Teamwork has a dramatic affect on organizational performance. An effective team can help an organization achieve incredible results. A team that is not working can cause unnecessary disruption, failed delivery and strategic failure.
Nowadays it is almost impossible to avoid being a member of team. If you're not on an official team at work, chances are you function within one in one way or another. So it's important for your personal and career development to know your teamworking strengths and weaknesses.
This assessment helps you uncover common teamworking problems that you might be experiencing. Once you've completed the assessment, we direct you towards team tools that will help you to improve and develop these important skills.
|46-75||You're a solid team member working well as part of an effective team. Lower scores in this range show that there is room for improvement, though. Read the following summaries of key teamwork functions and determine which of the tools will help you become a better team player and build a stronger team. (Read below to start.)|
|31-45||Your effectiveness as a team player and your team's effectiveness are patchy. You're good at some things, but there's room for improvement elsewhere. Focus on the serious issues below, and you'll most likely find that you and your team are soon achieving more.|
|15-30||This is worrying. The good news is that you've got a great opportunity to improve your effectiveness as a team member, and the effectiveness of your team. Start below!|
(Questions 1, 11)
Teams do not become effective overnight. Team building is a process that requires due attention and care. If you try to skip over important development stages, you risk not forming the solid foundation needed when trouble or setbacks occur.
To build, lead, or participate in a team requires an understanding of the stages of team development. Through extensive research, it has been found that successful teams have certain aspects of their development paths in common. The one that most people are aware of is Tuckman's Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing model.
Two other factors that significantly increase a team's chances of being effective are having a well thought out team orientation process, and developing a clear team charter. Both of these help you establish clear guidelines and set clear expectations. When the individuals on a team all know what they are supposed to be doing and how they are to go about doing it, you give the team a good start on maximizing performance. To read more about these processes see the Mind Tools articles on Successful Induction and Team Charters.
(Questions 2, 13)
One of the best ways of improving people's performance is by providing information to team members about their individual performance, as well as the overall team performance. After all, how do you know what is working and what isn't if no one gives you an objective summary?
There are usually plenty of people around who are ready and willing to give you their opinions on this. Unfortunately, this information is often conveyed in a manner that causes resentment and animosity.
For feedback to be positive and growth-inspiring, it has to be delivered properly, with enough attention being paid to how the receiver is going to perceive and process it. To learn more on giving feedback, see our articles on Giving and Receiving Feedback, The GROW Model, and 360° Feedback.
(Questions 3, 9, 10)
Articulating the team's vision is fundamental to developing a high performing team. It's the vision that motivates and directs a team to reach its goal.
The best teams invest a great deal of time and energy into exploring and understanding the overall purpose and vision of the team. From this vision, a set of goals and objectives emerges that helps the team stay focused and on track.
The key to using vision successfully is making the process of discovering it a participative one. You can tell a team what the vision is and team members may or may not agree that the cause is worth working hard for. If, however, you allow the team to explore the vision, to see how their specific roles fit into the big picture, and provide meaningful opportunities for team members to assist in the team's success, then you have the basis for a high performing team.
To learn more about tying vision to goals see Performance Management and KPIs, The Balanced Scorecard, and Management By Objectives. To learn where you sit on the participative management scale, see the article on the The Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid. The articles on Avoiding Micromanagement and Successful Delegation discuss why it is important to provide challenges to your team members and allow them to use their skills and abilities to the fullest.
(Questions 4, 12, 14)
Conflict can be an inevitable consequence of working with other people. Opinions, values, styles, and a whole host of other differences provide more than enough grounds for disagreement. This disagreement is actually part of the reason why teams can be so effective – the more perspectives that go into a process, the better the end result. Usually!
Allowing the differences to get out of hand, though, causes unnecessary disruption and leads to breakdowns in working relationships. Team members and leaders should take it upon themselves to understand the basics of conflict management and also learn more about different styles and ways of thinking and working.
(Questions 6, 8, 14, 15)
The differences between how people work and view the world make for interesting conversations and dynamic teams. An effective team capitalizes on these natural differences and maximizes performance by putting the right people in the right roles.
Some research has also been done on the different types of roles people play within teams. While the jury is still out on the detail of this research, having insight into the types of roles that are taken on in teams can help you see which roles and behaviors are constructive and which ones aren't. Mind Tools has featured two such models of team roles: Belbin's Team Roles and Benne and Sheats' Team Roles.
(Questions 7, 12)
No matter what role a person plays in a team, or what tasks he or she has been assigned to, there is almost always room for personal improvement. When the individuals on a team are functioning at high capacity, the team can flourish as well.
This is a critical understanding in team performance. Although there is no "I" in "Team" you have to remember there is no team without individuals. You have to build and foster the skills in the individuals that are congruent with the needs of the team.
To do this, requires a solid understanding of training methods and ways of identifying the needs of the team members. The article on Successful Induction talks about setting out a training needs analysis from day one. The articles on Understanding Developmental Needs and Training Needs Assessment provide practical tips for identifying areas that need improvement.
(Questions 5, 14)
The last area of team functioning explored by this quiz covers how well you and your team are able to collaborate and understand the key issues facing the team. Again, this goes back to the idea of cohesion. Members of successful teams all head in the same direction, and work for the same purpose.
When priorities and goals diverge, tensions appear within the team, and the whole is often no longer greater than the sum of its parts. This is a fundamental issue for high performing teams. Consensus, consistency and agreement are vital for effective teamwork.
An effective team is much more than a bunch of people thrown together to accomplish a goal. Because teams are such an inherent part of how we work, it is easy to believe we know what makes a team perform well, however this is often not the case.
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