"Teamwork: Simply stated, it is less me and more we." -unknown
Teamwork implies an ability to get along with others, work collaboratively, build trust, be dependable, and offer support. This 21st century work skill is at the top of skills required by today's employers. Did You Know? In today's densely interconnected workplaces, working with others — closely, creatively, globally, and productively — drives organizational and personal effectiveness. Whether working virtually or face-to-face, today’s employees must possess the skills needed to work well on teams. Employers want people who embrace team concepts and can make team results happen. According to a survey reported in How Should Colleges Prepare Students to Succeed in Today’s Global Economy, 82% of employers say colleges and universities should place more emphasis on teamwork skills and the ability to collaborate with others in diverse group settings. During this activity you will be introduced to Bruce Tuckman’s Developmental Phases most teams pass through – forming, storming, norming, and performing. Understanding more about team dynamics will give you an advantage as you set out to find jobs in today’s highly collaborative workplace environment. During this activity you will be watching video, reading, and taking personal inventory on teamwork skills. In order to earn credit for this activity you will need to complete the Teamwork Worksheet at the conclusion of the activity. You will find a link at the very bottom of this page that will take you to the Teamwork Worksheet.
Simply follow the 8 steps to successfully complete the activity.
Teamwork implies an ability to get along with others, work collaboratively, build trust, be dependable, and offer support. This 21st century work skill is at the top of skills required by today's employers.
Did You Know? In today's densely interconnected workplaces, working with others — closely, creatively, globally, and productively — drives organizational and personal effectiveness. Whether working virtually or face-to-face, today’s employees must possess the skills needed to work well on teams. Employers want people who embrace team concepts and can make team results happen. According to a survey reported in How Should Colleges Prepare Students to Succeed in Today’s Global Economy, 82% of employers say colleges and universities should place more emphasis on teamwork skills and the ability to collaborate with others in diverse group settings.
During this activity you will be introduced to Bruce Tuckman’s Developmental Phases most teams pass through – forming, storming, norming, and performing. Understanding more about team dynamics will give you an advantage as you set out to find jobs in today’s highly collaborative workplace environment.
During this activity you will be watching video, reading, and taking personal inventory on teamwork skills.
In order to earn credit for this activity you will need to complete the Teamwork Worksheet at the conclusion of the activity. You will find a link at the very bottom of this page that will take you to the Teamwork Worksheet.
Getting your arms around what it takes to work on a team takes some thought. Perhaps you have never learned how to effectively work on a team and therefore, feel a disadvantage when you work in a collaborative environment.
Perhaps you strongly prefer to work alone. Take this short Team Player Assessment. Please select the link below and you will be sent to the University of Kent's Career Site. There you will need to complete the 28 question quiz regarding what role you play on a team.
Team Player Asssessment
A good team needs to have diverse players. Each player brings his/her unique ideas and perspective to a team, to help the team solve problems and reach it's goals. In addition, different team members play different roles on a team. The Team Roles Preferences Scale estimates the role you prefer when you participate in team activities. The instrument calculates your preferences based on five team roles: encourager, gatekeeper, harmonizer, initiator, and summarizer. Complete the Team Role Preference exercise. At the conclusion of the activity you will be asked to summarize of why you agree or disagree with the role predictions.
Now that you have completed your Teamwork Skills Assessment and assessed what role you prefer on a team, review what employers have determined as the ten qualities of a good team player.
Ten Qualities of an Effective Team Player
If you were choosing team members for a business team in your organization, who would the best team players be? Assuming that people have the right technical skills for the work to be done, what other factors would you use to select your team members?
Teams need strong team players to perform well. But what defines such people? Read on.
1. DEMONSTRATES RELIABILITY
You can count on a reliable team member who gets work done and does his fair share to work hard and meet commitments. He or she follows through on assignments. Consistency is key. You can count on him or her to deliver good performance all the time, not just some of the time.
2. COMMUNICATES CONSTRUCTIVELY
Teams need people who speak up and express their thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others and for the work of the team. That's what it means to communicate constructively. Such a team member does not shy away from making a point but makes it in the best way possible — in a positive, confident, and respectful manner.
