Beneficial of team work

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford

I personally feel that team work is almost totally beneficial to an organisation and also to its members. Researchers suggest that ‘individuals are better than teams at generating new ideas, but the teams are better than individuals at evaluating ideas’. Before advancing into the argument, let us first try to understand what does the term ‘Team’ actually mean and in turn to understand it we should figure out what does a ‘Group’ mean. A group is a collection of two or more people who often have a face to face interaction among themselves and work in an interdependent manner in order to achieve their common goals.

As mentioned by Katzenbach & Smith, a team is an extraordinary form of a formalised group. He states that a team consists of a small number of people who all are committed to serve a common purpose and achieve their performance goals. It generally operates with a common approach and the people in it are always mutually accountable.

Having got an idea of what a team really means, now let us try to get a pinch of some of the issues that are being faced by them. The following should be taken care for the proper functioning of a team,

  • A pleasant atmosphere should be maintained within it and all its members should sustain a good relationship among themselves.
  • All the members should be made to actively participate in the team.
  • The members should all be made aware and also accept their team goals the up to date information’s should be shared among them.
  • If any misunderstanding arises in the team, they should be resolved as and when possible.
  • Since decision making holds a higher degree of importance, all the team members must be made to participate in it.
  • Performance evaluation should be carried out frequently.
  • Labour should be equally divided among all the members and they should be given the freedom to express their concerns.

In order for the team work to be beneficial to an organisation and its employees the practise of it should be made efficient enough. The effectiveness of such a team could be determined by factors like its design, overall composition and the processes it follows whereas Hackman suggests three different criteria’s for assessing a team’s effectiveness. Firstly, it is the actual output of the team. Secondly, the entire team should work as a performing unit. Thirdly, each member of the team should be satisfied with the experience of working in it.

As already stated now let us study in detail about the various factors that contributes to the effective working of a team.

Effort

There are some factors which intensifies the quantity of effort the members of the team disburse on carrying out the given task,

Work Design

The motivating factor of the team very much relies on its work design. Hackman states that a higher degree of effort is achieved from the team only if the task they perform is found to be challenging, has a major impact on the organisation or its clients, is totally owned by the team and if it gives out regular feedback on the team members performance.

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Reward System

Efforts will be higher if there is a reward system in place. It provides the team with challenging objectives and emphasizes their accomplishment. Hence it directly paves way for the team member’s growth and indirectly aids the organisations augmentation.

Knowledge and Skill

The members of the team should be both technically as well functionally competent. The effective performance of a team mainly depends on the resources (Knowledge and Skill) it possesses in order to complete the given job. The factors that should be taken care are,

Team Composition

A team’s composition is mainly determined by the level of expertise it has pertaining to the performing task. But normally the team’s composition is determined either by seniority or by personal predilections instead of taking into account the ability or the technical expertise it possesses.

Team Size

Though many teams in an organisation tend to be large, it does not paves way for the effective functioning of the team. The major issue being that if the number of members in a team’s increases then the degree of interaction within the team decreases to a greater extent. In addition some people will start finding it difficult to make their contributions. As stated by Handy, the first and foremost reason for the above is that a tendency would start arising for those who make huge contributions to employ most influence and vice versa. The second factor being that the people who are devoid of their contribution could deny the team of their relevant knowledge and skills.

Performance Strategies

Hackman states that a team would almost employ a task appropriate performance strategy based on the following three conditions,

Firstly, the concern about the amount of information available for the team members to be made use while assessing their performance. Secondly, the concern is about the interaction that takes place within the team members which in turn encourages them to make use of the information available. The teams before getting into the actual must do some pre-work to figure out what the work is all about and the process which they should employ. Thirdly, the team interaction not only paves way for newer ideas but also helps the team to no get deviated from the strategic implementation of their ideas. In spite of taking good care during some instances there seems to be some deviation from the chosen approach, which in turn is mainly due to the lacking of quality in the decision making process.

Decision Making

One of the major factors pursued by a team in order to achieve good results both for the organisation and its members is the ‘Decision Making’. All the members of the team should be actively made to participate in the decision making process. Biasing is an important factor that arises during the decision making process. The one being the general biasing where even though there seems to be an abundance of information across all the team members, it is always some peoples voice which could be heard in the decision making process owing to their seniority. The second kind of biasing is called the Epistemic Freezing, which means the team tends to come up with an opinion and once it is shaped up it is left all alone i.e., it is literally let to freeze out.

