“A team is a unit of two or more people who interact and coordinate their work to accomplish a specific goal” (Metreveli & Kajaia, 2015). Creating a successful team can be a challenging task. However, building teams and team working has many advantages.
Team members share their skills and knowledge which encourages exchanging ideas, creativity, and motivation to achieve a common goal. Teamwork will improve the organization productivity, communication, quality and the satisfaction of customers by providing them with products or services (The Open University, 2011). However, to adapt to supportive working conditions, team members must be flexible and should understand that accomplishing a common goal and a clear purpose is achieved through teamwork (Luca & Tarricone, 2001). A team is like a system in a way, it consists of three stages inputs, throughputs and outputs. Inputs can be time, people, skills, at the input stage there are two important factors, communication climate and group configuration which is controlled by management.
The communication climate is basically the environment where the team works, and group configuration is how the team is selected. To have an effective team, team members should be suitable to the task by having different skills and knowledge. Management must make sure that the team strategy must work with the organization vision and values as well as its practices. Throughputs such as the team processes, cohesiveness, communication, decision-making and task activities will help to transform the inputs to satisfactory outputs.
Such throughputs will make team members feels like a family with a shared goal and will motivate them to work effectively by giving them feelings of belongingness and commitment to the team. Throughputs also includes the activities that will help the team through their decision making by getting the work done and function efficiently. The last stage is the outputs which are the results that satisfy the common goal the team is trying to accomplish. Such outcomes include not only the task performance of the team but also individual outputs which will be evaluated by the organization and the team members as well as other stakeholders.
Such system will determine the advantages that teamwork will have to the organization. A key important issue to managers is to ensure that a team is well put together, and the organization must cultivate a culture to support teamwork (The Open University). Many studies have shown that there are several attributes for building a successful team.
The attributes needed to have a successful and effective teamwork are, commitment to team success and shared goals, interdependence, interpersonal skills, open communication and positive feedback, appropriate team composition and commitment to team processes, leadership and accountability (Tarricone & Luca, 2002). Team members having the combination of understanding their purpose and shared goals will achieve the task (Francis & Young, 1979), and having similarities in goals and interests will make team members enjoy regular interaction with each other. Also, working in teams provides each member with prestige and recognition, (Scarnati, 2001), and such recognition will motivate teams to succeed. The team environment and atmosphere are an important factor for successful teamwork it should be informal, relaxed, comfortable and non-judgmental (Harris & Harris, 1996). Interdependence is a key attribute for successful teamwork. An individual in a team can’t succeed unless all members of the team succeed, and team members work together to achieve the task given and encourage the success of one another.
They also learn together as a team, so they can perform better as individuals later (Smith, 1996). The effectiveness of working together as a team will deliver more than individuals who work separately, and through synergy, team members build on the skills and abilities of each other (Francis ; Young, 1979). When working in teams, team members benefit from a broad range of skills and ideas and are empowered to achieve tasks that are not available for individuals working alone (Scarnati, 2001). Another attribute for successful teamwork is interpersonal skills.
Team members must trust, respect and care for each other, and feelings must be articulated and expressed freely (Critchley ; Casey, 1986). Also, cultivating a caring work atmosphere is important to have an effective and successful team. Communication and feedback are very important for effective teamwork. Feedback should be given and accepted in a non-defensive manner, and such communication allows and empowers team members to express the team feelings and teams should have a spirit of positive and constructive criticism and authentic feedback that is non-evaluative (Harris ; Harris, 1996). Team members must be honest, truthful and open and take into consideration all feelings and ideas of members of the team and deal with conflict and work as a group through it (Critchley ; Casey, 1986). A team should include members with different skills and knowledge that each member can share, while keeping an open, respectful communication and avoiding threatening communication. A successful team is a product of appropriate team composition (Bradley ; Fredric, 1997), which is another attribute for a successful team. Each member of a team should understand their role and what are expected from them.
Member roles and responsibilities should be clearly clarified. Each member in a team should be responsible for their role and involvement to the team. They should create methods and approaches that helps achieve the goal and divide the work equally and fairly among team members.
Also, team members should be open and accept any change that happen, try to be innovative and creative and try to solve problems together as a team (Harris ; Harris, 1996). Each member should accept individual responsibilities and be accountable for their part of the work (Smith, 1996). To have a successful team effective leadership is important (Bradley ; Fredric, 1997). Leaders of teams should monitor and examine the team progress and do post-project analyses to figure out what helped and what didn’t to achieve the give task (Johnson, Heimann, & O’Neill, 2000).
Such activities show how commitment to team processes, leadership and accountability is an important attribute for successful teamwork. Building a successful team is a process that needs continuous attention. Reminding team members of the team goals and the clear purpose will motivate team members to do it best and be effective in accomplishing the goal. Having a loyal and respectful working environment helps to build a successful team, where team members can trust their teammates to rely on them. Also, any team needs to be able to recognize problems, and discuss among each other what is working and what is not and give and accept feedback in a respectful manner and work together to correct mistakes that are done.
Being a member in a successful team can be a memorable and unforgettable experience. When a team is successful and accomplished the goal given, each member will know that he/she is part of something big and will be motivated for future goals (Metreveli ; Kajaia, 2015).