Working Together As A Team

“Successful teams develop. They grow over time, like any relationship, slowly developing their capacities to operate effectively” (Kahn, 2009, p. 11). This statement is thought-provoking and accurate, whether you are leading a team in a work environment, student team, or church organization.  As the leader, I did not provide the proper tools to be successful and to enable the team to function efficiently through the mechanism of effective communication. A successful team must go through the process of learning and growing together. It is crucial to equip them to work individually and collaboratively to achieve the overall goals of the unit. Kahn (2009) states that “teams create the foundations for effective teamwork by focusing on three key dimensions: missions, roles, and boundaries” (p. 56). The mission establishes common ground for all on the team and it is the starting point for building buy-in. The organization mission and the unit goals were communicated to the staff member (SM) and graduate assistant (GA). However, as the leader, I did not thoroughly explain how the roles and boundaries would intertwine, and ultimately, this led to an absence of trust for the team; those points were discussed in my previous post.

 This is a new team. Roles needed to be defined. Kahn (2009) states, “Roles are instrumental for work getting done. They ensure that the efforts of individual members will be in sync with one another” (p. 56). Each member understood their role, but not how their roles impacted the team. This breakdown of communication was one-on-one interaction versus a team discussion. From the start, it was imperative that the staff member, graduate assistant, and I got together to discuss the roles and how it intertwined and the financial impact on the unit. Due to the lack of effective communication, cross-training came to a standstill, duties were not performed in a timely fashion, and members of the staff were unsure of their contribution to the team, and their individuality was lost.

 Kahn (2009) indicated that “Boundaries separate people from their environments” (p. 56). Unfortunately, the team did not have a shared identity. The voice to speak up had been silence due to not understanding their role on the team. SM did not feel she was impactful and it showed by her lack of participating outside of the scope of the task. I had a false expectation that they would forge a bond without my assistance, which created a hostile environment.

 Every relationship takes work. A good team must have the proper tools to start on a good foundation. I am committed to moving this team forward and getting it back on track. As I stated in the previous blog, we will do a getting to know you exercise. Also, I have created and shared a workflow chart showing the big picture of the team. The workflow chart also shows the contribution they add to the unit and the impact they make to the organization as it relates to the financial needs of the students. Also, I have scheduled weekly meetings so that they can bring their thoughts, concerns, and ideas to be discussed as a team.


Kahn, W. (2009). The student’s guide to successful project teams. New York: Routledge.

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