August 2014 / Volume 2, No. 3

Team work: the key to your group’s success

What is a team?

A team is more than a collection of people who happen to be in the same youth group, school, or workplace. It is a group of individuals who are committed to each other and to working towards a common goal. They share a vision that provides motivation and guidance as they work, as a single unit, to achieve this goal together.

It is easier to build a strong commitment to this shared vision if each team member has a say in its development. Good leadership and collaboration are key elements in this process. It’s also important to discuss this vision regularly with the team to help them stay on course, and as a reminder of the motivation for their hard work and effort.

It is also important to remember that each member has unique strengths, skills, and personality that can benefit the whole team. Through teamwork, trust, respect, and their shared vision, team members can truly bring out the best qualities in each other.

Creating a team

When forming a team for a specific project, you’ll want to consider each member’s functional or technical expertise, but also their problem-solving and interpersonal skills. It’s essential to include a variety of skills and personalities: bringing diverse perspectives together strengthens the team. It’s important to recruit new team members in consideration of the overall purpose and needs of the team.

Working together

Team work is like baking a cake – combining different ingredients to create something totally different (and delicious!) and greater than just the sum of its parts. This is called synergy. This means that each individual, with his or her unique talents and skills, plays an important part in the success of the team. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone contributes uniquely and synergistically in a team.

Cultivating collaboration, resolving conflict
The most harmonious teams fit well together by connecting on a variety of levels. Improving a team’s unity means working together in the most coordinated and cooperative way possible. Look at how the team collaborates and for ways of improving working relationships.

Teams are like a mosaic of different personalities, which can sometimes lead to disagreements and in some cases, conflicts. Conflicts can happen for many reasons – for instance, they may arise when two members have very different ideas for a project and are unable to reach a middle ground. Teams don’t work well when there is unresolved conflict between its members, so it’s important to address them as soon as possible.

A good idea for reducing conflicts is to set up team guidelines, which can help bring individuals into agreement about how they should treat one another and how issues are resolved. Discussions about mutual respect, good communication practices, each member’s role within the team, and conflict resolution strategies are essential to the process of establishing team standards. All team members should be involved in these discussions and made aware of the resulting guidelines.

Rewarding efforts
When individuals do outstanding work, or the team achieves success, reward them for it. Having team members recommend colleagues for recognition is a good system as it involves everyone. Rewards don’t have to be monetary or expensive; holding a celebratory get-together or just writing a thank you card can go a long way. 

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Bonding activities and team building exercises
Creating team traditions such as eating lunch together once a week or holding seasonal social activities help forge bonds between team members.

Ready, set, team-build!
Have the team agree upon the goal of the activity, then give them several choices of appropriate activities. Click here for a list of activity ideas, or use them as a springboard for creating your own!

Another fun way to create and strengthen relationships, to enhance trust, and to build understanding between team members, is through team building exercises. These exercises can range from attending group retreats to simply engaging your team in activities where teamwork is the key to success, like working together to solve a problem or puzzle.

What's next?
A buzzword in the job market, networking is a valuable activity for youth groups and their individual members to participate in. Learn more about the importance of networking in the bleeding disorders community and get tips to ensure that it is a rewarding experience.

Cultivating collaboration and resolving conflict help develop a better functioning, more successful team, while increasing the wellness of its individual members. A good team environment should heighten each member’s sense of belonging, as well as strengthen the trust, goodwill, support, and friendship that exist between them.


Questions that require an answer are marked with  *
Think about your youth group as a team. What is your shared goal? What strengths and challenges does each member bring to your team?