Tips For Creating Better Teams To Get The Job Done

The biggest mistake people make when working in teams is thinking that everyone works just like they do, according to Gloria Petersen, a corporate speaker and trainer. “The most important thing to realize when working within a team is get to know each individual personality and accept that personality. People are different and they’ll think and respond differently.”

Accept Different Personalities

Personality differences need to be respected. For example, Susan’s personality is very spontaneous. She likes doing things on the fly, often at the last minute. It’s been her way of tackling a project since her college days when she’d stay up all hours of the night in order to turn in a project due the next day. Despite her last minute rush to get the work done, she usually earned an A.

Jim, her teammate, likes to do things methodically and well in advance of the due date. He plans out the job, makes a list, checks it twice and accomplishes each task in order. He is organized and knows where everything is. Because he is so organized, he has never pulled an all-nighter and doesn’t appreciate having to work late because someone else didn’t get their job completed on time.

Be Flexible

If these two people are going to work together as a team, they both have to respect the other person’s process. “I think that when people take the time to get to know how someone else processes information and how their personality works, they’ll know the framework from which to work,” advises Petersen, president of Chicago-based Global Protocol.

Avoid Conflicts

Another key piece of advice from Petersen is to not pit one team member against the others; leave backstabbing to the reality shows. “Just try to appreciate each other and not cut one another down because they didn’t do it your way.”

Be Kind

Finally, she suggests being simply kind and respectful.

Trade Places

Marion Luna Brem, president and CEO, Love Chrysler in Corpus Christi, Texas, has found that nothing works better for building teamwork than the company’s trading places team building program. Each week one person trades places with a member in another department.

Brem places seasoned employees into a rotation for job trading so they can see for themselves if, in fact, the grass is greener on the other side of the job. For example, a clerical person who complained that the finance managers weren’t completing their paperwork in time for her to meet her deadline, spent a day doing their job. “It helps make employees more sensitive,” says Brem, who is a motivational speaker and the author of The 7 Greatest Truths About Successful Women. “It is amazing to witness the appreciation for one another increase with each trade.”

Start at the Top

Teamwork needs to start at the top, advises Brem. “My organizational chart is not vertical. It is circular. I’m not reaching down to employees, but reaching out. Teamwork starts at the top.”