Characteristics of Successful Teams

A team can be said to be a group of people working together to achieve a goal. It can also be seen “as a limited number of people who have shared objectives at work and who co-operate, on a permanent or temporary basis, to achieve those objectives in a way that allows each individual to make a distinctive contribution”.

In order team to be effective, it should have certain characteristics, listed below

  • Sponsor: In order to have effective liaison with the quality council, there should be a sponsor. Preferably the sponsor is a member of the quality council, thereby providing organizational support.
  • Team Charter: A team charter is a document that defines the team’s mission, boundaries, the back ground of the problem, the team’s authority and duties and resources. It also identifies the members and their assign the roles-leader, recorder, timekeeper and facilitator. The sponsor and the team negotiate the charter.
  • Team composition : The size of the team rarely exceeds ten people except in the case of natural work teams or self directed teams. Larger teams have difficulty maintaining commitment, and interpersonal aspects become difficult to control. Teams should be diverse by having members with different skills, perspectives, and potential. Where appropriate internal and external customers and suppliers should be included.
  • Training: As the needed arises, members should be trained in problem solving techniques, team dynamics, and communication skills.
  • Ground rules: The team must develop its rules of operation and conduct. There should be open discussion on what will and will not be tolerated. Periodically the ground rules should be reviewed and revised when appropriate.
  • Clear objectives: Without clear objectives and goals, the team will have in difficulty. In addition, the criteria for success should be agreed on with management.
  • Accountability: The team is accountable to perform. Periodic status reports should be given to the quality council. In addition, the team should review its performance to determine possible team process weaknesses and make improvements.
  • Well-defined decision procedures: Effective, acceptable, and timely decisions have to be made by the team.
  • Resources: Not only is founding and employee release time for the project important, but also important is access to information. The team cannot be expected to perform successfully without the necessary tools.
  • Trust: Management trusts the team to perform the task effectively. There must also be trust among the members and a belief in each other.
  • Effective problem solving: Decisions are based on the problem solving method. They are not made on the hunches or quick fixes.
  • Open communication: Members actively listen, without interruption, to other members, speak with clarity and directness, ask questions and say what they mean.
  • Appropriate leadership: All teams need leadership-whether imposed by the quality council, or someone emerges as a leader figure as the life of the team progresses, or whether the leadership changes as leadership matures.
  • Balanced participation: All members must become involved in the team’s activities by voicing their opinions, lending their knowledge, and encouraging other members to take part.
  • Cohesiveness: Members should be comfortable working with each other and act as a single unit, not as individual or sub-groups.

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