A team is a group of individuals – with different backgrounds, personalities and experiences – who have put all their qualities together in order to achieve a common goal.
The above definition of the word team can be applied across a number of everyday life activities, and not only sports. Here, we will be discussing the importance of teams and teamwork within the context of a profit-making organisation, from the point of view of employers and managers. The importance of, and the advantages that can be reaped from, having a good team can never be underestimated. This applies to any part of an organisation, whether administration such as sales, marketing and customer care, or production, logistics, management, board, etc. Try, for one second, to imagine a service provider such as ISP where the help desk and marketing department are not synchronised. The marketing department would issue special offers and aggressive campaigns to instigate an increase in sales, but when prospective customers call the help desk for more information, the latter are not aware of such a promotion.
Not only would prospective business be lost, but current clients would be so frustrated at not having a solid point of assistance, that they would take their business elsewhere. The consequences do not have to be described in detail. Loss of current or prospective business, bad image, frustrated customers and, just as important, frustrated employees.
The effects of doing it wrong
This is also a harmful consequence of not building good teams. Staff members, within a specific department, who are serious about their role and who sincerely want to deliver a good service to the company would be frustrated about their job and disappointed about their management and board of directors. This could entail a loss of valuable and productive personnel.
So how do you go about building a team?
The answer is not simple and the process not easy. However, there are various elements that, if properly applied and managed, can be of considerable assistance to any manager or director.
The first point of departure is the individual. Teams are composed of individuals, human beings, with different talents, knowledge, social backgrounds, experience and also different drawbacks, problems and shortcomings. Each individual member of this team has to be handled differently and separately, according to their human and professional characteristics. More importantly, some people might just not be adequate to work in an environment of teamwork. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Some staff members might be more suitable in an environment that promotes independent thinking and action.
Training and communication
Training and communication are of the utmost importance, and without these two elements, a team would just fall apart with the first obstacle they come across. As a director, you must put in simple and easily comprehended terms of the common objective of team. Whether it’s marketing and production related, whether it’s technical assistance or customer care, or cleaning the lobby of a hotel; each individual member has to fully appreciate the common goal. Of equal importance is that fact that, each individual member has to fully understand his/her specific role within the team.
Human resources management
From a Human Resources Management point of view, it is very important for an individual to, not only feel they are an important element within the chain of events, but also understand how important his/her role is in the achievement of the final objective. This should also lead to a consequent sense of responsibility with respect to their share of the job, and a sense of respect towards other team members and a sense of duty to their company and employers.
A team cannot function without a leader. Even within corporate environments where position does not mean lack of duties and where all employees are treated on the same level, a team without a leader has neither direction nor support. A leader is also the first point of communication with the board of directors, and the first point of reference for team members who are experiencing any type of difficulty, whether professionally or personally.
This appointed leader must have the respect of the rest of the team, and be trained in management and leadership. This respect does not automatically come with the position. It is gained through hard work and by setting an example to the rest of the team. The team has to look up to their leader, and s/he must be worthy of their respect and responsible of his/her position within the corporate ambience.
S/he must fully comprehend the objectives and wishes of the board of directors, the latter should give him/her their full and utter support. How can you find the human elements required that are adequate for such an environment of teamwork and close collaboration?
Well, first of all whoever is in charge of recruitment should be fully aware of two important issues. Firstly, the objectives and business ends of the board of directors, and secondly, the mission statement of the team. Without these two issues in full perspective the assignment is doomed to fail before it even starts.
Human resources consultancy
If you are going to look for outside help, such as a human resources consultancy or recruitment company, make sure the people you are talking to also understand the above-mentioned issues. They should have the necessary experience and knowledge of your objective.
Put any prospective candidates through thorough tests and interviews, with a view of establishing the contribution they will be able to give your business objectives and their place within your team. Set meetings between the department managers and the prospective candidate, if necessary. Make sure, that the people you hire, are ready to invest in their training and, hence, future career development. You cannot afford to hire staff who are not ready to grow with the company.
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