Team Success and Failure
A team is a group of people coming together to collaborate. This collaboration is to reach a shared goal or task for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. A group of people is not necessarily a team.
A team is a group of people with a high degree of interdependence geared toward the achievement of a common goal or completion of a task rather than just a group for administrative convenience. A group, by definition, is a number of individuals having some unifying relationship. Team members are deeply committed to each other’s personal growth and success.That commitment usually transcends the team. A team outperforms a group and outperforms all reasonable expectations given to its individual members.
When individuals gather to achieve a common goal, many interpersonal dynamics play a role in whether or not the team will be successful. Sometimes a team can mesh well together and succeed at anything they attempt; however, other teams, regardless of available resources, seem to flounder in failure. Workplace teams have been studied tremendously in recent years, and there are many reasons found why some teams succeed and others fail.Researchers find that work teams cluster at opposite ends of the success continuum.
Many function beautifully and others fail miserably. Very few are in the middle. The good news is that teams have been so well studied and that people at so many companies have worked in teams for many years. All this research and experience have produced new insights into what distinguishes the successes from the failures. What matters most, it turns out, is how teams are managed and whether the organizations they’re part of provide them with the support they need.There is considerable research which helps managers understand team behavior.
We are all part of teams. Our family is a team. Our place of work is a team. The community groups we belong to are teams.
Sometimes we are the team leader or “coach” while other times we fulfill the role of follower or “player. ” It is so important for us to understand teams and how they work, especially those who achieve success and their achievement of their desired goal. One thing that is important is understanding how people assume roles. Read why
com/level-1-anti-terrorism-awareness-flash-cards/”>security is a team effort
com/level-1-anti-terrorism-awareness-flash-cards/”>security is a team effortWhen a manager is aware of the behaviors associated with a given role and is aware of the employee’s role in a given situation, they can better predict employee behavior and better determine the appropriate actions to address the situation. People assume different roles in different situations. Some roles are assigned; some are the result of circumstance. Research provides managers with the insights such as people play multiple roles and sometimes at the same time. Also, people learn roles from what they encounter and observe around them for instance from friends, family, movies, T.
V. and books.People also shift from role to role very quickly when they realize the situation demands it. Another key factor is understanding group norms. Norms are acceptable standards of behavior shared within a group; they will be different for different groups.
In the workplace, group norms may include simple outward items such as an acceptable style of dress, the manner in which discussions are held, or use of titles, first names, or last names. More subtle group norms may include the level of openness or secrecy among members, or the level of pressure to conform to the group’s norms.Groups can exert great pressure on members to make them conform to the group standards. If a group member deviates from the norms, the rest of the group will often pressure them to corrective action, make them uncomfortable in the group setting, or even punish the person for ignoring the norms.
While managers cannot always affect or control group norms, there are ways that managers can help create and increase cohesiveness in the team. How cohesive members are with one another is the first factor to consider in team success.Once a team is highly cohesive, a member’s commitment and willingness to strive for excellence thrives. Team cohesion affects the extent to which members like one another, get along with each other, and trust and respect one another’s abilities and opinions. Although these characteristics are difficult to observe, managers can look for signs that team members are well-acquainted past superficial meet-and-greet topics. Managers can also determine whether team members equally participate in group discussions and activities rather than forming cliques or subgroups of cohesive units.
Some examples of how a manager can increase cohesiveness in the team are by decreasing the size of the team, increase the time the team spends together, stimulate competition with other teams, give rewards to the entire team rather than only to high performing individuals, physically isolate the team, and/or increase the status of the team and the perceived difficulty to joining the team. Teams differ in the degree to which team members depend on each other, are attracted to each other, respect each other, and are motivated to stay a part of the team. These are the key element to cohesiveness.There is research to show clear relationships between how cohesive or “together” a team is and what the team’s productivity will be like.
If a team’s cohesiveness is viewed in light of team performance norms, the team’s productivity level can be predicted with some degree of accuracy. The goal, of course, is for the team to achieve a high level of productivity. Different teams in the work place always boast about doing a job and being better at it. Other teams want what the successful team has and work harder to get there.
