Table of Contents
Team work as a concept has grown over the last 20 years. However team work is not instinctive. Teams should be organised for the right reasons. When selecting a team it is important to consider team selection as well as securing team purpose so as all goals are clear and agreed.
Teams may be organised in different and more complex ways, but team work is still very important.
There are still issues with team management, but benefits still outweigh the cost.
Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean.
A team is a group of people who work with others with a full set of complimentary skills and play different roles of communication, who share and understand common aims co-operating to achieve clearly definite tasks and responsibilities. Distributed according to skill ability strength and weakness are acknowledged. The members will support each other and respect the member. They are encouraged to plan evaluate and make suggestions by thinking. There are many different types of teams, department teams, and problem solving teams, virtual teams, functional teams or football teams. A rock band is a team.
A team is more than just a group of team members with collective commitments. A team creates alliance which accomplishes a greater performance than that of individual members.
Computer Express Ltd
At Computer Express Ltd there are several different teams. These include our:
- Computer Resource Team
- Infrastructure Solutions Team
- Cloud Computing Team
- Business Analytical Team
- Customer Services and Technical Support Helpdesk Team.
There are many advantages of team work. Two heads are better than one. Good teams make the most of all team member’s individual talents when they realise each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work together to create better communication and relationships with their employers.
Team members have the opportunity to learn from each other.
Opportunity provided for synergistic combination of ideas and abilities.
Communication and information exchange may be facilitated and increased,
“Greater autonomy, variety, identity significance and feedback for workers can occur”. (Hf.faa, 1997).
Team members can provide social facilitation and support for difficult tasks and situations.
There are also disadvantages to team work. Conflict can occur when there are too many team members who believe they are experts and these members should be reminded that there is no I in team. If people can’t look past their egos conflict or resentment could possibly arise which could result in members of the team being unwilling to accept other perspectives. If there is more conflict that innovation it is harder to achieve team goals.
- “Unequal Participations” (Daniellapaul.wordpress. 2012)
In some teams some members could allocate others to do most of the work which could lead to resentment in the workplace.
- Limiting Creativity
Team working may also limit creative thinking, on working they do not take their ideas into consideration.
- Inherent Conflict
At least some conflict will occur when a group is created to achieve a goal, this usually occurs when some members find it difficult to accept differences of opinions.
- Individuals Who Are Not Team Players
Not all people exert themselves well as part of a team. Some people are better at working alone. These people in the correct environment may work excellently but can have difficulty adapting to a certain work culture resulting in dissatisfaction across the team.
- “Longer Process” (Daniellapaul.wordpress. 2012).
Sometimes a team can take longer than anticipated to achieve it a desired goal. There are processes a team needs to go through in order to reach a goal. They must go through selecting, organising and socialising before completing the task. It is also possible a team go through more resources than anticipated leading to added expenses.
A working team is “two or more people who must coordinate their activities to accomplish a common goal”.
The common goal and the required coordination make them a team. Coordination must be required to accomplish the task in order to be a team.
A working team:
- Enhances success
- Promotes creativity
- Builds synergy
- Solves problems
- Is fun and reduces tension and conflicts
- Helps both large corporations and small groups.
- Responds to the challenge of change.
Basic elements of a working team is ensuring each goal is the responsibility of all team members. Team goals are as important as individual goals while individual competiveness is reduced on a winning team. In a working team communication, mutual understanding, respect and cooperation is increased among team members.
Good team work starts with a shared understanding of its importance. Many organisations recruit people with an aptitude for demonstrating team work. Although team members have clear and designated responsibilities, they help others when required. Good team work behaviours are recognised and rewarded. Team working is built into the organisation culture and has to be carefully nurtured.
Example: Cyber Security team is a working team at Computer Express, they have the common goal of keeping the security of the company.
A special purpose team is used to help increase productivity, quality and to provide a support system for each member of the team. When people work together, they are able to get feedback on their work and help when they need it. It is the group forming to produce a one off project, for example a one off event.
On a special purpose team, members:
- Conduct research
- Work separately on the same problem then compare results.
- Examine a case and complete a project
- Work out a solution to problems by role playing a real life situation.
Example: Computer Express Ltd.’s online infrastructure team were specially put together to develop our website and then were disbanded.
Groups composed of members from two or more departments or areas working together to solve a problem or handle a situation that requires capabilities, knowledge and training not available from any one source. Also described as a multidiscipline team, “the group is composed of members with varied complimentary experience, qualification and skill that contribute to the achievement of the organisation’s specific objective. For example a multidisciplinary team consisting of doctors, nurses, cooks, lab techs, housekeepers and others work together to care for you”. (Business dictionary.com
2017). Members of multifunctional teams or cross functional teams come with diversity of experiences and knowledge. This diversity can help create synergy and broaden perspectives. There could be good advantages for a team to create a greater effect leading to a high level of creativity.
