Although I may be preaching to the choir here, nothing great can be accomplished by a lone individual. Many working parts are behind every success, which is definitely true when it comes to putting on events. Event teams, both full-time staff and volunteers, must mesh well in order for an event to go as smooth as possible (key term: as possible).
SHRM provides a great article on the different types of teams you are most likely to find in any given organization. As it relates to events, I’m only going to focus on a few. It should be noted that these aren’t rigid categories, in fact, your team probably is a mixture of each of these:
These are continuous teams having stable, full-time members. A team supervisor generally makes all of the important decisions for the team, but self-managed teams are rising in popularity.
People from different units are pulled together to work in parallel to the normal organizational structure. They can only make recommendations, and for this reason, are generally used only for problem-solving activities.
These teams are generally only together for a limited amount of time and produce a one-time deliverable. Like the parallel team, project teams pull people from different units in the organization to complete the project.
Cool, so what makes a “quality” team?
The SHRM article linked above also mentions important traits of high performing teams. I left out goals and measuring event success because that subject deserves a post of its own. Here are some of key traits any event management professional or volunteer needs to be aware of when forming or participating in, an event team:
There’s usually some form of volunteers on every event team, in order for the team to truly perform at its best those volunteers have to be trained as best as possible. Now before you get all worked up, I know that there are times when a full training session isn’t feasible (or maybe the volunteers just miss it). In that case, providing the necessary information in a portable form can take care of a large percentage of confusion that may arise over the course of the event.
Conflict resolution and communication
In a perfect world, everyone on the team would get together fine and agree on everything so that the team works together silky smooth. If you aren’t already aware I hate that I have to be the one to break it to you but, we don’t live in a perfect world, people are going to disagree, people aren’t going to get along. It’s important to have mechanisms for conflict resolution. I combined conflict resolution and communication in one section because one of the most effective methods for resolving conflicts is through open communication. Both sides should have an opportunity to voice their frustrations, and each side needs to make an effort to listen to what the other side is saying.
Aside from just conflict resolution, open lines of communication and a freeflow of information is important for every member of the team to be able to make the right decisions when the moment calls for it. That could be anything from a health emergency to a VIP guest you wanted to make sure to really roll the red carpet out for showing up.
As an event professional you can’t be everywhere at once (no matter how hard you try), and there are tons of decisions that need to be made quickly. There are times when a signal is lost, messages aren’t getting through, or there just isn’t time to send a question and wait for a response, in those instances team members need to have the information available and the authority to solve the problem then and there. As mentioned above, self-managing teams are becoming more popular. With that comes the need for team leaders to learn to be okay with delegating responsibility and trusting fellow team members.
This one is huge. It probably should have been at the top of the list.
Regardless of role, all members of the team must treat each other with respect. As the leader of an event team, you must never let the stresses of your event get in the way of showing your volunteers and full-time staff the utmost respect. This also ties into the “Conflict resolution and communication” section above, a lot of destructive conflicts can be avoided if team members and leaders treat each other with respect.