Teamwork – Team Charter is Key

Karen O'Donnell

Karen O'Donnell

Communication Coach/Mentor/Speaker

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Teamwork – Team Charter is Key

Have you ever been part of a team?

What makes up a team?  What is its purpose?

Project purposes which are undefined or understated can lead to confusion and low productivity. Team members may not feel valued or appreciated, especially if they feel their involvement is aimless, lacking a clearly-expressed rationale for why they ought to invest time and energy into a team effort.  A lack of careful team composition and adequate intercultural preparation can result in low- (if any) performance.

Teamwork in the workplace can be challenging as a team often consist of a variety of conflicting personalities and styles. Have you invested a little time to draw up a Team Charter?

Creating a team charter is a great first activity for your newly-forming team.  It helps build team cohesion and trust, gets you off to a quick start, and is a great activity to get everyone — team members and management — onto the same page.

A team charter is simply a common understanding of how a team gets its work done. It covers the basic questions of why a team exists, what it’s designed to accomplish, and how the work will happen.  A team charter keeps your team focused on their purpose — and greatly increases your chance of a successful outcome.

It may sound simple, but it really is a powerful document.

Each team charter can be composed of several areas.  Most will contain the following:-

Mission & Objectives – GOALS

This section is at the heart of the Charter.  By defining a mission, the team knows what it has to achieve.  The key here is to make sure each objective can be measured, so that success can be monitored.

Team Interactions and Behavioural Norms

What will be the team’s method of communication? What will the communication parameters be? Parameters might include whether the team communicates by phone or email, whether the team sets up a weekly conference call, or how often team members can expect to communicate.

How will the team resolve differences of opinion?

How will the team support one another?

How will the team ensure equitable participation when completing activities?

How will team members be held accountable for their responsibilities?

How will the core team and extended teams be recognised for their efforts?

Conflict Resolution

We are all human and as such – we are likely to have a difference of opinion from time to time.

Reflect on team charter – Drawing up a team charter can also be useful if a team is in trouble and people need to regain their view of the ‘big picture’.

  • Talk in private.
  • Share responsibility and agree to resolve issues.
  • Present viewpoint in unemotional way.
  • Determine points of agreement and disagreement.
  • Decide how to proceed on disagreements.

Summarize discussion in writing and move forward –

Team Spirit

Be Aware of How You Work

Be aware of your leadership style and techniques, are they as effective as you think?  How well are they accepted by the team  – Evaluate yourself and be critical about where you can improve.

Get to Know the Rest of the Team

Much like you need to hold yourself accountable for your actions to assure you maximize performance and results, you must make the time to get to know your team and encourage camaraderie.  Understanding the needs of your team and embracing differences.  Gathering intelligence means learning what defines the strengths and capabilities of your team –  the real assets that each member brings to the table, and those  yet to be developed.

Be Proactive with Feedback

Feedback is the key to assuring any team is staying on track.   Feedback should be proactive and constant.   Many leaders are prone to wait until a problem occurs before they give feedback.

Feedback is simply the art of great communication.

Acknowledge and Reward

With proactive feedback comes acknowledgement and reward.  People love recognition, but are most appreciative of respect.   Take the time to give your teammates the proper accolades they have earned and deserve.

Being genuine in your recognition and respect goes a long way towards building loyalty and trust.  It organically ignites extra effort!

 By putting in place a Team Charter, success is easily achieved!  

Click HERE to find out about our tailor-made team building programs.

Karen O'Donnell, Communications Coach
Karen O'Donnell, Communications Coach

With a background in HR and experience over 20+ years, Karen has enjoyed working with a wide range of staff from diverse cultural backgrounds within national and international clients. Her avid interest in communication led her to Toastmasters where she received various awards including District Toastmaster of the year & Distinguished Toastmaster. Karen has developed and delivered several training programs in Communications and also Employee Engagement.

As an experienced Coach, Karen is passionate about the development of Emotional Intelligence. Corporations are seeing the positive impact it has on employees in the work environment. Assisting teams in becoming aware of actions and feelings and the impact they have on productivity is particularly effective. By enhancing team dynamics – teams can work towards meeting goals of the organisation in a mature and coordinated fashion.

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