Competition between teams builds cohesiveness.This means striving as a team, not just as an individual. Mistakes will be made, goals will not be met, attitudes will flare, but the team will survive. The more they work and think together to get to a common goal, the more it will bring cohesiveness to the team.
You must think of a team as a strand of chain, there will be a weak link. Helping each other, educating, and sharing the work evenly stops the frustration and tension in a team and this also will help build cohesiveness. Leadership skills are applied to each individual; they are their own boss in a team, thinking as one.Communication and innovation by the team will project their knowledge of the job. Teams are at their best when being competitive with other teams doing the same work at different times.
To build cohesiveness in the work place there has to be a bonding relationship between the team members and the manager. Successful teams take time to build, being competitive and improving skills will bong the team together and they will operate smoother and in time will be successful. When it comes to athletics, sports teams have a specific number of team players: A basketball team needs five, baseball nine, and soccer eleven.But when it comes to the work place, where teamwork is increasingly widespread throughout complex and expanding organizations, there is no hard-and-fast rule to determine the optimal number to have on each team. By evaluating a team’s size, managers are able to maximize productivity to ensure high levels of team performance. The size of the team can impact the overall team behavior.
For example, smaller teams are faster at completing tasks than larger teams. However, larger teams generally do better with more complex problem solving than that of small teams.The greater number of members within a team the more resources available to achieve a goal. However, as team size increases, so does the number of conflicts resulting in decreased levels of cohesion and inefficient productivity. A large team which usually consists of a dozen or so members are good for getting diverse input, which is especially helpful in fact-finding tasks.
A larger team can also be valuable for broader missions where there are many sub-tasks to be done, or there is no immediately pressing deadline for a decision or solution.Strategic planning, for example, tends to work with a large team. In situations like these, the larger team can be broken down into smaller teams to create a more narrow focus. A large team also provides the opportunity to achieve a diverse membership including different ages, genders, experience levels, ethnicity, etc. , which can be a positive factor in brainstorming or visioning.
In contrast, social loafing, which is the tendency to put forth less energy when working collectively than working individually, can negatively affect results in larger teams.Research actually supports the notion that team size is inversely proportional to individual productivity; that is, the larger the team, the less energy the individuals will expend on the task. Large teams can also face some logistical problems, as finding meeting spaces and establishing meeting times that accommodate a variety or schedules can prove challenging. Smaller teams often work better in addressing targeted tasks or technical projects with limited time frames or important deadlines. In general, to be successful, a small team must have a high level of cohesiveness as discussed before.Although the logistics of operating in small teams is relatively easy, members can be susceptible to “tunnel vision” and can get stuck moving in one direction.
It is difficult to achieve a positive level of diversity with a small team, but with care, even a team of 3-5 can offer a variety if individual characteristics. To evaluate whether a team is too large or small, managers must consider how effectively and harmoniously members work together and whether the required tasks are being efficiently accomplished by all members of the team. Homogeneity is the extent to which members are similar or different to one another.The difficulty for most managers is finding the right balance between overly homogenous and overly heterogeneous. When evaluating team homogeneity, a manager can consider similarities and differences in personal characteristics, education, skills, abilities, generational backgrounds, cultural background, and income levels.
Teams that are homogenous tend to be highly cohesive and can easily develop effective communication methods that reduce conflict. Alternatively, teams that are highly heterogeneous have an advantage because members are highly diverse, which leads to more instances of creativity, ingenuity, and resourceful productivity.Teams without some level of diversity may not possess a sufficiently large enough set of skills, wisdom, experience and knowledge to be successful. However, teams that are too diverse may limit the degree to which members can relate to one another and effectively communicate. If the team’s task is one where new ideas, shifting environments, establishing a future vision, or addressing impending change are at issue, diversity is a must.
At least some members of the team need to have familiarity or a level of functional competence related to the task assigned.In this case, the team will not have to spend a great deal of time learning something new. Teams without such expertise may be frustrated or head down a wrong path early on. The team members need to be capable of role identity.
