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What Makes an Effective Team In A Workplace

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

by Ika Sulastri. |

If I asked you what makes an effective team, what would you have in mind? Most would imagine having a group of individuals with high IQ level and top performers that would equal to an effective team.

In the book Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg, he concluded that having a group consisting of only the top players in the field won’t guarantee an effective team because not everyone can be a team player or a leader. The effectiveness of the team does not depend on the past performance of the team members but also how they work with the right mindset and attitude.

So, what does it actually take to work and make an effective team?

Here are some insights to nurture to have an effective team in your workplace.

1. Each member needs to have clear goals and defined roles.

Some people can be very excellent at doing day-to-day tasks at work, but if they don’t have clear goals on where they are heading, their effectiveness as a team will suffer because they don't know the intention and purpose behind their role. Team members need to be aware of the goals and have a defined role in any project. Thus, team leaders need to be clear with the team members of where they are heading towards and the tasks assigned should also amplify the strength of each team members. And only then that the work done can beneficial for one another as each one of the team members would have a clearer overview in taking action to contribute to the success of the project.

2. Everyone needs to know that their work is important.

Being aware of the goals is not enough—everyone needs to know that their role is important to have a complete team. Nothing is more discouraging than knowing that your effort contributes to nothing. Take a moment to acknowledge the work being put in by everyone in the team from time to time. Verbally address to acknowledge the effort by all the team members that are contributing well to the success of the project. Anyone that feels appreciative of their work will be motivated to perform better for the sake of the team and their own personal career growth.

3. Team members need to know that they can depend on one another.

Working on a project can be dire at some point—with deadlines approaching and all. With this situation, this is more of a reason to show support to one another. It can either be emotional support if someone is feeling stressed out, encountering a problem or asking your team members if they would need any help to ease their workload if you have the capacity to.

However, this does not warrant any advantage taken from one another—for example, asking your colleague to do your task for you just because you're lazy—that is a no-no. It should be obstacles in any situations that requires support. The small act of showing care and empathy towards one another will boost the effectiveness of the team in the long run.

4. The team need to have psychological safety.

Psychological safety is a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up. It describes as a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.

- Charles Duhigg

Everyone in a team should feel accepted and respected. Any ideas being thrown out by any team members in the meeting should be respected, despite how ridiculous it may sound. Most of the time, the wildest idea is the one that usually hits the breakthrough. Therefore, as a team, everyone should know that everybody’s opinion matters—everyone should be comfortable voicing out their opinion.

Does your team exhibit all of these? Take some time to observe the atmosphere of the group setting now and see what you can influence as a team member or team leader. If not, perhaps it could be time to set up a meeting with your team members or employees to restructure.

You may found out more about Ika on her Instagram too.

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