3. LISTENS ACTIVELY
Good listeners are essential for teams to function effectively. Teams need team players who can absorb, understand, and consider ideas and points of view from other people without debating and arguing every point. Such a team member also can receive criticism without reacting defensively. Most important, for effective communication and problem solving, team members need the discipline to listen first and speak second so that meaningful dialogue results.
4. FUNCTIONS AS AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT
Good team players are active participants. They come prepared for team meetings and listen and speak up in discussions. They're fully engaged in the work of the team and do not sit passively on the sidelines.
Team members who function as active participants take the initiative to help make things happen, and they volunteer for assignments. Their whole approach is can-do: "What contribution can I make to help the team achieve success?"
5. SHARES OPENLY AND WILLINGLY
Good team players share. They're willing to share information, knowledge, and experience. They take the initiative to keep other team members informed.
Much of the communication within teams takes place informally. Beyond discussion at organized meetings, team members need to feel comfortable talking with one another and passing along important news and information day-to-day. Good team players are active in this informal sharing. They keep other team members in the loop with information and expertise that helps get the job done and prevents surprises.
6. COOPERATES AND PITCHES IN TO HELP
Cooperation is the act of working with others and acting together to accomplish a job. Effective team players work this way by second nature. Good team players, despite differences they may have with other team members concerning style and perspective, figure out ways to work together to solve problems and get work done. They respond to requests for assistance and take the initiative to offer help.
7. EXHIBITS FLEXIBILITY
Teams often deal with changing conditions — and often create changes themselves. Good team players roll with the punches; they adapt to ever-changing situations. They don't complain or get stressed out because something new is being tried or some new direction is being set.
In addition, a flexible team member can consider different points of views and compromise when needed. He or she doesn't hold rigidly to a point of view and argue it to death, especially when the team needs to move forward to make a decision or get something done. Strong team players are firm in their thoughts yet open to what others have to offer — flexibility at its best.
8. SHOWS COMMITMENT TO THE TEAM
Strong team players care about their work, the team, and the team's work. They show up every day with this care and commitment up front. They want to give a good effort, and they want other team members to do the same.
9. WORKS AS A PROBLEM-SOLVER
Teams, of course, deal with problems. Sometimes, it appears, that's the whole reason why a team is created — to address problems. Good team players are willing to deal with all kinds of problems in a solutions-oriented manner. They're problem-solvers, not problem-dwellers, problem-blamers, or problem-avoiders. They don't simply rehash a problem the way problem-dwellers do. They don't look for others to fault, as the blamers do. And they don't put off dealing with issues, the way avoiders do.
Team players get problems out in the open for discussion and then collaborate with others to find solutions and form action plans.
10. TREATS OTHERS IN A RESPECTFUL AND SUPPORTIVE MANNER
Team players treat fellow team members with courtesy and consideration — not just some of the time but consistently. In addition, they show understanding and the appropriate support of other team members to help get the job done. They don't place conditions on when they'll provide assistance, when they'll choose to listen, and when they'll share information. Good team players also have a sense of humor and know how to have fun (and all teams can use a bit of both), but they don't have fun at someone else's expense. Quite simply, effective team players deal with other people in a professional manner.
Team players who show commitment don't come in any particular style or personality. They don't need to be rah-rah, cheerleader types. In fact, they may even be soft-spoken, but they aren't passive. They care about what the team is doing and they contribute to its success — without needing a push.
Team players with commitment look beyond their own piece of the work and care about the team's overall work. In the end, their commitment is about winning — not in the sports sense of beating your opponent but about seeing the team succeed and knowing they have contributed to this success. Winning as a team is one of the great motivators of employee performance. Good team players have and show this motivation.
Before reviewing steps on being a quality Leader of a team, please review Bruce Tuckman's model for Group Development. It's very valuable as not only the leader but as a team member to have a sense of how successful groups work.
"The basic building block of good teambuilding is for a leader to promote the feeling that every human being is unique and adds value."-unknown
During this next section of the activity, you will put on the team leader cap. The following video clip discusses what skills it takes to be a successful team leader.
