This chapter has emphasized that project team members are challenged to work interdependently to solve many problems. These problems can be simple or complex, but every project is, essentially, a series of decisions to make and problems to solve. The greater our team's need to work interdependently, the more we need to trust each other and the more we need the skills to work together. Since project teams are temporary, each project team must learn to work together.
The topic of team leadership is large and covers far more than we can address in this single chapter.9 For that reason, we have limited our scope to presenting a framework of specific skills and attributes that are necessary in a high-performing team.
The high-performance team framework identifies the factors that must be present for a team to reach its synergistic potential: to deliver more as a team than the individuals working alone ever could. A project manager helps the team establish a positive environment for daily interaction by setting ground rules for team behaviors, ensuring the team uses good listening skills, practicing good meeting management, and building team identity. To enable the team to face problem after problem together, the project manager works to improve its collaborative capability, including teaching the team problem solving and conflict-resolution skills.
Leadership is the keystone of a high-performance team. Among the many important characteristics of a good leader, this chapter recognizes several as essential for leading a project team:
• Maintaining a strategic vision and keeping it attached to the tactical plan
• Developing a culture that promotes learning during the project
• Giving attention to individual team members to keep them bonded to the project
• Consciously attending to the factors identified in the highperformance team framework
• The ability to flex leadership style to the needs of the team
The leadership actions and team factors described in this chapter take energy and effort. Though project managers are routinely asked for cost and schedule status, we are rarely asked for an update on the health of the team. That makes it easy to stay focused on task execution rather than team process. Investing in building a highperformance team requires the conviction that a cohesive team with mature problem-solving skills does make a difference to the team's productivity.
Finally, we have addressed another benefit of applying the concepts in this chapter. A high-performance team gives us more than high productivity; it gives us the joy and satisfaction that is possible when we reach our potential.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.