Magazine article Business Credit

Credit @ Work

Magazine article Business Credit

Credit @ Work

Article excerpt

Dear Andy,

Our credit department is adopting a team-based structure, which is a new dynamic for my staff members. As a manager, how can I prepare them to succeed in this environment?

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The ability to work well on teams--and to nurture effective work groups as a manager--are qualities in strong demand. But moving to this model can be an adjustment for both managers and employees. Some managers are more comfortable with the "one person/one project" method of defining job functions and distributing responsibilities, and employees who are used to working independently may be concerned that their contributions will be overlooked or that coworkers will be more of a hindrance than a help.

These misgivings sometimes stem from uncertainty on employees' part about how to work successfully on a team. In a recent survey by our company, senior executives were asked for their thoughts on what is the single most important characteristic of being a team player. The top response was meeting deadlines (40%), followed by avoiding office politics (25%) and being pleasant to work with (20%).

To ease any reservations staff members may have, discuss guidelines and goals for working collaboratively. As part of your presentation, share with employees these additional pointers on how to be a valuable team member:

* Participate in goat setting. Work groups and individual team members should formulate realistic goats and expectations by establishing rotes and responsibilities for each person up front. Also, prioritize projects so that the majority of time is spent on activities that most directly affect the bottom line, rather than simply those that are easy to check off of a to-do list.

* Don't point fingers. Avoid Naming others if something goes awry. Focus instead on correcting the problem and moving forward. By acknowledging one's own mistakes and accepting others' missteps without criticizing, team members can encourage personal accountability while doing their part to help the team bounce back. …

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