Necessary ingredients for successful team dynamics in the workplace

Teams are part of the heart of any organization. With a combination of teamwork and cooperation, most anything is possible. Businesses have recognized the value of teamwork and, as a result, work teams have emerged as an industrious way to get projects complete. When a leader assigns a task to a group of people, this opens the door for brainstorming, creativity and innovation to occur. When teams members get together to collaborate, it results in the development of ideas and solutions.

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Groups which usually possess attributes such as cohesiveness, commitment and an ability to cooperate are able to successfully apply their complementary skills towards reaching common goals. The team dynamic is viewed as a positive, and these groups are very productive. Teams have become a staple in most organizations because they have proven to have a high rate of success and have so many advantages.

Despite the successful nature and benefits of working in teams, sometimes they do fail. There are times that a group cannot effectively work together to get the task completed. What qualities in an organization would contribute to a team's success or failure?

Organizational culture and philosophy

A partial determination of team success or failure largely starts off with organizational culture and philosophies. In a culture where solely entrepreneurial thinking is promoted, this often equates to a recipe for failure. While entrepreneurial thinking is a good asset for people to possess, it can sometimes get in the way of teamwork. The reason being it does not always welcome or include the input of others.

If players are encouraged to strictly think solo, the team dynamic will ultimately fail because people will not know how to effectively work with one another. Every employee in an organization possesses tacit knowledge, knowledge other members may not have. Sharing one another's knowledge helps promote new ideas in the group setting.

Relying on individual instincts can be helpful, but more innovation and creativity typically emerges in the group setting. The diversity contained within teams helps promote fresh and creative ideas that will benefit the organization. Everyone has different life experiences, knowledge and perception, and team members who effectively recognize the value of working with others formulate success.

A willingness to share

People who lack a willingness to share ideas and/or thoughts can contribute to group failure. In a group scenario, members have to actively ensure that individual egos do not get in the way of harmonious discussion and have an effect on effective decision making. If people are highly focused on their own perspectives without any openness to the ideas of their teammates, this can deter from the best course of action.

Team members who possess a level of flexibility in the group setting and are not prone to becoming "locked-in" to a particular train of thought have a better chance at success. Group-think often results in detrimental results because there is little to no thinking outside of the proverbial box.

Great communication skills

Listening and interpersonal skills are a must in the team environment since this impacts ability to relate to one another and will help members reach a consensus with the problem at hand. Poor communication can hurt work teams if the organizational norm does not nurture it. An organization which fosters and encourages communication will have a strong cornerstone foundation for team work success.

To be successful, management should provide a clear understanding of the project to give team members a foundation of which to build upon. It should also create groups made up of people with similar values. When developing team members, management should take into consideration diversity and styles of work habits.

The organizational culture should also set the stage for encouragement, motivation and innovation. Groups should also possess cohesiveness with regards to the project and also have personal commitment. This commitment may forge intrinsic rewards and give the group stronger motivation to succeed at whatever the project is they are working on.

If the company culture and managerial commitment does not promote an environment of encouragement, innovation will be stifled, both in the individual and team setting. The organizational culture in a work environment has direct impact the success or failure of teams. An atmosphere which nurtures team work will reap the benefits of success.

Kreitner, & Kinicki, Organizational Behavior, McGraw/Hill, 2004, 6th ed


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