather than playing the blame game builds confidence in team members and contributes towards a constructive working relationship (Galbraith & Webb, 2013). It also increases the possibility of successful collaboration in future projects.

Accountability and Responsibility

Accountability and responsibility play a major role in instilling self discipline among members when handling projects they have been assigned to (Graham & Englund, 2013). Whilst not all team members can be allocated a leadership position in the team, they have to be responsible for the small roles they have been assigned and ensure that they deliver them on time (Sheng et al., 2010). Accountability in team work ensures that every action taken in contribution to the team project is justifiable. It is however argued that accountability limits creativity because of the fear of mistakes that can arise when trying out creative problem solving procedures (Mumford, 2012).

Conclusion

Teamwork is an inevitable phenomenon in any organization. It is therefore necessary for individuals to hone skills that enable them to be better team players. This paper has outlined some f the qualities that are considered as being vital for anyone who wants to be successful team player. Whereas I possess all of the discussed skills, I also intend to improve my level of perfection in them in order to be a better team player in future.

References

Duarte, D.L. & Snyder, N.T., 2011. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies, Tools, and Techniques That Succeed. San Fransisco: Josey-Bass.

Dunin-Keplicz, B. & Verbrugge, ?J., 2011. Teamwork in Multi-Agent Systems: A Formal Approach. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Foss, L., Woll, K. & Moilanen, M., 2013. Creativity and implementations of new ideas: Do organisational structure, work environment and gender matterInternational Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 5(3), pp.298-322.

Galbraith, D.D. & Webb, F.L., 2013. Teams That Work: Preparing Student. American Journal Of Business Education Teams For The Workplace, 6(2), pp.223-33.

Graham, R.J. & Englund, R.L., 2013. Creating an environment for successful projects. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Hill, F. & Parsons, L?., 2014. Teamwork in the Management of Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. New Jersey: Routledge.

Lencioni, P., 2012. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: Intact Teams Participant Workbook. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Mohammed, S. & Harrison, D.A., 2013. The clocks that time us are not the same: A theory of temporal diversity, task characteristics, and performance in teams. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 122(2), pp.244-56.

Mumford, M.D., 2012. Handbook of Organizational Creativity. London: Elsevier.

Sheng, C.W., Tian, Y.F. & Chen, M.C., 2010. Relationships among teamwork behavior, trust, perceived team support, and team commitment. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 38(10), pp.1297-305.

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