Team Contracts to outline the ground rules of a team

It is important for any team to make an assessment of their current strengths. This will provide the basis for a plan in order to increase the effectiveness of the team in order to achieve the organizational goals.

Team contracts are meant to outline the ground rules for the team. It is important for the team leader to state what he wants in his team and what he does not want in his team.

Team contracts are created as well as monitored by the team. Any team contract primarily has a Code of Conduct.

This code of conduct may include:

  • The way in which a team will operate. Whether a team will work in a proactive manner or not. A team needs to anticipate potential problems. They need to work in such a way that the problems are prevented before they can take place.

  • Keeping the other team members informed. Communication is vital to the success of any team. Communication leads to building up of trust between the team members. No one works in silos and team success is achieved due to mutual cooperation and understanding.

  • Focus on what is best for the team as a whole. The team has to be bigger than an individual team player. The interests of the team have to come first. Besides, care has to be taken that the interests of the team and the team players are in synergy and do not clash.

Any team contract needs to lay down the Ground Rules for Participation:

  • Each team member needs to be honest as well as open. This is very important to ensure the success of the team.

  • Encourage a diversity of opinions on all topics. A team is made of people - different people with different views and opinions. These opinions may clash with each other. But in a team, everybody’s opinion matters. Hence each suggestion is taken and noted in order to be referred to later.

  • Everyone given the opportunity for equal participation. It is the team members who make up a team. Equal participation as well as equal inputs from all team members can lead a team to achieve its goals.

  • Be open to new approaches as well as listen to new ideas. The world is changing. The technology is moving too fast. The economy is highly volatile. In such a situation, no organization can afford to sit on its laurels any more.

Ground Rules have to be set for Communication also

  • First understand, and then be understood to apply to all team members

  • Be clear and concise. This will save time as well as promote better understanding among the team members.

  • Keep each discussion on track.

  • Use visual means like drawings, charts, as well as tables in order to facilitate discussion. It is very important for each team member to be on the same page.

There are many more ground rules which are laid down in a team contract in order to allow for a smooth functioning of the team. These will be discussed in another article.

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Team Building