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It’s not easy to be a “team player.” As a team player, not only do you and your team have to work well together, but you also have to collaborate with many other teams and individuals. To be most effective, teams and team leaders need to build relationships, share information and generate a positive image of their efforts.

To help you and your team improve your collaboration and relationship-building skills, be sure to have the following three areas covered:

First, obtain sponsorship. High-level organizational sponsorship goes a long way toward setting the stage for team success. If the CEO or another top executive publicly supports your team, people in your organization will perceive the team’s mission as vital and urgent. That will enable your team to get the resources and system support it needs to succeed.

Second, form key relationships. Your team needs stakeholders who may be team sponsors, customers, business partners or even competitors. The degree to which you need to develop these key relationships, both inside and outside of the organization, will depend upon your team’s tasks.

Think about these questions to help you determine the kinds of relationships your team needs to perform at its best:

  • What relationships will you need among business units, sales and marketing groups, customers and perhaps even your competitors?
  • What information or resources will your team require from other individuals or teams to complete its work?
  • How will your team function effectively within the broader context of the organization’s vision, values and practices?
  • Will your team interact with external clients? If so, are they consistent, stable clients?
  • Will external stakeholders evaluate your team’s work? If so, how will your team receive this feedback?
  • How will communication and coordination between your team and other relevant parties be managed?
  • What publicity and communication channels are available to your team?
  • How will your team’s purposes, capabilities and performance be communicated on a regular basis?

Knowing the answer to these questions will determine the key relationships your team needs to form.

Lastly, in order for your team to meet its goals, you must secure organizational support. Gaining the support of colleagues, peers, top management and others in the organization will help your team’s success. Clearly articulate your needs and form relationships with leaders who can fulfill them. Ask for non-financial support such as training opportunities and performance feedback. And of course, show appreciation for the support you receive.

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