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How to Build Productive Teams at Work

Alliant International University
Published 05/08/2018
3 minutes read
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Almost every profession has activities, projects, and events that require team collaboration. There are several steps to take when building the most productive teams possible. To build a successful team, it is crucial to understand how organizational behavior can provide solutions to today’s problems in the workplace.

Structure

Teams must be well-organized to work most efficiently. The following guidelines should generally be established as soon as a team has been put together:

  • How often will the team meet? This will often be determined by how long the team will be together. Teams that will be working together for several months will likely only have to meet once a week. If goals need to be reached in a month or less, the team will likely need to meet more frequently.
  • Where will the team meet and does everyone need to be present at each meeting? If the team is large and different tasks are divided among the group, some team members may not have to be at every meeting.
  • Who will take notes? It's necessary for everyone to keep a record of each meeting. Assigning at least one note-taker for a meeting is essential.
  • How will the team members communicate? The team should decide if they'll primarily text e-mail, or use a combination of methods.

Psychological Safety

Every individual should feel free to express ideas without fear of ridicule or any type of retaliation. There should be guidelines in place for when disagreements occur in the workplace. It's imperative that team members refrain from personal attacks when disagreeing, as this behavior does nothing more than weaken morale. Psychological safety can sometimes be built by something as simple as having each team member share something others may not know. For long-term teams, forming a bond over activities conducted outside of the workplace is also a possibility.

Establish Realistic Goals

General goals that will help guide the team in their decision-making should be established early on. A few questions that should be answered when setting goals include the following:

  • What is the team striving to achieve?
  • What obstacles will the team encounter?
  • What resources will be needed to achieve the goals?
  • When is the deadline?

Establish a System for Feedback

It's critical to be able to provide feedback and evaluate how the team is progressing, so each team member should have the opportunity to evaluate what's working, what's not, and provide suggestions for how to improve the process. Allowing each team member to make one or two suggestions during each meeting will allow everyone a chance to speak while keeping the meetings as concise as possible.

You can build a productive and effective team by focusing on structure, psychological safety, realistic goals, and establishing feedback. It's important to be flexible throughout the process and willing to change how the team is operating in order to reach goals more effectively.

Want to learn more about how organizational behavior can provide solutions to common workplace problems? Then a career in the field of Organizational Psychology could be your calling. For more information contact Alliant International University.

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