Balancing Task Team And Individual Management Essay

People in organizations work in teams in achieving stated goals and objectives. The extent to which project success relates to the management of task, the individuals and the teams formation in the pursuance of these goals and objectives are not of equal proportion and need to be well judged and balanced by the leader.

This assignment will use John Adair’s Action Centre Leadership model to related the dynamic between task, individuals and team; critically discussing the extent to which these three needs are related to the management of a successful project.


One person cannot handle whole project, he/she need other individuals an effective team to successfully complete the project. An effective team is a team who has high commitment, is highly appreciated by upper management, is always ready (adaptive) to change open to new ideas and always achieves its goals.

Bailey and Cohen (1997: 4) considers a team as “a collection of individuals who are interdependent in their tasks, share responsibility for outcomes, see themselves and are seen by others as an intact social entity, embedded in one or more larger social systems and who manage their relationships across organizational boundaries.”

Adair’s Action Centred Action (ACT) model will be used to find the dynamic between task, team and individual as relate to managing projects successfully, as this model identifies three core interrelated functions, which explain the management and leaders core management responsibility. These three core function consist task: achieving the team’s goal. team: developing and building your team, so that it’s ever more effective. individual: helping individuals develop their full potential in the workplace.


Davis (2001) identified three factors, which can determine whether the team is effective or not, such as:

The people (individual) within the team: Effective team determining factor for individual aspect

include personal job satisfaction, low or no conflict and power struggles, having job security,

appreciation by management and mutual trust of colleagues.

The organization’s rules and culture: includes the people do thinks and believes of the individuals.

The tasks to be completed: including appropriate leadership, team involvement in decisions, appropriately skilled team members, challenging work, goals and objectives.

According to Davis (2001) it is easy to appreciate the impact of organizational rules and job tasks on each other and on people (individual), but it is much more difficult to understand the impact of individual-related factors on other factors of successful teams of a successful project. Individual related factor such as trust is a major component in forming an effective working team that achieves results. Leaders/ managers are primarily responsible for creating trust.

Adair (1997) describe the best leaders is who balance the task, team maintenance, and individual needs.

Balancing task, team and individual

Adair found that effective leaders pay attention to three areas of need for members of the team: those relating to the task, to the team itself and to individual team members with emphasis on variation with all three interdependent variables.

Teams can be more effective for making decisions effectively and quickly than the traditional hierarchical structure according to the large body of research (Thompson 2008). As group members come and go, due to turnover, promotions, hiring and other reasons; therefore resulted over time change in teams, goals, group tasks etc (George et al. 2008). Teams can be classified on the basis of size, organizational level, composition, potential contribution to organizational performance, objectives, permanent versus temporary. According to Colloquia et al., there are 5 general types of teams such as work teams, management teams, parallel teams, project teams and virtual teams.

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Leadership is the ability to affect human behaviour to accomplish a mission, the act of influencing

people to set and achieve goals (McGraw, 2009). Great leaders are visionary people who are able to achieve results using people. They exhibits authority in themselves and exhume confidence in their team members. Some leaders are democratic, allowing team members to express their opinions. Some are dictatorial, explaining what they want from their teams to the team members to execute. All styles have opportunity and challenges and may be used in certain circumstances.

Team leaders must also realise that there are different types of human traits that can be exhibited among team members. These traits rarely have advantage over others as they are complementary. It is the duty of an effective team leader to identify the trait in individual members of his or her team and know how to use the qualities to advantage. All these traits have the qualities which effective team leaders can exploit and none is better than the other.

Tasks are those activities that need to done in order to achieve the desired goals and outcome. Leader can help to facilitate these tasks by planning the work, allocating the resources, checking performance and reviewing progress. Team maintenance relates to maintaining good relation and building team spirit, training the group, maintaining discipline. Individual needs can be satisfied by attending to personal problems, training the individual, giving them status and praise, meeting their needs and reconciling conflicts between group needs.

To achieve the task, management should make it clear who is going to do what, proper delegation of responsibilities, everyone is clear about the objectives, is adequate authority delegating to the team, are working conditions right for the group, have the time planned affectively, who will cover the absent person, is there adequate resources to complete the tasks.

In building and maintaining the team, management should make it clear is the size of the team is correct, are the right people working together, are the rules seen to be reasonable, is the team motivated to achieve the tasks, is the conflict dealt properly, does the team accept the objectives do the team knows about the expected standards of performance.

In developing the individual, management should make it clear that have the targets been agreed and quantified, does the individual know about their contribution to work, overall result, does the individual got sufficient authority to achieve the task delegate to them and has adequate provisions been made for retaining and training team members.

