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Chapter 11. Maintaining Harmony Within t... > Creating a Collaborative Atmosphere - Pg. 122

Maintaining Harmony Within the Team 122 The Team Leader Conducts the Band The team leader is the key person in creating the type of environment that is conducive to a har- monious atmosphere. He or she is the conductor of the "band" and provides the beat to which the team marches. Following are some suggestions: · Encourage cooperation, rather than competition, among team members. · Bring the entire team into decisions relating to the team projects. Give subgroups within the team autonomy in designing their projects. Team Builder Be alert to differences and step in to resolve them before they fester into major problems. Establish a system to deal with such situations rapidly and equitably. · Don't dominate the team. Don't micromanage their work. · Set up a system for measuring team performance as well as individual performance (see Chap- ter 12). · Reward team achievements as well as individual accomplishments (see Chapter 16). · Show that you value the work of every team member. Some teams are made up of a combination of highly skilled technicians and lesser-skilled associates. Irrespective of their skill level, each contributes to the team's success. · Discourage "we-versus-they" thinking. This is particularly important when members are drawn from different departments in the company. They often consider teammates from other depart- ments as rivals. The Members Make the Music In a truly harmonious team, the leader sets the beat, but the members provide the music. The members, like the musicians in an orchestra, must play a harmonious melody. Sometimes, however, individual team members may disagree. Unlike the orchestra, where the conductor decides who or what is correct, team members are encouraged to resolve their own differences. To ensure that harmony is maintained within the team, all members must be willing to work out their differences amicably. Here are some suggestions for team members when dealing with disagreements with associates: · Listen to the associate's story without interrupting. Wait until he or she is finished before pre- senting your side. · Pause before you respond. This gives you a chance to think before you speak. · Respond calmly. A loud or angry voice can block your message. Anger only generates anger, and the disagreement is exacerbated. · Back up your arguments. Present evidence. If it's just an opinion that can't be proven, back off. It's no shame to say, "I'll have to check into this."