Collaboration and teamwork is an inescapable aspect of work life. You depend on co-workers and colleagues to meet their deadlines, contribute their fair share to projects, and to behave ethically and supportively. Of course, you have a role as a collaborator as well. Your role is defined, in part, by your particular skill set, professional experience, and expertise. Beyond this, the dynamics of the organization where you work also determines, to a certain extent, how you can contribute as a collaborator in the workplace.
Unfortunately, many teams within organizations lack clear direction and established boundaries. When communication breaks down between members; when decisions need to be made quickly; when infighting or turf wars threaten a project, how can team members get back on track? One tool in both preventing and resolving team conflicts is a Team Charter. A Team Charter helps “team members recognize their complementary skills, their common purpose, common goals, and mutual accountability” (Byrd & Luthy, 2010, p. 14). Imagine for a moment that you were given the opportunity to design a Team Charter for the workplace. What roles would others need to have for the team to function effectively? What processes would you put in place to resolve conflict and promote effective collaboration? What would be your role as a collaborator on such a team?
For this Individual Reflection, imagine that you are applying for a position in the hypothetical United States-based company Walden Consulting Inc., (WCI). WCI’s mission is to improve teamwork at organizations worldwide. To accomplish this, WCI is interested in constructing a model team to “shop” to other organizations that want to increase their teamwork skills. This model team must be an exemplar of positive teamwork, successful collaboration, and be able to work with teams of all sizes, revenue, and experience levels. WCI is asking all interested persons to create a sample Team Charter as evidence of his or her ability to think through how a model team should effectively operate.
Of course, as a Walden MBA student you have always been passionate about teamwork and teambuilding, and think that your experience, collaborative skills, and expertise on how teams operate would be a great asset for WCI’s model team. You have decided to apply for the position and need to develop a team charter.
To prepare for the Individual Reflection, first research the library and the internet for reputable sources on the content and format of team charters. (Hint: There are many different ways to format team charters. The format of your team charter should be your original work to incorporate your unique vision of how a team should operate and interact. Your team charter should synthesize ideas from a variety of reputable sources you have found through your research. Simply copying a format you found online is not appropriate for this assignment.)
At a minimum, incorporate the following in your team charter for the Individual Reflection:
- the type of skills an effective team needs to demonstrate collaboration and teamwork;
- the characteristics that enable effective collaboration and teamwork;
- strategies you think are needed to ensure that a team can operate effectively;
- strategies for managing disagreements at the point of conflict and managing conflict upon escalation;
- contingency plans teams should make to mitigate potential risks to the team’s ability to function and achieve its goals (Hint: reflect on the challenges you have seen teams encounter that risk the team’s success or ability to function. Your contingency plan should address these potential challenges); and
- your personal strengths and weaknesses and how they might (or might not) functionally complement other members of the team (Hint: be sure to give honest and careful reflection of these based on your experiences and what you know about yourself and how you interact with others. This is an important piece of your charter and warrants additional consideration and attention).
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