The Challenge of Developing Teams
Teams as a collective can achieve much more than individuals. We have all probably encountered teams where great results were achieved and it seems that it almost happened by chance. Yet in truth developing teams is challenging. So what are some of the common challenges that you need to address in developing teams.
Lack of direction
Teams are no different from individuals in that they need to have clear direction. A team without direction or clarity about where it is heading will flounder in the dark and struggle to achieve real and possibly any results. If you want to increase the chances of team success, make sure that the team has a clear direction or outcome that it is seeking to achieve.
Some people are passionate about the area the team is working on or their organisation. Others might just generally be vocal and want to share their ideas. While the contributions are vital to the team and to the results achieved, they can also get in the way of the success of the team. If one person starts to dominate proceedings chances are that others will not get the opportunity to make their contributions. As a result they may become de-motivated and stop engaging. In teams it is important to make sure that everyone gets their time to offer their contributions.
The passive individuals are those that are reluctant to offer their views. They might lack confidence in themselves or in the value of the contribution they believe they can make. These passive individuals can often have great contributions to make and it is important to find ways of involving them in a way that makes them feel safe and supported.
Opinion equals fact
One of the challenges in team development is separating opinion or hearsay from fact. You may have encountered a situation where someone says something like “everyone is disillusioned by lack of progress.” This is likely to be an opinion of one or a few people but not likely to be fact. In teams it is important that opinions are explored and debated to make sure that there is not an inherent assumption that opinion equals fact.
Turf wars are situations where people look to get the best outcome for their area of the organisation they represent or maybe for themselves personally rather than thinking about what is best collectively. Securing financial resources is often a common area where this type of behaviour often exists. Overcoming these turf wars is essential to team success.
Ever been part of a team or observed a team where on the face of it lots of things were being accomplished but nothing was sustainable. If so, chances are the team was rushing too much to accomplish or tick off things on a list rather than taking the time to discuss debate and really test solutions. While teams clearly need to achieve results , those results need to stand the test of time if they are to be of real value.
Within St Mary’s, good team work is where all team members understand, believe in and work towards the shared purpose of caring for resident. As a team leader I ensure all team members are working towards it in their day-to-day work. All teams move through different stages of development, but are at their most of assistance where there is honesty and trust, with members working to their own strengths. For me to know my team and earn their respect I have to develop a good working relationship with them. I have to be a good role model and be able to present an image and objectives for the team. When I started as a unit manager, I was the youngest team leader. I have several seniors and older member of the team. Occasionally I find them very dominant to me because of their experience and the longer time they been working in the nursing home. But regardless, it is about understanding and showing respect to all members of the team whoever they are.