A thriving organization is one where people work together effectively, contributing their individual strengths and areas of knowledge to achieving a company’s shared goals. Leaders must understand how to keep a team motivated and cooperative. By facilitating productive group dynamics, managers set the conditions for successfully completing projects and furthering a company’s overall growth.
Earning an online MBA degree brings professionals the skills and awareness they need to promote excellent teamwork. Teams are most effective when they combine technical skills with a clear vision of the big picture. Based on keen insights into group dynamics and how they make a difference in business strategy, a good leader guides employees through efficiently fulfilling objectives and getting results.
Specifically define responsibilities
For any group to make steady progress in its assigned projects, the leader has to plan carefully, considering how to divide labor and schedule deliverables. Every member of a team should know his or her role and what tasks are top priorities. Overlapping areas of responsibility can result in confusion and redundancy, so it’s important for a leader to make clear what is expected of each individual.
At the same time, team members must always be ready to seek help when necessary. A leader makes success attainable by defining an organizational structure where people know who to approach when they need assistance. In addition, it may be worthwhile to institute a system where particular responsibilities rotate between team members so everyone gets a chance to perform different types of work.
Maintain open lines of communication
According to a report in Harvard Business Review on a study conducted by the Human Dynamics Laboratory at MIT, communications patterns are the single most important factor predicting whether a team reaches its objectives. A strong leader is a skilled communicator who presents the steps for moving forward in ways that are understandable and appealing but who also carefully listens. Managers are more likely to reach the outcomes they are pursuing if they invite workers to exchange ideas with each other and seriously consider all feedback.
At regular team meetings, everyone should come prepared to report on their progress, pay attention to contributions from others and offer thoughts on how the team can better meet its commitments. A leader can promote an atmosphere where all employees feel their efforts are valued and their viewpoints are respected. Often, it’s a good idea to have smaller groups meet and work through problems before presenting their conclusions to the whole team.
Account for cultural differences
With online communications making it possible to connect instantly with individuals around the globe, international teams have become increasingly common. There are special considerations involved in maintaining a strong collective when certain members come from a different background than others. A leader must consider how various cultures treat issues like expressing perspectives that dissent from the group, flexibility in scheduling and showing deference to authority.
Managers can make this diversity of viewpoints a powerful part of the team strategy, but it calls for finding a careful balance. The group must be respectful toward everyone’s differences while ensuring all are on the same page in bringing their project to fruition. A leader makes cross-cultural cooperation easier by explicitly laying out processes and policies early in the collaboration.
Encourage independent thought
A well-structured team fleshes out and implements quality ideas, but there are potential drawbacks in the decision-making process. Conformity is a powerful force that binds people together for a common purpose but also often presents a problem. The support of a group sometimes gives people misguided confidence in the wrong decision, especially in situations where everyone falls in line with a strong leader.
Managers may prevent serious errors by occasionally taking a step back from the team’s conversation. Letting employees figure out their own recommendations before saying anything is a method that yields a richer array of options. A leader brings the best out of everyone and reveals exciting opportunities by fostering an environment where team members feel welcome to suggest an alternative course of action.
Recognize individual effort
A good team puts the group’s success above individual achievement or competition. However, that doesn’t mean leaders can ignore how each person’s contributions lead to the desired outcomes. Recognizing when someone does something exceptional, whether with a bonus or just praise, is an important motivator.
An advanced business education equips professionals with the right combination of strategic principles and soft skills to inspire great performances from their teams. In the Villanova School of Business online MBA program, students have ample opportunities to learn about maintaining positive group dynamics and gain hands-on experience in collaborating with teams. Visit the program page to learn more.
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