It sounds silly to treat teamwork like it’s Lego; however, effective teams can be built based on a few key building blocks. These building blocks are best described in Pac MacMillan’s (2001) ‘High Performance Team Model’. According to this model, the building blocks of a high performing team are: effective communication, common purpose, accepted leadership, effective processes and solid relationships. This article will take a look at why each of these blocks are significant to team success.
Effective communication is essential for team settings for multiple reasons. Firstly, it is required for healthy debate about topics so that more thorough options can be explored. Secondly, it assists in building the credibility of team members as everyone is able to better contribute towards the team project and understand the requirements of the tasks they are assigned. Finally, effective communication within a team assists prompt decision making so that projects can be completed quicker.
Having a common purpose in a team setting sets the scene for willful cooperation. In a study by Tarricone and Luca in 2002, it was found that having a team that was committed to common goals was essential in developing the accountability of team members as well as boosting their engagement in the project.
In organisational settings, sometimes teams are reluctant to assign a team project leader as team members like to feel equal. Sometimes personal motivations can be what comes in the way of this, such as a competitive work environment and desire to stand out to management. However, all personal motivations aside, accepted leadership is essential for team projects as it promotes project productivity, quick decisions, clear deadlines and healthy cooperation.
Effective processes lay out the method of cooperation in team settings. Different team projects may have different processes that are more effective; consequently, this is an important discussion for members to have at their first meeting. Processes may include the regularity of team meetings, how the team communicates with each other and shares information or how work is allocated and reviewed. By having clear processes suited to the specific project, there is less room for error and productivity is enhanced.
As much as we would love for all team members to have solid relationships with one another, this is not always achievable in workplace settings. As such, organisations are increasingly focusing on the ability of individuals to work in teams when making recruitment decisions through the usage of psychometric testing and values-based interviewing. By building a workforce that is able to effectively manage relationships in team environments, communication is strengthened, misunderstandings are reduced, conflict is prevented and team agility is enhanced.
So there we have the five key building blocks to high performing teams. Can you identify which one of these blocks may be preventing your team from reaching its full potential?