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Does your team work together well?

You may be wondering, why should I care about my team working well?

My research has shown that teams that work well together tend to do several good things:

  • They work faster and more effectively.
  • They tend to reach a consensus on difficult questions.
  • They communicate effectively to work through difficult issues.
  • Their ability to solve problems allows them to work on more projects.
  • They tend to make more money and have a longer life span.
  • They tend to become more proactive, more honest, and more trustworthy.

Why do they do these things? The reason is that when a team works well together, its members do not have to constantly make difficult decisions about how to work together.

Instead, a team that is working well tends to take shortcuts and be more successful.

Avoiding burnout

It is common for employees to experience burnout when they work with a team, particularly when the team members are of the same gender.

In one study, I found that teams working with the same gender show the greatest levels of burnout.

Another study found that teams working with the same gender were less likely to consider the needs of the entire team in their decisions than teams working with the opposite gender.

Burnout can happen when people believe that they are working on too many tasks.

In the case of a team of the same gender, it may be a result of having to take on roles that they did not have before they started working with the team.

One way to prevent burnout is to limit the amount of time the team members work with the same gender.

Another method to avoid burnout is to help the team members become more efficient because they are so busy.

This is where peer mentoring can help.

Peer mentoring is an effective technique for improving teamwork because it has a positive impact on how the team members feel about each other.

How to avoid groupthink

Groupthink is when people tend to consider only information that is popular within the group.

This is very dangerous because most bad decisions have come from groups that acted in this way.

It is possible to avoid groupthink by getting a group of individuals together and doing something that they would not normally do.

This works better when members of the group are different in skills and experiences than they would be if they acted as individuals.

Some possible ideas include:

  • Using a brainstorming session.
  • Giving teams a time period to provide input and ideas.
  • Holding a two-way feedback session.
  • Showing videos to the group.
  • Using puzzles and games to help team members engage more with the work.

How to evaluate the health of your team

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Evaluation is one of the most important aspects of the practice of learning and making progress.

Too often, people do not bother with evaluating the health of a team, and this makes it difficult for them to learn. We tend to assess performance based on our own expectations and what we think we will do.

Sometimes, we make a mistake. In one study, we found that managers use several flawed assessments to assess the health of their teams.

A simple fact that managers often forget is that performance is always evaluated in a specific context.

For example, we might expect an organization to be performing well if it has low debt, low complaints, low staff turnover, high satisfaction, and high productivity.

If the team performs poorly, but that context is not important, then a low score might be the result.

For this reason, we must use a variety of assessments to understand how a team performs.

A common assessment tool that most managers would use is the DMAIC (Demonstrably managing against expected change).

A key part of this assessment is the use of the least good, best good, and best worst outcome

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For example, we might expect that an organization’s staff are happy and motivated.

To help us measure the level of those outcomes, we would use the less good outcome as our base case and the best good outcome as our extreme.

This can help us understand how happy a team is compared to how we would expect it to be.

If the employees are happy, but there are complaints and low staff turnover, then this is a good result.

If they are unhappy, but the team is working well, then the best outcome might be a great result.

Another important aspect of the DMAIC is the use of individual work assessment tools. This can be used to understand how well people are doing.

For example, we might expect that an employee is performing as well as we would expect for the role, but the way they are using the skills they have is less than ideal.

We might use their job roles and responsibilities to help us understand the level of their performance.

We might also use a CV valuation tool, such as the Kelsey Harvard one, to understand a team member’s strengths and weaknesses and what they are doing about them.

Overall, the assessment should help us see where a team is strong and where it is weak. It should help us understand their strengths and weaknesses, and what they are doing to improve.


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