The PMI Training Series: Understanding the 4 Approaches to Teamwork
If you are a lone wolf who prefers working alone, you are not alone. Working on a project all on your own does have its advantages – you do not have to wait for anyone to get things done, there is no one to slow you down, and you get all the credit when things are done well and on time. However, if you want to achieve greater success, you need other people. That is why organizations focus on team building and why team building is such an important aspect of PMI training courses.
In this quick PMI training tutorial, we will discuss the four approaches to teamwork that will help you build high performing teams.
1. Conceptual Approach
In this approach, each individual is assigned his/her role within the team and there is a clearly defined leader. The individual tasks are explained to the respective members by the leader.
Usually, small teams do not have a chain of command, but big organizations working on big projects have multiple departments collaborating on a project. And as such, there will be a team lead overseeing the progress of all departments by collecting reports from managers who oversee their own respective departments. This is the time when all the dos and don’ts are explained, if needed.
All the policies and guidelines are to be set in the conceptual approach for teamwork. It is also of utmost importance that there is mutual respect among team members. Create a fun but productive social environment from the get go.
2. Spontaneous Approach
Some managers want to control their team members a little too much. However, that is the wrong approach. Going by the spontaneous approach of working in a collaborative environment, there should be some degree of autonomy.
If an employee was assigned to be a part of the team then he must have the knowledge required to contribute in the project. By constantly breathing down his or her neck, managers are taking away the creative freedom from their team members. This also shows a distrust between the manager and the team member.
People enjoy working when they have some level of freedom on how they go about their daily routine. The end result should be what matters. Managers should have confidence in their employees, have trust that they will get their assigned work done without you having to remind them.
Similarly, employees should have a sense of heightened responsibility when a project requires them to complete their work so that another may pick up on the work and move to their part of the task.
3. Normative Approach
In this approach, the goals and objectives of a project are defined at the beginning. After that, we forecast possible scenarios and hurdles the project can face during the development phase. The team will try to analyze the situations and have contingency plans in place. If something happens, a good leader will have prepared their team for the worst.
As discussed earlier, a team comprises of members that have a very similar skill set compared to one another, but they bring their own creative ideas to the mix. It is through working as a team that you ultimately land the best possible solutions to potential problems. It is important that all members of the team respect each other’s way of thinking.
To do that, the normative approach says that all options be considered through their advantages and disadvantages. This approach will bring a consensus to the best idea.
As a team leader, it will often be difficult to maintain a positive balance between the employees and value their opinions without bias. With that said, it is also important to recognize, value, and complement the team member who has better understanding and more experience of the subject at hand.
4. Methodical Approach
The methodical approach for teamwork defines the systematic way of doing tasks. The approach requires managers to lead their team by adopting certain principles and filtering them down to the team members.
Managers are the knot that binds all team members together. This is where managers have to train their team members to not only follow the principles, but also put attention to detail.
The methodical approach relies on data gathered from past experiences. It asks to give known facts precedence over what we believe may be the right approach. By utilizing scientific methodologies, one can arrive at a close approximation towards solving a problem.
The success of a project depends on each individual performing well within their domain and submit their deliverables on time. And it is the manager’s job to make sure that the workflow is consistent. Often a project may go through hurdles that would impact timelines. Team members may need better analysis of the situation to help them get going.
Teamwork is all about having mutual respect for each other and being considerate about others. Great managers lead people by example, others command and fall back from their responsibilities. Be a source of inspiration for your team members. If you play your role right, you will definitely see some great productivity and creativity from your team.
Take some online courses that will provide helpful insight on the principles of management, like the PMI training courses, which we mentioned earlier in the article. They are an effective way to gain insight to be a better team player and a better team lead.