team work diverseRecently, I was fairly busy ? I was totally preoccupied with conducting workshops and trainings for various groups and teaching (Uni students). I hope that now I will be able to write more regularly. Since last I wrote about the positive communication in the company, this time I decided to bring about teamwork ? in a positive way of course. There is a common belief that the team knows more than a simple summing of people?s potentials that is building it. This phenomenon has been called synergy and relies on perfect matching of roles, i.e. people with specific mental abilities, behavior and reactions, as well as on creating the right conditions, so such selected people could work together effectively. This belief reinforces the current enthusiasm for teamwork in companies. But, it?s not enough to hire competent employees and commission them a suitable project that teamwork was effective. J. Richardson and M. West have created a list of five activities which should be undertaken by the manager that the project, on which the team is working, was successful.   Firstly, the manager should provide his team inspiring job to do. Team with significant vision that harmonizes with the overall objective is predisposed to development and growth. The foundation of this vision should also be a small amount – 4 to 5 common and challenging goals that are understood and assimilated by each team member.   Secondly, the manager should positively estimate the diversity of the team. The diversity refers to the differences between individuals in terms of experience, competence and suitability of intellectual and personality. Practice shows that the synergistic effect of diversity on creativity and team effectiveness is overwhelming. However, to obtain the benefits of the various groups requires considerable psychological work of the manager. The most important issue is the selection of people that they have the appropriate skills needed to accomplish their tasks. What’s more, the team should be sufficiently varied to produce alternative approaches to common tasks. Research has shown, for example, that demographically diverse teams are more creative in terms of decision-making. In addition, managers should try to create a climate in the team, which supports diversity. The thus-formed team will be able to a greater extent to meet the diverse needs of its customers.   Thirdly, the task of the manager is also to ensure clear and developmental roles in the team. When each member has a role that is clear, distinctive and understood by others, they are able to regularly check and negotiate who should take care of what in the framework of teamwork. This in turn ensures that the individual subtasks necessary to achieve the common goal will be performed and provides opportunities for individual growth and development. Professional roles that promote personal development are a source of positive emotions and a greater involvement in the execution of tasks.   Fourthly, the manager should foster positive relationships in the team. Successful relationships based on mutual respect and trust are the source of health and a sense of psychological well-being for the members of the team. And these negative, based on mutual hostility, can act like a virus to the human immune system. According to American researchers R. Baumeister and M. Leary, to satisfy the human need of belonging, interpersonal relations should demonstrate the following characteristics:
  • There should be frequent interaction between several people – even the most intimate relationships are not satisfactory, if they lack regular access;
  • The relationships with others should be characterized by stability and the likelihood of time to continue – teams that remain intact for a long time benefit of familiarity and sense of security experienced by its members;
  • The relationship should be free of chronic conflicts – misunderstandings are inevitable and often developmental for the team, but only when the process of solving them does not undermine the sense of belonging to the team;
  • The relationships with others should be characterized by mutual emotional care – team members should have a feeling that they both give and receive positive message from each other.
  Fifthly, the manager should develop a sense of connectedness between team members. Healthy relationships in a team are characterized by a friendly, accepting and interpersonal approach to each other as well as mutual respect, mindfulness of the needs of others and a genuine interest in the other person’s well-being. If such relationships could be developed, the manager should work on a strong identification of individual team members to the organization and their loyalty, as well as provide them with common goals. Also early successes can quickly build bridges between people.   Based on: Richardson J., West M. A. (2010). Dream Teams: A Positive Psychology of Team Working, w: P. A. Lindley, S. Harrington, N. Garcea (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work. Oxford University Press.

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