How to Work Successfully As a Team

Written by gabriel peters
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How to Work Successfully As a Team
Puting heads together to overcome opposition (team spirit image by mark smith from

A team consists of members who collaborate and cooperate for a common purpose, according to Gary Pollice, who teaches software engineering, design, testing and other computer science courses at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. Working together as a team requires that members use their different abilities, skills and mindsets for the good of the team. Following team-building guidelines can help members understand their roles and contribute to the overall success of a team.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Define clear goals for the team. Put the goals in writing. Allow team members to develop solutions for fulfilling the goal. Give members real responsibility to breed a sense of belonging. Provide ways for members to hold one another accountable for their roles.

  2. 2

    Set limits for the two resources needed to accomplish the goal: time and money.

  3. 3

    Appoint a leader from within the team; go for a person with leadership experience.

  4. 4

    Promote harmonious relationships between members. Diverse backgrounds sometimes present a challenge to teamwork. Train members in communication skills and the art of listening to accommodate the diverse personalities. Encourage strong members to complement the efforts of weaker members. Build trust within the team through social activities such as having meals together, playing either indoor or outdoor games and touring places of interest. Develop a code of ethics to assist in the resolution of conflict between members.

  5. 5

    Allow team members to choose their tasks and roles. Ensure complete clarity on individual responsibilities, and avoid overlapping of delegated duties. Encourage creative problem-solving methods and new ideas. Discourage competing interests between members, cultivating a culture of collaboration for the success of the team.

  6. 6

    Invite like-minded persons to join the team, even as substitutes. Invite talent that complements other team members. Delegate mentors for new members to assist in orientation.

  7. 7

    Put in place metrics to evaluate team and individual progress. Let members decide on the measurement mode and time span. Create a fund to reward outstanding performance. Avoid making awards a routine: You want your team to view awards as a motivator for hard work.

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