How Leaders Create Effective Teams

Teaming Has A Positive Effect On People’s Experience At Work.

Interacting directly with people who have different knowledge and skills makes work more interesting, enriching, and meaningful. In organizations where teaming is common, employees learn from each other, enjoy a broader understanding of the work and how it gets done from start to finish, and can better see and act on opportunities for improvement.

Teaming also benefits an organization by allowing people to combine their knowledge to create new products or implement new procedures. Through teaming, diverse employees representing different attitudes, values, and beliefs perform in an environment of mutual respect, shared knowledge and shared goals. Imagine all of this work occurring in iterative, self-regulating cycles of improvement and innovation that guarantee organizational success.

Leadership Actions Can Promote Teaming

Teaming and learning do not happen automatically. Instead, they require coordination and some structure to ensure that insights are gained from members’ collective experience and used to guide subsequent action.

It takes leadership to adhere to process discipline and to help people remember to explore and experiment. In short, leadership is needed to help groups build shared understanding and to coordinate action:

Action 1: Frame the situation for learning. Framing is crucial for leading the kind of change necessary to engage people as active learners. Leaders seeking to facilitate teaming and produce organizational learning must frame their project in a way that motivates others to collaborate.

Action 2: Make it psychologically safe to team. An environment of psychological safety is an essential element of organizations that succeed in today’s complex and uncertain world. The team psychological safety describes a climate in which people feel free to express relevant thoughts and feelings without fear of being penalized.

Action 3: Learn from failure. An essential, if difficult, teaming activity is learning from failure. Failure, broadly defined, encompasses both the small and large events in organizations that don’t go as planned.

Action 4: Span occupational and cultural boundaries. Teams that succeed today don’t merely work well around a shared conference table: they also have the ability to collaborate across boundaries and reach people who have the knowledge and information to help them apply resources effectively. Rapid developments in technology and the greater emphasis on globalization have dramatically increased the significance of boundary spanning in today’s work environment.

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