How To Improve Teamwork
What is teamwork?
Teamwork is the co-operative effort by a group of people to achieve a common goal.
Achievement is usually measured by some kind of performance indicator (eg: customer satisfaction, sales growth).
Teamwork is improved when the group change their behaviour so that performance improves.
Good teamwork does not necessarily require good interpersonal relationships or friendships (see an example of good teamwork with poor relationships). Rather, what is required is behaviour that results in better team performance.
The most guaranteed way of improving teamwork is to apply the principles of performance management to the group's behaviours. This involves these basic steps:
- Identifying what teamwork behaviours will lead to better performance
(the TARGET behaviours)
- Assessing which teamwork behaviours are currently being used
(the CURRENT behaviours)
- Undertaking a gap analysis between target and current teamwork behaviours, and taking action to bring current teamwork behaviours closer to the target
The target behaviours vary from team to team. For example, the behaviours that lead to success for the operations room of a nuclear power station are very different to those of a PR/advertising agency; the former needs to "go by the book", whilst the latter has to be continually creative.
One way to identify target teamwork behaviours is to complete the ITPQ(TM) (Ideal Team Profile Questionnaire(TM)) instrument. This can be completed by the team, peer groups, staff, customers, senior management and others to provide a wide range of views of what would make the team successful. This information enables the team to:
- Identify and manage conflicting expectations of them between, say, management and customers.
- Take a wide perspective when setting behavioural goals for themselves, which should improve the quality of those goals.
- Facilitate a dialogue within the team and with others outside the team on how to improve performance.
Current behaviours may be influenced by factors, such as:
- The organisational culture
- The preferences of team members
- Current circumstances
- Feedback from people outside the team
- And many other factors
One way to identify current behaviours is to complete the MTR-i(TM) (Management Team Roles - indicator(TM)) instrument. This is completed by the individuals within the team, and it identifies the roles they are currently performing which can be aggregated to show the collective team behaviours.
Once the target and current behaviours have been identified, the team need to work out how to change their current behaviours to be more in line with the target. This involves assessing the behavioural gap and producing an action plan for the team to implement.