.. (1998:12) suggests, ..paying attention to how the team is settling in. Another factor of team building is reminding the team members how important their roles are and the importance of their contribution to the organisation as a whole. As Magee (1997:27) suggests, management should ..help people develop an appreciation of the importance of everyone in accomplishing the ultimate organisational goals. Reminding the team members know of this will raise their exceptance of the team environment and will make their feeling of importance much better, helping team development. In addition to this, an establishment of a team mission could also increase the feeling of importance and direction among team members.
As Kezsbom (1995:40) suggests, the team should ..collectively develop a clear understanding of the end result or the team’s mission. Kezsbom particularly emphasises the word collectively, to facilitate team cohesion and so every viewpoint can be explored due to the differing understandings and expertise of the team members involved. Kezsbom (1995) then adds that without this mission and a direction in which to head, then planning is difficult and a waste of time. What she suggests is correct because a mission gives you a foundation on which to build, operate and plan for the future. The development of a team mission is therefore an important component to consider when team building. To further invigorate the team members, Custis (1996, cited in McGarvey, 1996) even suggests to make achieving the objective sound appealing.
The defining of the team’s mission will then lead to another important factor within teams, that being the clarification of members’ roles. As Denton (1992:88) states, each member of the team should know exactly what role he or she is to play. He then further adds to this explaining that it is only when these roles are clear does the team achieve goals. What Denton suggests is totally true, because if a team member doesn’t know what he or she are to do, then they can’t achieve any team goals, which is why the team was formed in the first place. Without role clarification, no work will get done and the team members become as useful as empty shelf space in a supermarket.
Kezsbom (1995) highlights a method for guiding the role clarification process, called work breakdown structure (WBS). WBS .. analyses the project from top down, and then bottom up, into a mixture of functions, product, processes and activities, Kezsbom (1995:40). This will eventually spell disaster for the team. In clarifying the roles of team members, each person must be accepting of their roles and responsibilities.
Also, workload should be as evenly spread as possible, so no one person is over burdened. A method of limiting this from happening is to give team members the opportunity to participate in the assignment of work, Denton (1992). Once roles and responsibilities have been specified, someone has to act as leader or facilitator. Leaders are a very important component of any team. As Klein (1995:36) points out from the results of a study he conducted, the key difference between the groups where the competition seemed to occur and those where it didn’t was a direct consequence of the behaviour of the supervisory manager of the group, or the behaviour of the team leader.
So, as you can see, team leadership can affect the team’s performance and solidarity. To help keep these two things to a maximum, Denton (1992) suggests that leaders should be able to supply information and clarify issues, encourage participation and protect individuals from being singled out, and they should be able to keep the team on track. Klein (1995) also found that high cohesiveness resulted when leaders were supportive of positive group dynamics and treated the group as a team. Another quality of a good leader is to be approachable with suggestions and complaints. This can greatly help to facilitate interdependence and communication among team members.
As Denton (1992:89) points out, interpersonal communication is the key to teamwork. Another factor that should be looked at is the extent to which a team gels. The more a team gels the better. The best way to get a team to gel is to encourage team bonding. As Denton (1992:87) states, to unify a team, members must..work out relationships with other team members. However, he then points out that there no magical formula to make this happen, stating that sometimes it takes something special for a team to bond, (Denton, 1992:87).
Although there is a lack of method to achieve this, Magee suggests a few things that can foster team bonding. She suggests to, urge team members to spend time together to get to know and share with one another; create a team identity; to share in and take ownership of team successes and failures; and to resolve their internal and external conflicts, (Magee, 1997:28). Although simplicity is not the go when considering how the team should bond, (for example, going to a football match or attending a confidence course), it still acts as an important factor that should be attempted to create cohesion and trust. Another factor to consider is one of the reasons why most people go to work, and that is to receive compensation. The balance between offering compensation for individual work and teamwork is difficult to gauge. As Dumaine (1994) points out, some argue that paying the team as a group is the way to go.
However, as he then goes on to say, your best performers will feel cheated and not justly compensated. On the other end of the spectrum, Ray says ..companies maintain their individual oriented pay programs, then wonder why teams fail, (1996,cited in McGarvey, 1996:80). So, the question is where should the balance be struck? Maybe Klein has found a solution. He suggests that, ..devising reward schemes that meaningfully reward group performance without giving up the power of individual recognition and accountability, (Klein, 1995:38), is the way to go. Although this does not provide a crystal clear solution, it does however, act as a guide to help design reward systems.
The most important fact to keep in mind though is that compensation should be based on both teamwork and individual work. Also of importance is evaluation of the team’s performance, follow – up and continual support. A continual evaluation of how the team is going should be carried out. Here you should evaluate the work of individual members and also the work of the team. As Magee (1997:28) states, incorporate both peer and supervisor evaluations. Through this evaluation, any inefficiencies or conflicts can be identified and worked on for improvement.
Management should also continually follow – up on the team’s progress and performance, and continue to support their teams in their work. To sum it all up, I will quote a passage from Magee’s article that I believe greatly expresses the importance of teams in today’s world of flatter and more flexible organisations. Employees, not employers, really do make the world go round. More often than not, staffs have their fingers on the pulse of problems that management may not even be aware of or may have been trying endlessly to resolve. Because staffs often are so close to the problem, they also may be more capable of identifying the most viable solutions.
And as authors of the solutions, they have a vested interest in their success. Even without a role in developing solutions, staffs are critical to implementation, (Magee, 1997:26). Bibliography References Denton, D.K. (1992). Building a team. Quality Progress, October, 87 – 91. Dewar, D.
(1999). 13 keys to successful teamwork. Workforce, 78 (2), W3. Dumaine, B. (1994). The trouble with teams.
Fortune, 130 (5), 86 – 90. Kezsbom, D.S. (1995). Making a team work: techniques for building successful cross – functional teams. Industrial Engineering, January, 39 – 41.
Klein, S. (1995). Teams under stress: the effects of work pressures and management action. IIE Solutions, May, 34 – 38. Magee, Y.S. (1997). Teams: avoiding the pitfalls.
Public Management, 79 (7), 26 – 28. McGarvey, R. (1996). Joining forces: 12 steps to creating winning teams. Entrepreneur, 24 (9), 80 – 82. Taraschi R.
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2nd edition. Marrickville: Harcourt Brace.