We interact with people every single day, sharing tasks, objectives, resources, etc. Does this mean that we are working as a team?
A team is “a group of people working collaboratively with a common goal.” Each member should work with responsibility and the objectives are achieved only if everybody fulfills them. Thus, teamwork is based on complementary, coordination, communication, trust, and commitment.
Though experience, we have learned that to work as a “team” and not just as a “work-group,” it’s important to consider the following aspects:
When we speak about proactivity, we are referring to the full control that each member has over his/her own behavior, allowing him/her to develop creative actions for improvement, innovation, and assuming responsibility for “making things happen.” It is an active attitude in which you look for answers, create opportunities, generate solutions and modify processes to improve efficiency. Being proactive requires certain daily behaviors: initiative, resourcefulness, perseverance, cooperation, knowledge of process and resources, effective communication and flexibility. Personal and professional skills growth is therefore the result of proactivity.
Next, motivation is necessary to be proactive, and vice versa, proactive people feel more motivated. It is the set of emotions that generates positive energy for work. A person performs value-added work when he/she is highly motivated. It’s important that the team leader not be the only person responsible for motivation. Each person team member should contribute to motivation.
In turn, synergy plays a key role in teamwork, since it involves the cooperation of each participant, the mix of talents to pool knowledge, combining individual energies. Synergy does not mean the sum of individual efforts, but it means multiplying them. So trust and empathy play a critical role.
Empowerment occurs when individuals are given authority to “be masters of their own work.” Each person is encouraged to take ownership of what s/he is doing. It requires that individuals be committed and self-controlled, but empowerment is achieved when Power = Responsibility. Each person must accept responsibility for his/her actions. For this requires that the individuals have strong relationships, discipline and commitment.
Finally, communication is a key point. Promoting dialogue increases a team’s productivity. Members are more likely to look for and offer help, improve his/her level of self-criticism, recognize his/her weaknesses and maximize his/her areas of strength. Each member should have freedom of speech, should be able to express his/her own concerns and ideas without fear of being criticized.
To sum up, if we are proactive, we feel motivated, are empowered, have an effective communication and synergy exists, we not only will have a team, but will act as a high performance team.