The multifunctional “team are not without their disadvantages. The team can take significantly longer to develop cohesion because members come from different experience and backgrounds. The team” leader must take care managing team relationships because there may be a high level of conflict “unit rivalry, egos and possible conflict between the interest of the various parts of the organisation“.(Study, 2017).
Example: Management teams in different physical locations (head quarters may be in two different countries) brought together to manage Computer Express Ltd.
A virtual team works with each other from different locations across the world with communications devices such as, email, fax, and video or voice conference service. Powell, Piccoli and Ives define virtual teams in their literature review article “as group of geographically, organisationally and/ or time dispersed workers brought together by information and telecommunication technologies to accomplish one or more organisational tasks”. (Dice. 2017).”Task processes actions that team members carry out in order to accomplish their goal and complete the project. The three main tasks processes are communication, co-ordination and task technology structure fit.” (Dice, 2017).
The big disadvantage with a virtual team is the lack of an efficient communication medium. Humans communicate better with their body language or face to face. Poor leadership in an incomplete team can become a problem. An incomplete team can lead to a lack of knowledge in order to complete the assigned task. A team with poor leadership can have a negative effect on other members.
Cultural diversity people from different cultures are more prone to engage in group decision making and this in combine conflict management. The mix back ground encourages creativity and produce perceptions making it more likely that more than one option is discovered and measured.
With cultural diversity virtual teams are a more equal workforce. Prejudges against race, age and gender are less likely by forcing individuals to interact with others whose differences challenge assumption. Virtual teams can “save travel cost, significant expenses for businesses with multiple locations or having clients located in multiple places”. The use of virtual teams also allows the employee to contribute to multiple assignments within the company that could located on different locations. This assists the company to employ a new member to do the same job.
A management team is a team of managers brought together to oversee the success or failure of the company. They meet regularly, weekly/ monthly/ annually to discuss the future of Computer Express Ltd. They are in charge of hiring and firing,
For effective team management, it is important that the team leader is more of a mentor to his team members rather than being a straight boss. Understand your team members very well. Ensure that each and every team members willingly participates in a team discussion. Do not discuss team issues separately but with all team members.
Every team member should get the same information and should have easy access to the superiors in case of any query. Lose talk, blame games, dirty politics should ‘find no place’ in the team. If you come to know anything about someone it is better to discuss it with them face to face or else ignore.
Belbin’s (1981) team role model was proposed after conducting a nine years study on team building and team effectiveness with a multi method technique compiling personality critical thinking inventories and observational methods (Duce Wicz 1995). A team role was termed as prototype behaviour characteristics of the way a team member interrelates with another in order to assist the progress of the team all together. The team role model (Belbin 1981, 1993, 2001) proposes nine team roles to reflect the way in which individuals behave, contribute, and interrelate with others in a work team. These team roles are named Planner (PL), Resource Investigator (RI), Co-ordinator (CO), Shaper (SH), Monitor Evaluator (ME), Team Worker (TW), Implementer (IMP), Completer-finisher (CF) and Specialist (SP).
Implementers are conventional, precise, controlled, efficient, stubborn, logical, sincere, stable, systematic, disciplined, reliable, and conservative and can turn ideas into practicalities. They can be slow to respond to new prospects.
Team workers could be described as extroverted, likeable, loyal, stable, submissive, helpful, unassertive, and uncompetitive, co-operative, gentle, understanding and diplomatic. They listen and like to prevent conflict. However, they can be indecisive in critical situations.
The co-ordinator is usually dominant, trusting, extroverted, developed, positive, self-controlled and self-disciplined. They deal with a conflict with maturity and confidence. They would be a good chairperson who is able to clarify goals, promote decision making and delegate tasks equally. They can however also be seen by others as manipulative and often abandons personal work to others.
A specialist can be seen as an expert while being defensive, disinterested in others, severe, self-disciplined, competent, single-minded and enthusiastic with great knowledge and skill which focusses on procedures.
A shaper could be seen as harsh, anxious, arrogant, dominant, competitive and emotional. They would also fall under the bracket of being extrovert, impatient, impulsive, sociable and disobedient who prospers on pressure and processed the ambition and valour to overcome difficulties. They tend to be prone offending other team member’s mind-sets.
An effective team is open to discussion and makes influence to the group. If discussion is reasonable members are more prepared to listen and to learn from what they are hearing. An effective team reaches a decision by a process of convincing members by logical argument.
