1 What are the characteristics and benefits of a positive team environment?
The main characteristic is trust. A good
team is built on a foundation of trust, which
every member needs to establish with the
group and cultivate through his or her actions, words, and work. No one should have
a hidden agenda; everybody shares his or her
opinions and ideas honestly and with respect
for others. Each team member has to be committed to working toward common goals.
You’ve got to have commonality in purpose.
When those kinds of actions reach a tipping point, they become self-perpetuating and reinforce themselves within team
members. When members use their full
abilities and commit themselves totally to
marching in the same step, you are much
more efficient and productive. The team’s
adversaries become the issues and problems that arise during a project, rather than
each other, and the team works collectively to solve them in a way [in which] everyone is invited to come to the table.
2 How do hiring and management practices affect team performance?
When you select candidates for an interview,
you base your selection partly on their skill
set, but you also want to know how they
react under pressure and whether they are
going to be team players. We had to build
a team on the San Francisco International
Airport project, and when I interviewed
candidates I told them, ‘I know that you’re
capable and that you have the tools, but
what I’m really looking for is whether you
have the right attitude and approach that
best suit our project and team.’ They already have the skill set on paper, but you
want to know if they can enliven the team.
Managers have to be inclusive; you can’t
have a strong team unless everyone gets to
be part of it and becomes invested. You’d be
surprised that sometimes the best ideas come
from the places where you least expect them.
Team members should know how to share
resources and respect each other. You should
also celebrate every victory that everyone on
the team has, no matter how small. Things
are going to get tough, and you need to be
ready and willing to provide help when someone needs it. Through good times and bad,
you have to find humor and lift each other up.
WISDOM AND GUIDANCE FOR [SUCCESSFUL CAREER BUILDING]
An interview with Fred Baniowski on team
building • • • • By DAVID HILL
Fred Baniowski is the construction manager for the Montréal-
based engineering firm WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff. He has
managed construction projects at such airports as Washington
Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National,
and in 2014 he managed a $225-million safety improvement
program at San Francisco International Airport.
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