There are a lot of misconceptions about why it matters for your corporation or organization to build great work teams. This likely stems from the misconceptions about what a great team is and what it does.
For example, a great team is not a group of people sitting around the corporate fire-pit after their shift has ended and singing Kumbaya. Not only would that be just silly, but it’s hard to expense the marshmallows.
Nor is a great team environment a place where every worker knows how to do the other worker’s job. That’s called cross-training and it is a whole different human resources challenge.
What a great team actually involves is a group of people working in synergy with each other. That is, together they are greater than the sum of their parts.
It’s a modern adaptation of the ancient proverb “two heads are better than one.”
It means that each team member brings a specific strength or depth of knowledge to the team that will allow them to find more than superficial solutions to their problems. Each team member complements the strength of the others, so over time the company grows stronger and more expansive because of the high caliber of insight and ideas its team members bring to the table.
And that is the number one reason why there is such a focus these days on building better teams.
But there are 7 other good reasons as well.
For example, it takes away the constraints of getting a job done right the first time. Instead of one person struggling alone, insecure about admitting that they don’t know something and wasting precious time trying to figure it out, team members share their roadblocks and work together to dismantle them.
A good team works as a group of equals, not a hierarchical structure, and for that reason it is often much more efficient. All the time goes to finding solutions and implementing them, not writing reports and explaining to top managers to gain permission to proceed.
Because of its efficiency, you don’t need as many structures of management, which saves money and makes for a leaner, more effective organization.
It also dissolves, one and for all, the historical roadblock to change that imprisoned so many firms as they tried to move into the digital age. No longer can an employee put a halt to progress on the grounds that “it’s not my job.”
Team members move fluidly into multidisciplinary roles, cutting across traditional fiefdoms and kingdoms and other artificial divides in the workplace. As a result, they can adapt much more easily to change then top-heavy bureaucracies popular in the past decades.
A great team is attractive to other organizations that must interact with your company, whether in the role of the customer or supplier. People at all levels of business appreciate efficiency and expertise, and it is a joy for outsiders to know such as accomplished team is looking after their needs.
People who work well together on teams develop an easy comradery and that reduces stress and employee burn-out.
Finally, a great working team that achieves success feels a great sense of achievement, and that is translated in ongoing motivation to move ahead into the next challenge.
Are there any downsides to building workplace teams?
All the efficiency and effectiveness of a team can halt if top management is inadequate about setting a clear intent for each project and ensuring that each team member knows what the goal is.
The goals need to be achievable and “smart” in the sense that they are spelled out with specific timelines and targets allocated.
There also has to be an effective way to assess the performance of each team in some cases, effective training and management on the methods of achieving team synergy.
Sometimes team members come together naturally and some may have work together on past projects and feel comfortable in the team environment. But for those workers who are used to working as loners or feel uncomfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, more training and guidance may be needed to build an effective team.