Using situation leadership under various circumstances, styles and working progress to achieve its goal and making the necessary changes to improve performance.
With effective team members in a team there is a higher rate of success. Effective team members will communicate clearly the necessary information by discussing the status of the tasks in progress. They will clearly define goals providing all team members with an understanding of what the team are attempting to achieve which helps the team to reach the goal of the project successfully.
An effective team member who shows leadership will motivate team members, facilitate communication and build trust within the group. They will benefit the team through evaluating results.
With effective team members on a project morale is high and priorities lie within the agenda.
When there are ineffective members on a team reaching goals becomes more challenging. An ineffective team member may not put in as much effort as other members which adds to the workload and pressure of reaching goals successfully.
Ineffective team members can break down the trust in a team if they misuse information that was shared confidentially, cannot keep a secret or talk about the problems affecting others while retaining information on their own issues. This may lead to members being uncomfortable sharing ideas or information resulting in a communication break down within the team.
An ineffective team member may pursue personal goals that do not coincide with the team agenda, causing the team to stray from a successful goal.
If an ineffective team member blames others, makes excuses for non-performance, are unnecessarily negative or lack sensitivity team morale lowers and conflict can occur. A lack of agreed objectives can create an atmosphere full of tension. Tensions can sometimes burst into destructive conflict and with clashes of personality members do not really hear what others are saying.
Effective Teams (Strengths)
Ineffective Teams (Weaknesses)
|The task or objective of the group is well understood and accepted by the members||It is difficult to understand what the group task is or what the objective are|
|There is a lot of discussion which everyone participates, but the decision remains the task of the group.||A “few people tend to dominate the discussion. Often their contributions are way off point” (Eventus. 2017).|
|The members listen openly to each other. Every idea is given a hearing||“People do not really listen to each other. Ideas are ignored and over ridden” (Eventus. 2017)|
|Most decisions are reached by a form of consensus in which everybody agrees.||“Actions are taken prematurely before the real issues are either examined or resolved”. (Eventus., 2017)|
Multi-team systems as an organisational form are designed to enable complex and height specialised teams to coordinate, communicate and co-operate in the name of shared subordinate goals.
For example, in healthcare, such models have been implemented in the form of teams working together toward shared goals of optimising the quality and safety of care delivered. Accomplishing this requires multiple teams to work interdependently, as well an effective boundary spanning integration, and shared leadership. In organisations that operate as part of a larger healthcare system this also means that teams interact with and share with other teams that are external to their organisation.
Improving core quality and patient safety requires coordination and integration of many moving parts that are driven by diverse multidisciplinary care providers, staff, and administrators who are often nested across multiple organisations. As such, many of the benefits associated with a multi-team system in this context line up with those documented in the organisational behaviour and team literature.
Perhaps the most important is the advantages that multi-team systems offer as organisational structures are well suited to address complex problems induced by large size teams, task specialisation and geographical dispersion.
Small pockets of improvement can be achieved by individual teams for a short period of time, however, sustained improvement in care processes and outcomes at that scale requires an integrated system of teams with a shared understanding of mutual goals, communication and informal learning mechanisms to share progress, lessons learned and leadership who are explicitly focused on alignment and integration of parallel effort.
Multi-team systems are designed to meet an overall goal that is beyond the capacity of an individual team goal that can only be achieved through the co-ordinate effort from all component teams.
One of the most prominent reasons for multi-team conflict is simply the nature of the team. Other causes of conflict may be work interdependence, goal alterations and differences in awareness. Team members who violate important aspects of the group normally receive some type of corrective or defensive response.
When multi-teams share some interest and their directions seem parallel, each multi-team group may view the other positively; however, if the activities and goals of the multi-team groups differ they may view the other in a negative manner.
When trying to prevent or correct multi-team conflict it is important to consider the history of relations and background between the groups in conflict so as it does not repeat itself.
Conflict causes changes to occur. The multi-team members will usually overlook individual differences and with this concerted effort the focus is on the task. The multi-team can become more efficient and effective at what they do, and members can be more loyal by closely following group norms. Haughtiness and isolation quickly lead to decreased communication. “Communication is key between groups in reciprocal interdependence, and these have the highest negative consequences for lack of effective communication” (Scribd. 2017). Miscommunication can be the death of any organisation.
There are also barriers multi-teams face these include a fear of losing power, no “perceived benefit, corporate philosophy, top leadership reluctance or a lack of knowledge”. (Assignmentpoint. 2017).
