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Section 4. Building Teams: Broadening the Base for Leadership

___You know that a team is a group of people with a commitment to one another, to the team, to a high level of achievement, to a common goal, and to a common vision.

___You know that team members need three kinds of skills:

  • Technical
  • Problem-solving
  • Interpersonal

___You pay attention to how people fit together.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of teams?

___You know that advantages include:

  • A team broadens what individuals can do.
  • Several heads mean a wider range of ideas.
  • Teams can have a greater array of talents and skills than can be found in a single individual.
  • Team members learn new skills from their colleagues.
  • Teamwork is more efficient than a number of individuals working singly.
  • Teamwork provides relief when someone's having a problem.
  • The fact that each member knows he's responsible to others works to make him more effective.
  • A team member has more ownership of what she's doing.
  • Good teams can build leaders.
  • A shared vision keeps everyone moving forward.

___You know that disadvantages include:

  • Team decision-making takes longer than individual decision-making.
  • Depending on the task or problem, team effort can be wasted effort.
  • The team's success may hang on the work of the weakest or least effective team member.
  • Once a team gets rolling in a particular direction, even if it's the wrong direction, it develops momentum.
  • The work of teams can bog down in interpersonal issues, resentments, and blame.
  • Once team members are bonded and committed to one another, they may be reluctant to tell others when their work is unsatisfactory, or to point out that the team isn't getting anywhere.
  • Individuals on the team may lose motivation because of the lack of recognition for the value of their work.

When should you build a team?

___You know the guidelines for when a team is more effective than individuals working alone:

  • People have the skills to tackle the task at hand.
  • The task requires the complementary skills of a number of people.
  • The task specifically requires several people.
  • The success of the task is not based on the performance of the weakest team member.
  • Team members have experience working in teams.
  • The perceived importance of the task is high.
  • Group commitment to the task is high.

___You recognize times when teams might work well:

  • Creating a strategic plan for addressing community issues.
  • Starting up a new organization or initiative.
  • Starting a new program or intervention within an organization or initiative.
  • Starting a coalition.
  • Planning and carrying out a community assessment.
  • Evaluating an organization, initiative, or intervention.
  • Spearheading an advocacy campaign with a specific goal.
  • Running a fundraising event or campaign.
  • Staffing and running an organization or initiative.
  • Engaging in ongoing advocacy.
  • Performing a particular function within a community program or initiative.
  • Changing the community over the long term.

What makes a good team?

___You're familiar with the Rules for Great Groups from Bennis and Biederman:

  • Greatness starts with superb people.
  • Great Groups and great leaders create each other.
  • Every Great Group has a strong leader.
  • Leaders of Great Groups love talent and know where to find it.
  • Great Groups are full of talented people who can work together.
  • Great Groups think they are on a mission from God.
  • Every Great Group is an island -- but an island with a bridge to the mainland.
  • Great Groups see themselves as winning underdogs.
  • Great Groups always have an enemy.
  • People in Great Groups usually have blinders on.
  • Great Groups are optimistic, not realistic.
  • In Great Groups, the right person has the right job.
  • The leaders of Great Groups give them what they need and free them from the rest.
  • Great Groups ship (deliver real tangible results).
  • Great work is its own reward.

How do you build groups?

Choosing a team:

___You start with the best people you can find.

___You choose team members so they'll have a good fit.

___You look for members with a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives.

___You look for members with a commitment to the concept of working as a team.

___You look for team members committed to the team's guiding vision.

___You find people with a sense of humor.

Building a team:

___You start with the vision.

___You build team bonds.

___You make sure the concept of a team is absolutely clear.

___You involve the team in jointly planning how it will function, and what the team and each of its members will do.

___You address personal issues.

___You establish team norms.

___You hash out the logistics of working as a team.

___You start the team with a task that is both doable and requires teamwork to accomplish.

___On a regular basis, you go back over both successes and failures to understand what happened and learn for the future.

___You provide both individual and team support.

___You give people something extra for working as a team.

___You reward accomplishments like crazy.