Role of Team Commitment in Team Building

How to Increase Team Member Commitment for Successful Teams

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The depth of the commitment of team members to work together effectively to accomplish the goals of the team is a critical factor in team success. The relationships team members develop out of this commitment are key in team building and team success.

You need to answer a series of questions to assess the commitment level of team members to work on a team.

  • Team Choice: Do team members want to participate on the team? Do they perceive that they had a choice about working on a particular team?

    Tapping into an employee's commitment is much easier if they are participating by choice. When possible, I recommend voluntary team participation. On all social teams and work teams that are ancillary to an employee's core job, employees should choose to participate.

    Even participation on a mandatory team that is part of an employee's core job description garners more commitment when the employees on the team are empowered to set direction, establish goals, and make choices.
  • Work Is Mission Critical: Do team members believe the team mission is important? Are members committed to accomplishing the team mission and expected outcomes? Is accomplishing their mission critical to their organization achieving its mission? Team members need to see and make the connection.

    Team members want to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves. They need to understand where their team mission falls in the bigger organizational scheme, the overall leadership vision. All employees want to feel as if their work is important in the total scheme of the business.

    No employees want to work on a team that they do not feel has a valued customer, an important task, and a business critical reason for existing. Team commitment comes from team members knowing the expected outcomes and where the outcomes fit in the whole organization's strategic plan.
  • Team Members Feel Valued: Do team members perceive that their service on the team is valuable to the organization and to their own careers? Do they feel that their participation is advancing their career opportunities and bringing positive attention to their contributions? A double win is accomplished if team members find themselves valued by the organization and also receiving ancillary benefits.

    These ancillary benefits can include growing and developing their skills and career by participating on the team. Making new contacts and perhaps, finding new mentors who are committed to their growth is a plus, too.

    Attracting attention from departments and senior leaders with whom the employee does not usually interact will also add to the employee's feeling valued by the organization. 

    Additional ancillary benefits to the team members can also occur if the member has the opportunity to lead the team, perform as the notetaker, lead the team meetings, lead brainstorming sessions, and facilitate meetings. These are all skills which will further the team member's career possibilities. Thus, learning them is worth his or her time.
  • The Challenge, Excitement, and Opportunity: Are team members excited and challenged by the team opportunity?  Do they see and understand that it IS an opportunity to grow, contribute, attract attention, and shine? If so, the chances of their commitment to the process and the outcomes are magnified.

    Employees want to wake up every morning and feel excited and optimistic about what they will tackle at work that day. This is so much better than waking up hating their job and dragging themselves into the workplace. How the organization approaches, frames, and assigns the opportunity can have a huge impact on the challenge and excitement experienced by team members.
  • Recognition: Does your organization have a track record of providing recognition for successful teams and their projects. Almost everyone likes some form of recognition. Make sure recognition is available at successful milestones, too.

    This question is asked repeatedly in organizations. With so many employees contributing good, and even great work, why is recognition supplied so sparingly? Employees want and need to feel that their best work is recognized and appreciated.

    If their manager recognizes successful milestones in the team's progress, the employees' commitment to their team and project will increase accordingly.

These five main questions have a lot of cross-over characteristics in their answers but it is worth shining the spotlight on each of them separately because of the role that they play in team commitment.

Pay attention to these areas and to the additional recommendations in all of the components suggested for successful team building. The more you can foster the appropriate environment for team success, the better your teams will perform, and they will wallow less in dysfunctional behavior.