There are many ways to avoid conflict including simple abstention where possible, problem solving, altering variables in the workplace and putting in place disagreement resolution programs. A face to face meeting for problem solving is usually helpful in conflicts of disagreement or language barriers. The multi-team can discuss problems and suggestions with or without a facilitator to resolve the issue.
The purpose of a team is to accomplish an objective at exceptional levels of performance and an effective team must be judged against its results. Team development is a process which increases team effectiveness through steps to achieve exceptional results.
There are core areas the team needs to improve to work or to be a successful team.
We encourage real learning of critical listening and discussion skills important for any team to attempt to accomplish a difficult task. It is important for any team to analyse issues that you have in a project and it is also important to analyse your successes.
Leadership is given and assumed naturally, and it can be expressed in many ways. Team members attempting to solve problems on a challenge course have many opportunities to develop and exercise leadership skills. The best leaders could be seen as those who work their way up to the highest position. Anyone can be appointed as a leader but not everyone has the qualities to be a successful leader.
Everyone focusses on a common goal, this is important because it gives clarity. Focussing on a goal gives a clear vision of what direction a team is headed to achieve the end result. Focussing on a common goal also eradicates any unnecessary stages that are not associated with completing the task. A common goal brings the team together for one common purpose.
Team work is the key element that allows the group to meet a challenge successfully. The experience makes it clear that each individual can accomplish more as a member of a team than doing it alone.
Feedback enables a team to contemplate and reconstruct what accomplishments they have made to reach the goal. Feedback also opens up communications among team members and activates communication within the group.
This is one of the most important areas. Learning is important because it reduces the risk of committing the same mistake that occurred during the process. It also inspires new and more proficient ways of achieving a goal and reducing the amount of the work a team member may have.
Teams are a common rearrangement in today’s workplaces. Any management who works with or supervises a team should be acquainted with how they progress over time. The most well-known system for group development was advanced by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. Originally, Tuckman acknowledged four stages of team development which included the stages of forming, storming, norming and performing.
The forming stage is the first stage of group development and signifies the period when members come together and he categorised it as a time of, ‘anxiety and uncertainty’. (Study.com, 2015). At this stage, members of the team are cautious with their behaviour, which is driven by the desire to be accepted by all members of the team. Disagreements, disputes and personal opinions are avoided by members but they are beginning to establish intuitions and are expanding their understanding of what the group will do together.
Usual outcomes of the forming stage contain factors like acquiring an understanding of their team purpose, determining how the team will be organised and who will be responsible for what, discussion of major milestones or phases of the team goals.
The second stage of team development is known as the storming stage. This is the stage where conflict and competiveness are at its highest point. Team members now have an understanding of the task and a general feel for who they are as a team, and are confident enough to begin addressing some of the more significant topics around the team as a group. Such issues can relate to things like the team’s tasks, individual roles and responsibilities or even with the team members themselves.
The storming stage is where the more dominant team members develop and other less confrontational members withhold their feelings the same as they did in the previous stage. Even though these members remain quiet, they may still have issues. All team members have an increased need for explanation. They begin to ask questions regarding issues of leadership, rules, responsibilities, assembly, evaluation, criteria and reward systems during the storming stage. These questions must be addressed for the team to move to the next stage of development.
Once a team receives the clarity that it needs it can move on to the third stage of team development known as the norming stage. The norming stage is the time where the team become a cohesive unit. Morale is high as team members actively acknowledge the talents, skills and experience that members bring to the team.
A sense of community is established and the team remains focussed on their purpose and goal. The team members become more compliant, interdependent and the level of trust is greater than previous stages. Leadership is communal and team members willingly adapt to the needs of the team. Information emerges well and is unrestrained because team members feel secure in the norming stage.
At its peak the team moves into the fourth stage of group development known as the performing stage. The team is more usefully aware of what it is doing. The team has a mutual understanding of their tasks and goals without a need for a leader to be involved. There is an emphasis on over achieving goals and the team makes most of the decisions against principles agreed with the leader. They have a high level of autonomy.
Differences do still occur, however, they are now resolved within the team optimistically and necessary changes are made by the team collectively in order to benefit everyone. The team now has a sense of community and look after one another. The team does not need to be instructed or assisted by a leader delegating tasks or projects but may ask for assistance from their leaders regarding personal and interpersonal development.
Bruce Tuckman advanced this theory around 1975 when he included a fifth and final stage to the forming, storming, norming, performing model. He named this phase the adjourning phase. Adjourning is perhaps more of an attachment to the original four stage model rather than an addition. The adjourning phase is applicable to the people in the team and their wellbeing. It does not address the task of managing and developing a team which is fundamental to the original four stages.
