Introduction to Engineering and Technology
Effective Team Building
• An effective team is one that works well together. • It functions at its maximum potential when solving a design problem and thrives on the special capabilities of its individual members. • One key characteristic of an effective team is a good supportive attitude among fellow teammates and team activities. • Team morale and a sense of professionalism can be enhanced if team members agree upon some rules of behavior.
1. Define Clear Roles Each team member should understand how he or she is to function within the team. The responsibilities of each individual should be defined before work begins on the project. Roles need not be mutually exclusive, but they should be defined so that all aspects of the design problem fall within the jurisdiction of at least one person. In that way, no task will “fall between the cracks” during the design process.
2. Agree Upon Goals Members of the team should agree upon the goals of the project. This consensus is not as easily achieved as you might think. One teammate may want to solve the problem using a traditional, time-tested approach, while another may want to attempt a far-out, esoteric path to success. Define a realistic set of goals at the outset. If the design process brings surprises, you can always redefine your goals midway through the project.
3. Define Procedures Teammates should agree on a set of procedures for getting things done. Everything from documentation and the ordering of parts to communication with professors, clients, and customers should follow a predetermined procedure. In that way, misunderstandings about conduct can be greatly reduced.
4. Develop Effective Interpersonal Relationships You must learn to work with everyone on your team, even with those individuals whom you may personally dislike. In the real world, a client will seldom care about any conflicts that occur behind the scenes. It’s a sign of engineering professionalism to be able to rise above personality clashes as you concentrate on the job at hand. Be nice. Be professional. Forbid name calling, accusations, and assigning fault between team members.
5. Define Leadership Roles Some teams work best when a single person emerges as a chosen leader. Other teams work better by consensus using distributed leadership or even no leadership at all. Regardless of your team’s style, make sure that leadership roles are clearly defined and agreed upon at the start of a project