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According to the Hackman (1987), there are 3 primary definitions of team success, and these relate to the task, social relations, and individuals. A successful team completes its task. While completing the task, team members develop social relations that help them work together and maintain the team. Teamwork should help to improve an individual’s social and interpersonal skills.

Mullins (2010:369) suggests that the action taken by the leader in any one of these area of need will affect one or both of the other areas of need with the ideal position been the complete integration towards the achievement of all three. However, building the team and satisfying individual needs are considered to be part of leadership whilst achieving the common task involves the process of management.

According to Robbins (1998) Individual behavior have key variables, which make up individual difference. Every individual has their own attitudes, personality, values, talent, ability to learn, motivation factors, perceptions. Different nature of these variables (attributes) make individual different.

Attitude is the judgment an individual make about events and people. This judgement can be positive or negative. Basic values influenced attitude and attitude affect the individual behaviour. Sometime attitudes can change, while values are unlikely to change.

Values: Values are the general belief about what is good and bad. Values affect the individual behavior and attitude and difficult to change.

Personality: Individual act and behave in a particular way, which called personality. Personality can be learned and inherited.

Talent: Talent means the intelligence and ability of the individual. Level of person’s talent will depend on how those people perform their job.

Ability to learn: This is related to the change in behavior based on experience and getting new ideas.

Motivation: Motivation means willing to do something with inspiration, not by force. Different individual have different motivating factors, such as money, name and fame etc. According to Bowditch et al the motivation of team members of joining a team, strongly influence cohesiveness of the team and the member’s productivity.

Perception: Different people give different meaning to what they see around them; therefore people perceive things in different ways.

By Knowing about individual differences leaders can understand why individual respond differently. Leaders should appreciate that it is difficult to change values, therefore they may be try to change attitude. As attitude affect behavior, which affect job performance and motivation. The key learning point from these different factors is that if leader want to get best from their team he should appreciate that individuals need to be treated differently.

There is also Myer-Briggs model (1956) which effective team leaders have to contend with. This model is about personality types. Myer-Briggs identified four ways people differ from each other. These are: the way they think; the way they view; the way they feel/perceive and the way they see things. Team diversity include language difference, cultural difference, background difference, qualification difference, class, age, sex and experience also have effects in a team which the leader must manage. Mckenna and Maister draw attention on the importance of group leader establishing trust among the group by helping them understand the behaviours that build trust (Cited in Mullins, 2010).

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Successful project management will require the following list of common tasks for each of the three management responsibilities so that leaders will balance their resources appropriately.




Establish deadlines for project tasks, and explain the quality standards expected.

Ensure that everyone in the team has the skills and training to accomplish the final goal

Help define each individual’s role within the team and agree the tasks they are responsible for.

Clearly state the final goal of the team.

Monitor team relationships, and resolve conflicts where necessary.

Appropriately praise and reward individual team members for their contribution to the team.

Ensure everyone understands the resources, people, and processes that they should be using

If team will be working in smaller teams, appoint a leader for each team, and ensure that he/she is effective and properly trained.

Ensure that one on one time is spent with each member: identify their strengths and weaknesses, their needs, and any special skills they can bring to the team.

Create a detailed plan for how the group is going to reach their final goal.

Work on keeping the team motivated with high morale.

If any team members seem to be lagging behind, coach them until they are back on track.

Identify the purpose of the team and communicate team members.

Identify the style the team will be working in (very formal, relaxed, etc.)

Ensure each team member has the skills to perform his or her role successfully.

Give regular feedback on the team’s performance.

4. Conclusion

Leaders have many responsibilities when it comes to managing their teams. And, it’s easy to get so focused on one area that the others slip by the wayside, leading to an unbalanced, poorly-functioning group. ACL model states that leaders must balance the actions they take across all three key areas if they want their project to succeed. The areas are interdependent; if a leader focuses too much on one area and neglects the other two, then the group will experience problems. The leaders do not necessarily have to divide their efforts equally across these but balance according to the situation and over time. Using a tool like Action Centered Leadership can help any leader stay on top of the most important responsibilities, and keep the group working efficiently, happily, and productively.

John Adair’s simple Action-Centered Leadership model provides a great blueprint for leadership and the management of any team, group or organisation. Good managers and leaders should have full command of the three main areas of the ACL model, and should be able to use each of the elements according to the situation. Leaders who are able to achieve the task; building the team and develop keeping the right balance, gets results, builds morale, improves quality, develops teams and productivity, and is the mark of a success.

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