Edition 48
Effective Teamwork
by Laura Nixon, Editor for RL Magazine & News Clippings, Reverse Logistics Association

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Whether in the workplace on the football field, or even amongst members of a community, effective teamwork can yield incredible results. However, working successfully as a team is not as easy as it may seem. Effective teamwork certainly does not just ensue automatically; it takes a great deal of rigid work structure and compromise. Once the vision, values, and corporate mission are defined, leadership must speak with a common voice to promote consistency, maintain standards, and achieve corporate goals with the greatest efficiency. There are a number of influences that must be in place to cohere together as a team and work effortlessly.

Good leadership: Effective leadership is one of the most important components of good teamwork. The teamís leader should possess the skills to create and maintain a positive working environment and motivate and inspire the team members to take a positive approach to work and be highly committed. An effective team leader will promote a high level of morale and make them feel supported and valued.

Clear communication: Communication is a vital factor of all interpersonal interaction and especially that of a team. Team members must be able to articulate their feelings, express plans and goals, share ideas and see each otherís viewpoints.

Establishing roles: It is absolutely necessary for team members to understand what their role on the team is, what he/she is responsible for. The team leader can enable this by defining the purpose in a clear-cut manner in the beginning of the formation of the team.

Supporting Colleagues: Effective teamwork also requires support and trust between peers. When supervisors do not get along or never seem to be able to present a united front, they become easy targets for a disruptive employee to manipulate in order to achieve other aims. Supervisors should communicate and instill cooperation to meet corporate objectives. If we cannot work well with our colleagues, it usually means we havenít taken the time to communicate. When we start to communicate and work together, we find that we have more in common than we realized. Leaders need to collaborate closely so that they work together and present a united front.

Conflict Resolution: Conflicts will arise no matter how well a team functions together. The best way to counter conflict is to have structured methods of conflict resolution. Team members should be able to voice their concerns without fear of offending others. Instead of avoiding conflict issues, a hands-on approach that resolves them quickly is much better. It is often advised that the team leader sit with the conflicting parties and help work out their differences without taking sides and trying to remain objective if possible.

Regardless of what type of sales you are in, you may one day be asked to be part of a team sales effort, and knowing how to effectively work on and with a team is going to be crucial to your success and that of your team. Perhaps the greatest benefits of working as a team are that it helps us to learn how to share risks and to work for the general good of all. Teamwork also enhances job satisfaction and helps us to see the bigger picture.

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