The best-run corporations today have distinctive cultures that enable them to create, implement, and maintain their leadership positions. In these corporations:
- Improving quality, innovating, and valuing long-term rather than short-term objectives are crucial and digitalization is inevitable
- There is a clearly identified goal to build a viable organization that stands for a purpose
- Human resources’ critical importance is recognized
- Managers are facilitators or guides rather than a central force of control
- The organizational culture supports team-based efforts
Teamwork is most likely to develop when management builds an environment that supports it. However, merely organizing teams in a corporate setting does not guarantee high-quality performance. Rather, managers must consciously work on building effective and high-performing teams. Those teams possess the following characteristics:
- Clear goals: High-performing teams have both a clear understanding of their goal and a belief that achieving it will produce an important result. They understand how they will work together to achieve the goal.
- Relevant skills: Effective teams are composed of competent individuals. Their members possess both technical and interpersonal skills.
- Mutual trust: Effective teams are characterized by high mutual trust. Members believe in one another’s integrity, character, and ability. The climate of trust tends to be strongly influenced by the organization’s culture and management’s actions. Organizations that value openness, honesty, and collaborative processes and encourage employee involvement and autonomy are more likely to create trusting cultures.
- Unified commitment: Members exhibit intense loyalty to the team. They are willing to do anything that has to be done to help their team succeed. They consider their team a source of professional and personal growth.
- Good communication: Team members continually try to listen and show interest in what others say and feel. Good communication is also characterized by continuous feedback from team members and managers. Feedback helps guide team members and correct misunderstandings.
- Negotiating skills: Effective teams tend to be flexible and able to make adjustments when needed. This requires team members to have effective negotiating skills. Problems and relationships regularly change, requiring members to deal with their differences.
- Conflict management: Effective teams are willing to surface and address conflict until it is resolved or managed effectively.
- Internal and external support: A supportive climate includes proper training, a simple and clear performance measurement system, an incentive program that recognizes and rewards team activities, and a supportive human resources system. The infrastructure should support members and reinforce behaviors that lead to high levels of performance. Externally, management should provide the team with the resources needed to get the job done.
- Leadership: Effective leaders can motivate a team to follow them through difficult situations. They help clarify goals and increase team members’ self-confidence to help them realize their potential. The best leaders are not directive nor controlling.
- Company culture: The corporate culture influences team effectiveness. Cultures that favor innovation or incorporate shared expectations of success may foster team effectiveness.
Business organizations are undergoing significant and rapid changes. Their hierarchies are flattening, and leaders must manage more teams than ever. Thus, creating a corporate culture that encourages strong teamwork and collaboration becomes essential in today’s organizations.
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