Team work is good fun, because, it is really the power of synergy that works. Two plus two is no longer four. The total effort of the group is larger than the sum of the individual efforts. In other words, you can safely ignore mathematics when it comes to team work, for two plus two is more than just four!
So, how should one works in a team and get the best of each of the team members and of the group in its totality? It is good to be a team player. And, you can help motivate your team members too to be team players. Let’s discover how you can actually do that.
There are many teams you are part of
You are a member of many teams. If you are part of any group that has common goals and shared interests and has some common terms of reference, you are part of a team. So, are you not part of many a team?
You are first of all a member of your family that may be seen as a team. Your family works together to achieve the goals of each of the family members. Isn’t it? So, your family is itself a team. A team is not determined by its size. A family of three members or of four members or then of eighteen members as in a joint family are all teams.
If you are at school or college you are in a certain class and in a particular section or stream or course. So, you are once again a part of that team. Then you may participate in extra-curricular activities like sports, arts, dance or music. You are thus again part of a team. If you work in an office you are in a particular department. Or you are in a particular section of your office.
If you are a member of a club or any other social, cultural or political organization or society or association, then too you are part of a group that shares common interests. So, you are again part of a team. Besides, for specific activities in these larger teams, there may be smaller teams that are formed of which you may be a member.
At the other end of the spectrum, you are also part of a country and the citizens together form a team. The citizens share the geographic space they live in; they share the resources of the country, and make a living in the country. Isn’t it? And at an even larger scale, we are part of the world and the universe and we all share the world and the universe. And yes, these teams are gigantic and massive in size and spread.
What it means to be part of a team
As a team, the members share common goals and have common interests. Each team member has both rights and responsibilities. Any team, to be stable and effective, requires its team members to acknowledge this aspect and participate accordingly.
All members work together in a team to realize the team’s goals. There may be a clear delineation of each one’s work and responsibility. These are to be adhered to as meticulously as possible. There could, on the other hand, be certain fluidity with regard to team members’ responsibilities. In that case, the members’ roles are perhaps assumed. Similarly, teams may call for volunteerism from their members. So, members then choose roles according to their choice and interest or capability and ability.
What it is like to work in a team
Working in a team is good fun and great learning. There is an integration of efforts and a sharing of achievements. There is a great sense of camaraderie that develops between team members. And work tends to be more enjoyable when you are part of a team than when you are toiling away singly.
However, there are certain difficulties when it comes to ground reality and the practical issues involved in working in a team. For instance, there may be friction between team members. There may be disputes on what the goals are, despite all members having similar ideas on the goals to be achieved. There may be arguments on the resources and their apportioning and utilization. There may be differences of opinions on time frames of work. Similarly, there may be disputes on fairness of apportioning of work and responsibilities, and likewise on rights and benefits.
These are quite common occurrences in teams and their functioning. While differences and divergent opinions between members are good for dealing with complex and long-drawn-out issues and reaching the most optimal and effective solutions, they may also prove counter-productive beyond a point. And these can be sources of de-motivation to team members, and thus jeopardize the very working of the team.
How to motivate a team
Keeping team members motivated is essential to keeping a team together for achieving the set goals successfully. What is it that keeps a team motivated? How can every member of a team feel motivated to be part of the team and work and contribute to the best of their ability in keeping with the parameters and terms of reference according to which the team exists and functions? What is it that can help keep team members motivated so much so that they can motivate other team members?
Only when a team has motivated members can the best be achieved. And it is motivated members who will put in their best efforts that can translate into success for each of the team members and the team as a whole. Motivated team members hold the key to a successful and effective team. Let’s unravel some of the factors that can contribute to having motivated team members.
Team motivation ideas
Create a sense of belongingness among team members. A sense of belonging is the primary prerequisite. Unless the members feel they belong to the team how will they feel inclined at all to contribute or, for that matter, even take advantage of the benefits available?
If you are a member of a team and you benefit from being a part of it, it is incumbent on you to discharge your responsibilities too towards the team. Isn’t it? It is by involvement in the team’s activities and the due discharge of your duties that you can reap its fruits and it is thus that you as a member have a sense of belonging. If one lacks a sense of belonging, there cannot be the motivation. So, if you want to motivate your team members, create the sense of belonging in them.
Take, for example, your family. You don’t need to be told to look after your parent or sibling or then your spouse or child. Do you? It is because of your sense of belonging with your family that is very strong. Likewise, if there is a sense of belonging, members of any team will feel motivated to give their best.
How to motivate team members
Making team members responsible gives them a sense of belonging and promotes in them commitment to perform. Give team members roles fairly and democratically. Let excellence be the sole consideration. When excellence in performance and achievement of the goals are the main considerations, smaller issues melt away.
Team members feel responsible when they are delegated work and are given the scope to perform. If team members find spokes being put in their work, how can they feel motivated to work? There should, therefore, be a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities so that team members can discharge their duties and their tasks diligently. This makes members of a team feel motivated. If roles and responsibilities of members are kept hazy and unclear how would they feel responsible and motivated to work and perform?
- Appreciation provides good motivation
When team members make efforts to achieve the team’s goals, there needs to be an appreciation of the efforts. Such appreciation can serve to motivate the members. Appreciation may assume different forms. Whatever the form, acknowledgement and appreciation of hard works boost the morale of team members to perform well.
- Reward good work, it acts as a motivator
Appreciation for good work in the form of accolades and rewards acts as an incentive to team members. When you offer rewards for good work done you will have succeeded in encouraging and enthusing team members to put in their best effort. Team members are motivated if good work is rewarded. In the absence of rewards, team members lack the zeal to work. If a performer and non-performer are treated at par, what’s the big deal about working hard? Isn’t it?
Rewards may be commensurate and in line with the team’s general terms of reference, functioning and goals. It may be monetary in nature, or it may be access to certain facilities or privileges, or then something in kind. It could also be in the form of a higher grade or a higher notch in division or marks awarded if it is an academic or training institution.
- Be a role model to motivate your team
By being a role model you can motivate your team members. When you yourself set an example of being motivated and being a great team player you easily influence other team members. You succeed in motivating members of your team effortlessly.
- Commitment is a visible trait, develop it
By being committed to the goals of your team and your own part in the team, you lead by example. When you show your commitment, you serve to motivate others. Commitment to a goal is what keeps you working towards achieving it. And that is motivation to work. It becomes an example for others in your team to follow.
- Be ready to forgive and forget
It is important to forgive and forget team members’ errors of commission and omission and deficiencies. To err is human. And we all commit errors. Don’t we? And the aim of team work is to build on what we have. We need to work towards achieving our goals, not cursing others or blaming others. Forgiving and forgetting team members for the mistakes that happen will actually help members fortify themselves to prevent such errors and work conscientiously and efficiently.
- Communication is important
Communication between team members is very important in exchanging ideas and coming out with the most effective means and methods to achieve the goals of the team. Motivating your team requires that you communicate through words and deeds. Communication is important, up to down and down to up and across the team. So that all team members stay in the loop.
Unless everyone shares the same ideal and is kept updated on developments in the team, there will be a disconnect between members and their work in the attainment of the shared goals. Keeping communication channels open so that there is an exchange of views and an updating on progress is of significance in keeping all members of a team motivated.