A Matter of Security
A team is a group of individuals brought together to accomplish a task that cannot be completed effectively by an individual. Team work can be described as working together as a group of people or even a group of groups to achieve a goal.
It is an important part of any business. It is necessary for everyone to work well together in any circumstance. It means having to cooperate. Using the strengths and individual skills of the group. Providing constructive feedback, And being able to work passed personal conflict between individuals.
How efficient and effective your team work is will be determined by the single-minded focus on the end goal. In my experience a length of time a team can be together has a major effect on the ability of individuals to work together.
Why is Teamwork Important?
Let me give you some good reasons and give you scenarios I’ve experienced. What a difference teamwork makes. Teams have become a central part of our work life. But why is it so important?
Teamwork creates Interaction and Cooperation
Working together produces a better result than the sum of individual efforts. It is a better way of working toward achieving a goal. Especially if the workload far exceeds the capabilities of an individual. You have to come together and put your heads together to make things work.
It strengthens individual capabilities and removes limitations of an individual working on his own.
The team can do things an individual working on their own can not.
We see this all the time in our industry. I’ve had a situation where a guard refused to help another guard because he had an indifference with him about a personal matter.
Ensuring that everybody was there for the benefit of the majority reminded team members’ that one cannot function without the other. It meant putting aside differences and interacting to meet a common goal .
Promotes self direction, with less hierarchy.
This is known as self directed team work. It is great to see team members’ who understood their roles and responsibilities within the group. They don’t need the supervisor to bark orders or babysit them. As long as everyone was sharing the workload the team naturally works toward what needs to be done.
Fosters flexibility and responsiveness, especially the ability to respond to change.
When a team are working together they should be adaptable to any changes in operational schedules or even goals. They recognize a problem and make necessary adjustments, adopt a system and as a team ensure the job is done in a fair and reasonable way.
I was in a team involved with providing pretty unconventional security services. Much of the work was so varied and specific I would use a select number of guys I could count on to do the job. Usually at a moments notice.
All it took was to brief them thoroughly and then as a team formulate a strategy divvy up the tasks, come up with a security plan and then execute it.
Clients like working with good teams
Sometimes the customer might be part of the team. The band of guys we had developed a reputation as an easy going team who did their jobs efficiently and professionally.
The ability to work as a team effectively meant each team members’ personality naturally came the fore. A company is only as good as its employees. The growth and reputation of a company is built on these guys, particularly your front line.
Promotes achievement, equality and a camaraderie.
These are essential factors for a motivated workplace. Getting the dynamics right in the beginning can be frustrating but it is an important part of understanding everyone s role within the team and how they will be best used to benefit the team.
There is something quite special when a team gels together, where you don’t really have to say too much but everybody understands what needs to be done without being told. We’ve all experienced the satisfaction of a job well done. In a team situation it creates trust, pride and a strong camaraderie.
When managed well, teamwork is the best way to work!
We have always handpicked our team leaders or supervisors according to personality and qualities that align with the team to get the best result from that team.
Something I have always valued in a team leader is an ability to create participation and involvement of all the team members’ but more importantly to guide his team. Barking orders at them in my opinion is not managing.
When you are working in a team environment, there has to be good team dynamics to ensure that they perform well and demonstrate positive behavior.
Team Dynamics are the forces created when there is interaction between different people or groups. These dynamics will influence how a team reacts, behaves or performs. Let’s think about what team dynamics are and the impact they have on a team.
Imagine a small team of six bouncers working in a venue. There are three bouncers who have a strong friendship. This friendship can have a strong influence on the rest of the team. This can impact in various ways, either positively or negatively.
There are other factors or combinations of factors that can be an influence.
Sometimes, an “absence” of a natural force can be a team dynamic. For example, if the head doorman is away from the venue, the other bouncers might be drawn into a change of behavior.
Recognizing Team Dynamics
You can recognize team dynamics by looking for factors that influence team behavior. These factors include but not limited to:
- Age and gender
- Personality styles (eg: including or excluding people)
- Team Roles
- Cultures and backgrounds (eg. religious beliefs, traditions)
- Venue or environment layout (eg: set areas dividing teams into two)
- Tools and technology (eg: email, social media, R.Ts).
- Organizational culture (eg: company cars acting as status symbols to separate groups of employees)
- Processes/methodologies/procedures (eg: problem-solving methodology, operating procedures)
As you can see there isn’t just one of these factors at work within the team but a combination of them. The effects of team dynamics are very complex.
Building A Team
Now that we understand the dynamics that can occur within a team here are some principles that will help ensure the Team moves toward achieving its objectives.
Identify a Leader – in any team you will find a leader will be identified or emerge. It is not a leaders job to tell people what to do. Instead, he is there to guide a process, supply resources, coordinate team efforts, but also assist in cross-functional-teamwork.
That is coordinate individual expertise groups within a team. For example in a bigger security team you may have to manage a team that has different specialist teams like front of house team, a patrol team, a static guard team and a mosh pit team.
They are all specialist functions but they still have to be managed to work toward the overall team objective.
Establish roles and responsibilities Understanding the various functions and responsibilities of a team is critical to success. Taking time to know their strengths, weaknesses and expertise of team members’ will allow people to be matched to their capabilities and assigned their roles to achieve team objectives.
Establish a set of goals and objectives – in any team establishing a goal or mission is paramount. It is what will help you set technical and process goals toward achieving the groups overall mission. It also really helps focus the efforts of the team and give you something to celebrate when you reach the goal.
Manage time to complete the objective – Teams that do better at managing their time achieve better results. It gives teams a clear path to your goal. It can help create strategies and improve on any previous mistakes which in turn could improve your productivity and help understand the limits of the team.
Have regular meetings and thorough briefings -When teams meet, there should be a set of standards that establish how team members’ will behave toward one another. Before every operation a thorough briefing must be conducted help the team focus their efforts, set clear goals for the day, and coordinate around any issues that have come up.
Maladaptive behaviors are dealt with immediately –Maladaptive behavior is behavior that does not meet the standards or norms, unacceptable by the team. It is non-productive behavior that impacts negatively on the team.
Here is an example, Guys who smoke will have allocated times to have a smoke break if there is someone to cover. That is usually the roving team who are constantly moving and monitoring patrons. You might have a team member who will take smoke breaks well beyond what is acceptable, causing the team to work a little harder and compromising the security of the venue.
This behavior is maladaptive. It replaces what the person should otherwise be doing, it can be very problematic. Needless to say these behaviors need to be dealt with immediately.
There are many advantages of working within a team. As operators, we will more than likely be within one and so an understanding of the inner workings of a team is important.
We have mentioned the complexities of team dynamics and the factors that influence them. But a basic understanding of these influences helps us to overcome unproductive behavior that could impact the team.
Whether I was working within a security team looking after a concert venue or a team transiting the Gulf of Aden there was no such thing as a perfect team. The principals are the same and it was important know your role and responsibility within that team.
This helped you recognize behavior that might otherwise hinder the success of the team. You must make the necessary adjustments to ensure your participation is always aligned to the teams objective.
What I can say is that when a team has been together for a period it begins to create an atmosphere of respect within the group. They listen, they don’t attack the person when they disagree with an idea, they’re respectful of each other’s time and they show appreciation for each other’s effort.