Friday, July 3, 2009

Laws of Teamworking

Many students end up fighting with each other because they did not do their work properly. And for those who are not professional, they will keep the grudge towards the leader and has revenge through bad-mouthing the leader. Whatever the circumstances, these situations can be avoided when the leader understands the laws of team working so that the subordinate will do the work properly the first time.

I know there are a lot of team working books and etc, but what I'm gonna share is the basic things that can help you a lot in avoiding conflicts with your team mates.

Have a common goal
If your team mates have no idea what you want to do, they cannot help you in the way you want. When they can understand or imagine what you want, they have a better picture of what you want and can do their work properly the first time. To do this you need to learn proper goal setting with all your team members. But if you are a president of a club I suggest starting the planning from the creating the vision/mission stage.

Make Your Instructions Specific
Have you heard the excuse "You didn't tell me ma..." That happens a lot, it happens when you forget to give a specific instruction or when your team mates takes advantage of it to cover him/herself. So be specific as possible, use examples, guidelines, draw it, list it, ask to refer to last year or whatever possible. As long as there is minimum possibility of the work being insufficiently explained. If your team does not do it's work properly then your team have to do the work again and again to satisfy you, and when that happens they will start to complain and you won't want that.I'm not saying your team cannot be trusted, but sometimes even with the best relationships in the team, miscommunication can happen and it will hurt team synergy. Never assume your team mates know exactly what you want.

Ever heard of your members complaining "I have done so much work...," That's BS. You're amount of work is only a lot to you and not to anyone else. State your objectives in measurable terms. Eg: Collecting RM100 donations for each person and etc. If it cannot be measured, list down the work needed to be done in advance so they would know what to expect. It's important that everybody know clearly how much work is enough and how much is not enouogh.

If you're not objective in evaluating their performance. They would not feel responsible. But what is most important is that when a conflict happens, you can easily refer to an agreed discussion earlier. This is where doing an expectation setiing is important. You can say "We agreed that everybody would collect minimum RM100 for each person, and there would be no excuse for it" A person who cannot agree with a previously made group decision is not a team player. After all, when team members know everybody is doing work, they wouldnt want to be the only one not doing work. Never assume that your team members are considerate enough to understand and accept each other's work load and responsibilty.

Responsibilty and Accountability
With a good planning and expectation setting, the team should know what they need to do as a team. The next step is too delegate the job to individuals or smaller groups. When the job delegated to each person is specific and objective they would know that they are responsible because they know that if they didnt do their work it would affect other members. If this does not make them feel responsible that means they are the scum of society and should be treated like dirt for being inconsiderate.

The team members would also feel accountable because the job has been specifically delegated to him/her. Giving theam little space for an excuse or doing a lowsy job without being known by other team members. Never assume your team mates will 100% do what they're suppsoed to.

Give a final deadline, as a leader you must think ahead and give deadline that has ample time for changes in case of any trouble. Pressuring your subordinates with the deadlines is not good considering we have exams and studies to do. It's better to break the work into smaller part and make deadlines for them. This reduces stress and allow a lot of space for bad things to happen. Never expect your team mates will come up with a perfect work at the final deadline. If your want a team member to do a video, split the work into smaller parts like drafting ideas, first draft and final product or something like that. At each of these parts give a deadline so you know what is going on. You dont want on the last possible day your team is doing something totally opposite from what you want. Never assume your team mates can follow your deadlines.

Of course, even when these laws are applied there are still a**holes who still do a lousy job, but these people cannot be helped. But these laws will help you to KEEP the people who CAN and WANT to help the project/activity, even the half-hearted, not-sincere, just-for-merit students would be able to stay with your team if you keep this up.

I suggest downloading this e-book about teamwork. Way better than my post. It's called 5 Dysfunctions of a Team:
Simple and easy to understand, but very effective and practical. Check it out.


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