I have always though of myself as being of the solo type. I take care of my business and like to have a deep involvement on anything that is going on around what I do. Yet time and experience have showed me the value of teamwork. I don't want to sound cliché; but the whole is really more than the addition of the parts on well functioning teams.
Yet having properly functioning teams is not an easy task. It is not that hard, but it takes some work and requisites:
- Some Good Projects: Good as in exiting. You just can't do fun stuff all of the time, but people should do fun stuff every once in a while .
- Payment: should be decent enough for people not to look elsewhere most of the time.
- Clear goals: Both individually and group-wise. Without a clear aim there is no
- Commitment : Team members should be have conviction in the overall direction, trust in what's done collectively and trust their leadership.
All of the above can't be achieved without:
I can't stress out enough how this is key. You can have some of the above bullets, but teams will fall apart if there isn't good, flat and fluid communication. As a matter of fact commitment and clear goals can't possibly exist if there isn't a good word flow going around.
Open minds, and willingness to listen (even to concepts contrary to one's ideas, or specially to concepts contrary to one's ideas) should cement team's idea sharing.
Communication is the glue that sticks teams together. Communication builds trust. Trust creates bonds. People with bonds make up teams.
Goals are fundamental for success-driven individuals. All people like to feel they are part of something bigger; but it's those that want to push things to the next level that strive on having a clear direction and aim. Otherwise people just get frustrated and leave (or start performing poorly).
Of course all teams have different kinds of members: natural leaders, creative people, hard workers, good communicators and, sorry to say so, bulk members. Those in charge should be able to discern what each individual is capable of and willing to do. Few things can be more unmotivating than the feeling of being "misused". One of the most common mistakes leaders make is feeling threatened by the people they manage, feeling that their progress can go in detriment of their own aspirations. Good leaders, on the other hand will provide opportunities to others, proving themselves greater by doing so.
All of this generates motivation. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that motivated people work harder and better than those that aren't. It is practically impossible to keep top motivation all of the time, it is like trying to stay awake on caffeine for too long, you'll just collapse on a given moment (I used a different analogy... decided . Administering motivation is also key to achieve things on the right moments. Master the timing and arts of motivation and nothing will be able to stop you.
Teams are powerful forces; they can achieve tremendous goals but they can also be torn apart as easy and as quickly as a bad call spreads around.