Guide to Creating Team Processes that Actually Work

Low angle close up of diverse young team standing hands in unity, community and support concept, copy space

A team can consist of two to two hundred people, scattered in various locations. Back when team members were all located along an assembly line together, team processes seemed straightforward. These days, the team environment has become complex and fragmented. If you are looking for ways to get team members working together seamlessly, here are five tips that will help you create the best team process you possibly can:

1. Create a Team Charter

A team charter is essentially your team’s purpose, goals, and objectives among other things. It defines every member’s role on the team and states who has what responsibilities. It also provides guidelines about how team decisions are made and who has power over what matters. This document must be accessible by everyone on the team and team members must commit to it by signing their names.

2. Agree on Team Rules

Anyone who has ever participated in team sports knows the importance of team rules. Rules define what is acceptable behavior and performance within a team, and they create an environment that promotes team growth. There should be at least one rule for each team member, so consider incorporating both negative (don’t do this) and positive (do this instead) rules into your team charter. It is also important that you agree to these rules as a team, so word them carefully. For example, “be respectful” might seem like common sense but someone could interpret it differently than everyone else.

3. Establish Boundaries

Boundaries are a team’s way of saying “this is where we end and you begin.” They define what team members can expect from one another, as well as how team members should behave toward those outside the team. When boundaries are unclear, team processes will suffer. For example, if team communications aren’t clear regarding which team member is responsible for different tasks, then it is easy to imagine that team expectations will not be met.

4. Communicate Effectively

Team communication has become increasingly complicated with globalization, social media and collaborative technologies all at play. The key to streamlined communication is proper planning and protocol development. This includes policies around each mode of communication (email, phone calls, etc.) as well as creating protocols for who can participate in conversations and when.

5. Delegate Team Tasks

Every team member has unique skills and abilities, so team success hinges on each person bringing their best work to the table. When team members are assigned to specific tasks, they are more likely to do what they are supposed to do. For example, if someone is responsible for updating team minutes after meetings, but doesn’t follow through, you can hold them accountable. When team members know that their efforts will be recognized, it encourages positive team processes overall.

Overall, team processes are team member behaviors that help teams accomplish their goals. These team processes must be clearly understood by every team member, established as team rules, and carried out by all team members for maximum impact. Consider contacting ExpressAbility at 314-916-3219 or for help with creating team processes that actually work.