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A crucial part of managing people is getting them to be as productive as possible, whilst working in teams. Team working is common in technical or engineering environments. Whether it’s a project team, product development, a production line, a maintenance team or a manufacturing cell, effective teamwork is the basis for most modern technical operations. But what constitutes good team working? As a People Manager what practical tips are there you can use to get the best out of your teams?
Teamwork is defined as a series of activities where two or more people work collaboratively towards a common aim. Consideration should be given to putting together a balanced effective team - team building (more in a moment). The team should ideally be cross-functional in its nature, made up of people with different but complementary skills.
The group environment in which the team operate ideally should be supportive, positive and underpinned by strong communication and plenty of encouragement. An effective method of tasking individuals should be established, with an opportunity for everybody to feedback and provide opinions and draw on others’ experiences to collectively solve problems. The team leader needs to display strong people management skills to ensure the team operates effectively using these principles.
Teamwork has a number of distinct advantages over working as individuals. These include:
Teamwork in Engineering: Different Roles within Teams
Dr Meredith Belbin undertook detailed research over a long period by observing peoples’ behaviour and interpersonal styles. He concluded there are 9 different styles that make for an effective team. This doesn’t necessary mean a team should have a minimum of 9 people in it. Instead several of the roles may be covered by one person. The point is, for teams to function the best they should be balanced. By being aware of the different styles, an observant People Manager can put together a team likely to function well. Also individuals can use the Belbin roles as a guide to understand what their traits are, as well as areas they require development in.
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