Dynamic between task, team and individuals

Leadership and team building are inevitable inputs towards the success of any protect. Leadership is about creating an environment where people consistently perform to the best of their ability.

The position of leader in a team is strategic and challenging, without the leader the individual, teams and tasks will have no guide or direction and would most likely soon become unproductive. Thus the main role of leaders is to help the team achieve its common task, to maintain the team’s unity and to ensure that individuals give their best towards the success of any project. To achieve this leader needs to effectively co-ordinate and motivate the individuals into working as a team on specified tasks. This the leader can do by adopting suitable leadership and communication styles, motivating the team, and delegating tasks appropriately to fit individual’s capabilities, expectancies, goals and needs.

The Dynamic between task, team and individual

Project Teams can be defined as the interdependent collection of individuals who work together towards a common goal and who share responsibility for specific outcomes of the organisations.

Individuals come together under a leader to form a team to try to achieve a common task between them. Thus the onus is on the project manager to strategically coordinate the 3 overlapping needs of the team, which are the watch-words of project leadership and crucial to the successful completion of a project.

These needs as captured above are :

Task Needs: Team members feel the need to achieve a common goal/task and derive self-satisfaction. Often times, pressure is built on team members to accomplish a task and avoid frustration. Motivating team members into accomplishing specific tasks leads to project success, thus Project Leaders should adopt the Goal Setting Theory as a powerful motivational tool in setting tasks for the team. Research has shown that the difficulty of a goal/task and how clear it is will affect how hard people will work towards that task. Clear, Precise, and challenging tasks produce better results than vague or easy tasks. Individuals tend to be more motivated by clear and appropriate feedback. Take for instance – What will it mean to me? Or how will I be motivated if I say ‘I’ll try and do my assignments or I’ll do my best to write my assignment? My success rate won’t be as high as when I say ‘I will write my assignment to an “A” standard. Here the task/goal is specific, easy goals are easy to ignore, they don’t motivate or inspire conversely challenging goals are motivating because it is much more a satisfying accomplishment to attain a difficult goal.

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More so, the S.M.A.R.T goal setting method must be adopted in delegating team tasks. The S.M.A.R.T method assumes that if tasks are –

Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time bound.

It will surely lead to higher and more successful project outcomes.

This theory is one of the best motivational theories in personal and team development inculcating it in project helps in achieving tasks, builds the team and satisfies the individuals.

Team Needs: Teams share the need to accomplish a common task or solve a problem & needs of self-belonging. By achieving a common ask, a sense of unity is created within the team which will also affect the individual. A good team will mean you are likely to achieve the common task. If the individuals are fully motivated they will have a greater input to the team and therefore the task. If one of these areas fail or under performs it will affect the other areas dramatically and lead to project and Leadership failure. The challenge for the project manager is to adopt the situational leadership style, motivate and build a cohesive team. If the team lacks cohesiveness, then performance on the task is impaired and the individual satisfaction is reduced

CHARACTERISTICS OF HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

Communicates opening and freely

Provide each other with open & direct feedback

Hold each other accountable

Manage time and effort productively

Fully utilize diverse strengths styles points of view define and follow decision making guidelines

Manage conflict effectively.

Individual Needs: The individual in the teams feels the need to fulfil their own personal needs such as food, shelter, security, respect, and self-actualisation and expectancies. The attainment or fulfilment of these needs affect the individual’s motivation and productivity in a task & team which ultimately impacts on the successful delivery of projects.

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According to Abraham Maslow, The individual need falls into 5 basic categories which he ranked in a hierarchy, stating that the basest need in the pyramid had to be satisfied before an individual could progress to focussing on the needs of the next step.

Conversely, Fredrick Herzberg recommend Job enrichment, enlargement of responsibility, scope and challenge as a means of motivating individuals toward higher productivity and task performance in a team. Here the term motivation describes the feeling of accomplishment, professional growth and recognition, which are experienced in tasks that offer sufficient challenge and scope to the individual and in turn increases sustained satisfaction and increases productivity.

Individual needs should be met along with the team and task needs, not at their expense. The reward of being part of a team should equal individual contribution or inputs, else- it can lead to resentment between team members especially if another team member is perceived as receiving more they deserve. Thus motivation is a combination of

Valence: The perceived value of the outcome (What is in it for me/The individual?)

Instrumentality: Individual belief that completion of tasks will achieve outcomes

Expectancy: The belief that a particular action will lead to a particular fist level outcome.

This is the Vroom’s expectance theory which predicts that individuals in a team will be motivated when they believe that:

Putting in more effort will yield better task performance

Better performance will lead to rewards

Rewards are valued by the individual

SO WHAT? Team and project leaders should always motivate team members by setting adequate challenging tasks, applying the right leadership styles to bond the team together, realising the team and individual motivational factors and applying appropriate strategies to derive desired high performance and project outputs.

Strategic Leadership: At whatever level of leadership, Task, Team and Individual needs must be considered. In order to maintain teamwork, achieve a common task, and satisfy the individual, the project leader has to perform certain functions, this is as opposed to a quality which is an aspect of what they are.

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Defining the task: The ability to motivate teams to undertake tasks

Regulating: the ability to influence the direction and the speed of the work

Informing/Communication: bringing new info to the team as it becomes available

Supporting/Controlling Harmonising, empathizing, relieving tensions, encouraging, Motivating:

Organizing:

Evaluating: helping the group to evaluate decisions or procedures.

If any of these functions are missing, it will affect how the team performs.

Leadership Functions in relation to Task, Team and Individual

THE FUNCTIONS

Defining the task

Regulating

Briefing

Controlling

Evaluating

Motivating

Organising

These leadership functions need to be handled with excellence in tandem with leadership qualities which add functional value to the project at hand.

The Need Quality Functional Value

Task

Initiative

Perseverance

Efficiency

Honesty

Self-confidence

Audacity

Humility

Gets the team moving

Prevents the team from giving up

Work done well at minimal costs

Establishing facts

Facing facts

When not to be restrained by rules or conventions

Facing up mistakes and not apportioning blames

Team

Integrity

Humour

Audacity

Self-confidence

Justice

Honesty

Humility

Integrating the team &creating trust

Relieving tension &maintaining a sense of proportion

Inspire through originality

Trusted by others

Fair hearing builds team discipline

Not selfish, share praise, not arrogant &aggressive

Individual

Tact

compassion

Humility

Honesty

justice

Sensitive in dealing with people

Sympathetic awareness and help

Recognises qualities/abilities &gives credit

Wins individual respect

Fair dealing encourages individuals

Conclusion

Individuals, tasks and teams are the major constants in every project. The success of any project depends on the formation, utilization, integration and interaction of these important characteristics of a project, If one of these areas fail or under performs it will affect the other areas dramatically and lead to project and Leadership failure.

The project leader is posed with the task of effectively integrating these factors to achieve project success, thus should deploy suited leadership styles, motivational and communication method to keep the project at a high productive pace.

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