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Team Leadership: Organizing and Setting Direction

1. Overview

  • The team leaders should complete various activities to help the team get and stay organized
  • The team leader sets the direction for the team by ensuring that the vision and goals are shared by team members
  • The team leader encourages team cohesiveness by focusing on various team building tools and activities
  • The team leader support team in completing tasks by focusing on strategies and action plans to meet specific objectives
  • The team leader should take specific steps to keep the team focused on the task
  • The team leader should provide support to the team by making logistical arrangements
  • The team leader ensures that everyone is up-to-date about the teams issues and accomplishments

2. Get Organized By. . .

  • Defining the team goal(s) as specifically as possible
    • Make sure that everyone understands what needs to be done
  • Listing tasks and sub-tasks to be completed
    • Break tasks into sub-components and include process tasks (i.e., ways of getting things done)
  • Assigning responsibility for all tasks
    • Assign tasks to every team member and ensure that they are satisfied with the assignment
  • Developing and posting the timeline and checklist for task completion
    • Build cushion into deadlines , make sure the entire team understands them, make final versions available to all team members, and track them in meetings
  • Setting up a central repository for electronic files
    • Make use of technology to create a common area the entire team can access; keep backup copies  
  • Sending meeting notes and maintaining a communications archive
    • Ensure that all team members have the same understanding of what took place in the meeting; store information in case questions arise later
  • Sending reminders of deadlines and informing about completed tasks
    • Send reminders and encourage team members to keep each others informed

3. Set Direction By. . .

  • Creating a shared vision
    • What do we want the team experience to be?
    • What are we trying to accomplish?
  • Identifying shared values
    • What do we consider important?
    • What drives us?
    • How do we go about accomplishing our work?
  • Setting clear goals
    • What do we want to accomplish?
    • How will we measure attainment?
    • How will we ensure goals are achievable?
    • In what timeframe will be accomplish the goal?

4. Ensure Cohesiveness By. . .

  • Emphasizing common interests and values
    • Underscore mutual interests/shared objectives and explain why cooperation is necessary to attaining them
  • Using ceremonies and rituals
    • Use initiation rituals for entering members; “retirement” rituals for departing members; and ceremonies to celebrate special achievements
  • Using symbols to develop identification with the team
    • Use team name, slogan, or other identifiers to create team identity
  • Encouraging and facilitating social interaction
    • Hold periodic activities to facilitate social interaction
  • Sharing team activities and achievements
    • Keep members informed about plans, activities, and achievements
    • Explain how their work contributes to overall success of the mission
  • Conducting process analysis sessions
    • Have frank discussions about interpersonal relationships and group processes
  • Increasing incentives for mutual cooperation
    • Use spontaneous/informal rewards to emphasize the importance of service to the team

5. Get Things Done By. . .

  • Specifying objectives
    • Which components of the goal will we focus on?
    • How will we measure them?
  • Agreeing upon benchmarks/milestones
    • What performance targets will we set?
  • Uncovering issues
    • What are the barriers that interfere with the accomplishment of our goals?
  • Developing alternatives
    • What can we do to resolve the issues?
    • What else can we do? 
  • Selecting strategies or action steps
    • What will we do about it?

6. Focus The Team On The Task By. . .

  • Brief the team on information and tools necessary to complete the task
  • Determine task assignments
  • Serve as the meeting chair
  • Initiate parallel sub-teams to resolve issues/perform tasks
  • Ensure satisfactory preparation of deliverables
  • Keep the team on track
  • Notice and deal with process issues

7. Coordinate Team Logistics By. . .

  • Establishing meeting time, place, and agendas
  • Obtaining necessary resources to support team requirements
  • Coordinating reviews, presentation, and release of the final output
  • Coordinating external meetings (if appropriate)

8. Communicate Team Information By. . .

  • Providing regular status reports of team activities related to the plan and schedule
  • Keeping everyone informed about task, accomplishments, issues, and status
  • Escalating issues which cannot be resolved by the team

9. Additional Reading