When building new teams, human resource officers often concentrate on recruiting the most qualified candidates in terms of knowledge, experience and organizational fit (Parker 20). Aptitude tests are often administered in the early stages of the interview process in order to identify and select the smartest applicants or most knowledgeable applicants. Employees must definitely have the right knowledge and skills in order to perform their duties effectively. However, without, the right attitude, aptitude may not account for much (Parker 27).
According to Buttefield (50), attitude can be described as a commitment to individual and collective goals, the inspiration to perform the duties necessitated by the goals and the courage to overcome resultant challenges. A positive team attitude produces high levels of efficiency, a sense of belonging and collective vision for future performances (Butterfield 54; Parker 31). An unskilled individual with the right attitude is more productive and valuable to an organization than a highly qualified de-motivated individual. The team with the right attitude will be motivated to use their knowledge and skills to solve work related problems by making decisions that promote the achievement of the set goals and targets.
Team identity is equally important requirement for a successful team. Teams are composed of individuals with various competencies who may or may not know each other. Each new team has has different dynamics that require new team identities. To define team identities, team leaders must clarify the team purpose and encourage collaboration between the members to achieve team goals (Buttefield 66). Team identity is enhanced by a clear team vision, simplified team procedures, defined individual authority and established procedures for solving team conflict promptly and fairly (Butterfield 67).
Teams are created for a specific purpose or project. The composition and membership to the team is concomitant to the individual’s qualification to perform one or several roles identified within the team (Parker 23). Team members should not be allowed to select their own roles because the team leaders should assign these roles according to individual competence. Team roles should be assigned by the team leader in order to establish order within the team (Butterfield 31; Parker 25). This is not to say that team member should not be involved in the identification of team roles. Team members should be involved so that they can develop a sense of ownership of the available roles and their responsibility to fulfill their duties. In situations where the roles are dynamic and vertically integrated, team members can rotate the responsibility as long as the team leadership is maintained (Butterfield 73).
Organizational reward systems primarily award individuals for measured individual effort. Appraisals and promotions are given to individuals making individuals ambitious even within teams. This means that teams are made up of individuals aggressively pursuing personal goals without regard of the overall team goals. Team leaders have the tough challenge of creating cohesion and unity of ambition within teams. Parker (62) advises that the best way to develop competent teams is by building relationships within the team. First, team leaders can begin by involving all team members in decision making. For example, team members can begin by assigning each other titles or code names that will apply within the team to create familiarity. Secondly, team members can create and maintain clear communication channels. This will reduce conflict and allow the team to execute their mandate smoothly. Effective communication reduces errors, builds reliability and reduces misunderstandings. Lastly, Team members can participate in team building activities such as sports, conferences and other capacity building activities. Team members can take time away from the formal work environment to celebrate goal achievement.
Butterfield, Jeff. Teamwork and Team Building: Soft Skills for a Digital Workplace. Boston: Course Technology/Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Parker, Glenn M. Successful Team Building: 20 Tips, Tools, and Exercises. Amherst, Mass: HRD Press, 2010. Internet resource.