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Research on teams confirms that discord within a team can take a toll on its members and the workplace environment. Team friction causes workers to experience stress, low job satisfaction and even physical ailments, such as insomnia. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the degree to which each individual works as a team player influences the morale of team members, departments and companies. When employees exhibit certain teamwork qualities, workers form positive relationships, employees become more enthusiastic about their work and morale is high.
Commitment to a Common Mission
When teams have a clearly defined mission, there is a noticeable absence of discord and strife, which might otherwise lead to an unpleasant work environment. Gathered around a common cause, team members freely discuss their reasons for being, which might cause others to commit or recommit to the team’s cause. The collective acceptance and understanding of the mission best ensures the coalition of team roles, collaborative teamwork and team output that’s appropriately aligned with the aims of the team.
Pursuit of Well-Defined Performance Goals
Defining performance goals gives employees a glimpse of what success looks like. Research by Dr. Gail Matthews, psychology professor at Dominican University, suggests that sharing goals with team members and providing regular progress updates improves the team’s chance of achieving their objectives 33 percent. In turn, the achievement of important goals is important to a worker’s psychological well-being, according to Dr. Timothy Pychyl of Carleton University of Ottawa. The more progress people make toward their goals, the happier and more satisfied they become and the more their attitudes contribute to a pleasant working environment.
Awareness of Group Processes
Well-functioning teams organize processes in a way that best supports the accomplishment of group objectives. The team’s efforts to explain particular agreed-to approaches to work, including norms, rules and expectations, eliminate ambiguity that can lead to team member anxiety and a negative work environment. Consistent and respectful team member behavior creates a supportive environment in which teams perform well.
Creation of Collaborative Climate
Trust, the result of respectful and honest behavior by team members, contributes to a positive workplace and good team performance. In a high performing collaborative team, trusted group members are encouraged to participate in discussions and listen to the opinions of others. Such teams consist of skilled and tactful communicators, who value the opinions of their fellow team members who willingly contribute to conversations. In these collaborative environments, disagreements are allowed, rather than discouraged, and reasons for team members' opinions are evaluated before the group seeks a consensus.
- Parris, Wolfe and Associates: Effects of Discord in the Organizational Structure
- Stanford University: Characteristics of Effective Teams
- Dominican University of California: Study Backs Up Strategies for Achieving Goals
- Psychology Today: Goal Progress and Happiness
- TLNT: Demand Straight Talk – Ambiguity Causes Workplace Anger and Anxiety
- Drexel University Libraries: What is Teamwork? Characteristics of Effective Teams
- Psychology Today: Characteristics of Good work Team Members
Billie Nordmeyer works as a consultant advising small businesses and Fortune 500 companies on performance improvement initiatives, as well as SAP software selection and implementation. During her career, she has published business and technology-based articles and texts. Nordmeyer holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting, a Master of Arts in international management and a Master of Business Administration in finance.
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