Role identity is the extent to which members are capable of assuming different roles throughout the team structure, thus diversifying efforts and developing subject matter experts. The diverse skills and knowledge that members bring to a team provide a large range of capabilities necessary to achieve a goal.Managers can observe the extent to which a team can recognize the individual potential in each member and identify the role best suited for that member. If not, a team cannot be expected to be highly functional and perform well.
The ability to communicate effectively is one of the core reasons why some teams succeed and others do not. Efficient communication mechanisms are crucial to develop effective teams. In order to understand the extent of a goal and agree upon a path to reach that goal, teams must develop an effective method of communication.Indicators of effective team communication include mellow conversation tones, willingness to consider all opinions, desire to enhance communication frequency, effective conflict resolution, and efficient decision-making processes. Without team communication there is confusion, misunderstandings and unhappy members.
When a team is unable to communicate their thoughts, suggestions or feedback openly, tensions arise. Being candid is every team member’s responsibility to themselves and to the rest of the team. This is not always the easiest path to take and many a time one will need to step out of their comfort zone to say it as it is.However when all is said and done, it is the things which are left unsaid that destroy a team from within.
Team communication allows members to freely express themselves, and can provide accurate and comprehensive information. Communication in a team creates an environment of safety and security. When a member feels the freedom to voice their opinion, they will feel safe as a part of the team. Team communication is significant because it has the ability to either build the team or tear it down. When communication is absent or ineffective in a team, the team unity will suffer.
There will be lack of vision, motivation and purpose for existing. Where there is effective team communication, the team operates with one mind and common goal. The function of team communication is to empower and inform the team with one vision and common goal. Team communication enables the members to be on the same side, which increases motivation and productivity.
Another factor that significantly influences team performance is the degree of stability among members and their managers. Teams that have lower turnover rates experience higher levels of group cohesion, better communication methods, and more effective role identity.In addition to simply evaluating turnover rates, managers can evaluate the degree to which members are comfortably interdependent with one another, which comes with stable and trusting relationships. In any relationship trust is a must, without it there is no team.
Trust is a critical factor in team success. A team that builds its harmony on trust enjoys the ease and enthusiasm that bring success. As team members trust that every one will carry out their responsibility, all can attend their specific functions more completely. The decrease in distractions gives an increase to efficiency.The greater each member of a team trusts other members, the greater strength the team assumes. This unity strengthens the team’s commitment to fulfill its purpose and therefore is more likely to succeed.
The way a team is led will have a major impact upon the success of the team. Studies suggest that it is essential to understand the role of leadership within teams to ensure team success and to avoid team failure. “Not surprisingly, the totality of research evidence supports this assertion: team leadership is critical to achieving both affective and behaviorally based team outcomes.Other researchers have claimed that “effective leadership processes” are the most critical factor in team success. Conversely, ineffective leadership often is seen as the primary reason teams fail.
To ensure team success, we need to focus on and understand the necessary functions of leadership. It is important to note that these functions can be performed by the formal team leader and/or shared by team members. This shared or distributed leadership is referred to as team leadership capacity, encompassing the leadership repertoire of the entire team.Recent research that teams with such shared leadership have certain advantages over single leader teams. The leader has special responsibility for functioning in a manner that will help the group achieve effectiveness.
Within this perspective, leadership behavior is seen as team-based problem solving, in which the leader attempts to achieve team goals by analyzing the internal and external situation and then selecting and implementing the appropriate behaviors to ensure team effectiveness. In addition, leaders must use discretion about which problems need intervention, and make choices about which solutions are the most appropriate.The appropriate solution varies by circumstance and focuses on what should be done to make the team more effective. Effective leaders have the ability to determine what leadership interventions are needed, it any, to solve team problems.
Team leadership is complex. There are no simple recipes for team success. Team leaders must learn to be open and objective in understanding and diagnosing team problems and skillful in selecting the most appropriate actions (or inactions) to help achieve the team’s goals.It is important to note that these critical functions need not be carried out only by the leader. Experienced members in a mature team might share these leadership behaviors. As long as the team’s critical needs have been met, the leadership behavior, whether enacted by the leader or team members, has been effective.
The key assertion of the functional perspective is that the leader is to do whatever is necessary to take care of unmet needs of the team. If the team members are taking care of most of the needs, then the leader has to do very little.