What does Steve Young have to say about teamwork? On or off the field, in or out of the office, wherever you choose to work, you are going to need good soft skills to get those really good jobs. Teamwork skills top the list of important soft skills. Steve Young, football hall of famer, recognizes the importance of being a team player and the value of soft skills. He was so successful because he learned to assess a situation through the perspective of his teammates and to understand their personal incentives. Young was able to inspire them individually and improve their communication and coordination on the field. Listen to what Young has to say in this University of Stanford video clip.
Steve Young Video Clip
Just one difficult personality in a group can make the group unproductive and the teamwork experience unpleasant. Here are some suggestions for resolving problems.
How the Person Acts
What to Do
This person is usually one of four types: (a) an "eager beaver"; (b) a show-off; (c) very well-informed and anxious to show it; (d) unable to read the responses of others and use the feedback to monitor his/her own behavior.
Sometimes humor can be used to discourage people from dominating the discussion; be sure when the person stops talking to direct the conversation to another person. If the person's behavior can't be changed subtly, one member of the group should speak to the person privately and explain that while his/her enthusiasm is appreciated, it's only fair that every person gets an equal amount of air time.
The quiet person may be shy, bored, tired, unsure of himself/herself, uninvolved in the group.
Make a special effort to draw this person out: ask for his/her opinion on something; as him/her something about himself/herself; tell the person you appreciate his/her participation.
Is the person critical of ideas, the group process, or other group members?
If the person is critical of ideas, use that response to test the work the group is doing--the person may be providing good feedback. If he/she is critical of others tell him/her how the effect that is having on both the team or individual team members. Be explicit about the fact that his/her behavior is detrimental to the goals of the team.
The person may have a pet peeve, or may complain for the sake of complaining.
Listen to the person's complaint; if it is legitimate, set aside group time to solve the problem. Point out that part of your work this semester is to learn how to solve problems. Ask the person to join with you to improve whatever is disturbing him/her.
Besides problems with individual team members, the team as a whole may run into some difficulties. Here are some suggestions for dealing wit teams that aren't functioning properly.
Groups are often not as productive as they could be especially when people are just getting to know one another and how each person works. Drawing up a list of tasks to be accomplished can help. So can saying something like: "What do we need in order to move forward?" or "Let's see if we can come to an agreement about what we're trying to accomplish."
Going Off on Digressions and Tangents
Group members may get caught up in chatting about things not central to the work at hand. A little of this can be O.K. because it helps to put people in contact with one another. But if that kind of conversation continues to dominate the group, it can be detrimental to progress. Things to say include: "Can we go back to where we were a few minutes ago and see what we were trying to do?"
Making a Decision Too Quickly
Sometimes there is one person in the group who is less patient and more action-oriented than other group members. This person may reach a decision more quickly that others and pressure people to move on before it is a good idea to do so. Someone could say:
"Are we all ready to make a decision on this?"
"What needs to be done on this before we can move ahead?"
"Let's check and see where everyone stands on this."
Not Making a Decision
The best way to make a decision is by consensus with all team members agreeing on the decision together. As you are discussing various ideas, try to be open to what each person is saying. Remember you are trying to come to the best decision for the group as a whole, not for any one person.
Feuding Between Group Members
A conflict--either related to a work project or to something outside of the group--can erupt and impede the group's progress. Usually, nothing can be accomplished until the conflict is resolved. If that is the case, the parties need to discuss the problem, using the listening techniques that have been discussed.
Ignoring or Ridiculing Others
Subgroups or factions can form in groups with one or more people excluded. Sometimes the people who are outside of the "in" group will be the subject to criticism or ridicule. Knowing how to work with people we're not necessarily comfortable with is an ability that will serve you well in the work world. Each group member must make every effort to work with every other group member.
The Group Member Who Does Not Do His/Her Share of the Work
A group member may be unwilling to cooperate with others, may not complete assigned tasks, or may not come to meetings. You should talk directly with the person to tell him/her the effect his/her actions are having on the group.
Thank you for participating the Workplace Teamwork Activity. Please complete the Teamwork Activity Form to earn your 1 hour of activity credit.
"A team is more than a collection of people. It is a process of give and take." -Barbara Glacel & Emile Robert Jr.
CATE: Computer-Assisted Teaching Environment
Distance Education office at Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa, CA USA
Last updated: 15:00 on 22 October 2012
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