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The teams normally make accurate decisions when compared to the individuals. There are two reasons to support it. Firstly, when all the members of the team are brought together they all in turn bring about a diversity of knowledge and information which could not be obtained from a single person. Secondly, there would be different approaches by different kinds of people in a team for the problem in progress.

The teams should comprise of a good mix of people in order to make the decision making process effective. It should have a combination with different levels of experiences in the problem they are dealing with. The status of the team members should never be considered in the decision making process, this is because the members with a higher status always try to have some amount of influence on the teams solution to the given problem which in some scenarios could be wrong.

There are number of techniques for performing the decision making process in a team. Some of them are as follows,

Brainstorming

A team of about five to ten people sit together and discuss for about an hour about the issues on which they need to generate newer ideas. It is normally the lead person who initiates the meeting. The entire conversation between the team members are recorded for later assessment.

Delphi Technique

The actual face to face interaction among the team members does not takes place. Initially each member of the group writes down his ideas and solutions to the reported problem, which are then updated in a common database.

Each member of the team are then sent a copy of the other members contributions and are all expected give out their comments for the same. The above process is repeated until the team arrives at a common solution.

Stages of Team Development

There are five stages in the development process of a team. The teams though often keep changing the order of development owing to the constant change of members in it.

Forming

The actual formation of the team takes place in this stage. The team interacts and learns about the challenges and agrees on their goals. This is considered as the most important stage as the basic interaction between the team members takes place here.

Storming

The team argues about the different ideas that are to be considered. Since all the team members actively participate, this stage is considered necessary for the growth of the team.

Norming

The team members start to adjust each other’s behaviour and make work to seem more natural and free flowing. They agree on each other’s rules working methods and ideas. A sense of mutual trust begins to develop among them.

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Performing

The teams begin to perform their tasks as unit without any supervision. The members of the team tend to be become interdependent, motivated and knowledgeable. In this stage the team members care of the decision making processes by themselves.

A team’s success not only depends on its members but mainly on the kind of leader it has. A leader is one who guides as well as acts with his team to achieve their objectives. A good team should have leader who could portray different working styles and also be able to recognise the strengths of his team members as well as tolerate their weakness. Also an excellent team should not be stuck with the one person as its leader all the time.

Team Building

Team are often found to be more cohesive. The factors that add on to it are,

The Common Task

Teams always perform as closely tied unit since they work for achieving a common goal. This unified approach leads to a greater degree of cooperation and job satisfaction among its members which in turn helps the organisation to give out its deliverables at a faster rate.

Communication

When there is a better level of communication among the team members, they begin to help each other and make themselves to get a grip on all the processes. Hence communication paves way for the team to start working as an organised unit.

Size

The team should only have a maximum of 10-12 members. Increases in the number of members tend to have an adverse on the performance of the team.

Belbin has suggested eight roles that could be used while building a team. They are,

Company Workers

A person who is hard working and self disciplined. He has good organising ability and is also pretty dutiful.

Chairperson

A person who has good idea about his team objectives. He is almost confident, calm and treats everyone in the team fairly. He is not all biased.

Shaper

As the name indicates he is the person who challenges and corrects all kinds of deficiencies that is prevalent in the team.

Plant

A person with higher degree of individualism and with radiant imagination and intellectual capabilities.

Resource Investigator

Someone who comes up with newer ideas and solutions for the reports problems. He communicates well with all his team members.

Monitor Evaluator

Someone having good judgemental capabilities and a practical attitude towards work.

Team Worker

He is always calm in nature and interacts with others and induces team spirit among them.

Completer-Finisher

An anxious person who follows order in each and everything he does and has a obsession towards perfection.

Though team work always ends up in success, there are some scenarios which could result for its failure,

  • If there are not enough knowledgeable people
  • Conflicts between the members of the team owing to the portrayal of different characters
  • Incapability of some to perform their assigned tasks
  • Constant changing of the roles of the members within the team
  • Lack of basic ethos to aid the team growth by the organisation
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