Career Corner: Build an Effective Collaborative Team | AIChE

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Career Corner: Build an Effective Collaborative Team

Engineering projects are typically complex and executed by multidisciplinary teams that must achieve project milestones on tight deadlines. To add to the complexity, team members may not know each other, come from disparate backgrounds, and work from remote locations. These circumstances can make collaboration challenging. Follow this guidance to overcome obstacles and assemble highly effective teams.

Establish the leader’s role. The team leader plays a critical role in getting the team off to a good start. The leader articulates the team’s vision and works with members to determine a path to achieve team goals. “It’s the leader’s role to get the team to answer questions such as ‘What are our shared values as a team?’ and ‘What do we as a team want and need from each other to get the project done?,’” says Susan Ascher, leadership coach and CEO of the Ascher Group.

It is up to the leader to establish ground rules for team interactions. The rules can include statements such as “We will be polite to each other and listen to each other’s point of view” and “We will be accountable for the tasks that we agree to take on.”

“It’s also important to define upfront which decision mechanism the team will use. Will decisions be made...

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