Tuckman’s fifth stage of adjourning breaks-up the team when the task is successfully accomplished. It agrees that everyone can move on from the project or task and that its purpose has been fulfilled. Exposures in this stage however need to be looked at by companies as many members begin to feel insecure because of the close bonds the team has made over the course of the project and the reluctance to end this union.
(Project Management Skills, 2016)
A team leader is someone who provides direction, instruction and guidance to a team who can also be known as a team leader for the purpose of achievement and certain goals. An effective leader will know their team member’s strengths, weaknesses and motivation.
- Self -Awareness
A realistic leader is able to indicate the team’s strengths and weaknesses without any prejudice. A lot of effort is put in in order for them to face their fears and show their strengths.
An authentic leader leads from the heart. They should possess courage and empathy and not be afraid to listen to what the team members hearts are saying either. (Yscouts. 2017).
- Focus on the Results
Authentic leaders don’t waste time needlessly agonising over temporary setbacks or falls. They are able to focus on the future results. They should know that hard work pays off in the long run. (Yscouts. 2017).
Strength of character is important for reliable leaders. They can show this by not saying things that they don’t mean to their team. This quality earns the leader respect. Team members can put their trust in them because they are able to keep their word. (Yscouts. 2017).
Dependable leaders lead with purpose and vision. They can improve value to people they network with and help them achieve advanced professional goals and help the team member aim for and achieve excellence. (Yscouts. 2017).
- Listening Skills
An authentic leader is always has an open and empathetic ear even when a team member challenges their opinions. They should be able and prepared to consider those viewpoints with an open mind and agree to change their opinion if needs be. (Yscouts. 2017).
Leaders should have confidence in open communication and be able to unite their straight forward manner with compassion. It is important their public and private image do not differ too much as they need to have the audacity to show who they really are.
Good leaders need to be consistent. They must be able to stick to their principles showing that they are not easily persuaded by superficies.
- Sharing Successes
Sharing success is something that sets an authentic leader apart. It builds good team ethic giving credit where it is due while also sharing the success and achievements with the entire team.
- Learning from Life
There is no better teacher than life itself and successful leaders draw from lessons learnt in their lives.
- Lead by Example
A good leader is one whose words and actions are one in the same. One who leads by example gets involved. Teams which such leaders have enjoyed extraordinary success.
A co-operative leader is one with a visible commitment to the team. They have a strong sense of collectiveness and want their team to survive and thrive.
A strong leader will learn the art of compromise. Compromising demonstrates a willingness to be a good listener and develop trust in order to resolve problems through negotiation.
Feedback can be mistaken for criticism by team members. What could be regarded as negative criticism is actually constructive criticism and can help formulate better decisions to improve performance. It can actually motivate the people to perform better. Continued feedback is important to an organisation in order for the team to continue united to goals, generate strategies, and develop skills. Continued learning is the crucial to succeeding.
Constructive feedback is that which provides accurate, objective feedback. The participant and the organisation are both able to receive reports delivered by sophisticated procedures. This is extremely useful particularly when working with large groups to help build on the organisation’s reputation.
Delivering effective feedback is highly underestimated as a competence and if it is delivered well it can quickly assist in producing high accomplishing individuals, team coaches and trainers. It builds relationships through skills and trust.
Without appropriate and timely feedback, others are forced to make assumptions about how they are perceived and that can quickly culminate in conflict and misunderstanding. The whole purpose of offering feedback is to help people change in the future by reinforcing positive behaviours. Increasing the effectiveness of feedback will help to increase influence on those receiving the feedback. Delivering honest, carefully constructed feedback will add depth to the relationship. The person receiving feedback will have a clear understanding of expectations and actions they need to take in order to improve or sustain their performance. (Selfawareness. 2013).
Delivering effective Feedback:
- Be constructive, “clear and specific about behaviour, the result and the intended action”. (Selfawareness. 2013).
- Set aside a time and a place where you can talk without interruption. (Yscouts. 2017).
- Actively involve the other person in the process” (Yscouts. 2017).
- Explain the positive and negative significances of their behaviour. Team members usually respond to positive reinforcement beneficial to both them as an individual and the organisation they work with. If negative consequences need to be explained this should be done objectively and without coming across intimidating.
- Enhance power to the situation by including personal feelings.
- Avoid being abrasive or sarcastic as it diminishes from the goal of changing behaviours.
- Keep away from meaningless feedback that has little or no value and can give the idea that you are not concerned.
- Focus on future actions and how they will be achieved. (Selfawareness.org.uk, 2013).
- Improve self awareness
- Enhance self esteem
- Raise Moral
- Encourage people to want to learn
- Offer reassurance
- Improve individual performance
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