Group: A collection of two or more interacting individuals with a stable pattern of relationships among them, who share common goals and who perceive themselves as being a group.
Essentials of a group
Perceive themselves as part of group
Team : A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
This definition highlights the essentials of a team or in other words the team basics. Here the focus or emphasis is on three characteristics – small number, complementary skills and commitment. These are what basically differentiates a team from a group and makes a team something much more productive and result oriented than a group. We shall analyze them:
Small number – five to ten people
Complementary skills – appropriate balance or mix of skills and traits
Commitment to a common purpose and performance goals – specific performance goals are an integral part of the purpose.
Commitment to a common approach – team members must agree on who will do a particular job & develop a common approach.
Mutual accountability – at its core, team accountability is about the sincere promises we make to others & ourselves – commitment & trust.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GROUP AND TEAM
Strong, clearly focused.
The group’s purpose is the same as the broader organizational mission.
Individual work products.
Runs efficient meetings.
Measures performance indirectly by its influence on others.
Discusses, decides, and delegates.
Shared leadership roles.
Individual and mutual accountability.
Specific team purpose that the team delivers.
Collective work products.
Encourages open-ended discussions, active problem solving meetings.
Measures its effectiveness direct by collective work products.
Discusses, decides, & does real work together.
Very often we use the word team work in our organizational context without perhaps fully understanding what we mean by team work. Team work is an abstract concept. It represents a set of values that:
Encourages behaviours such as listening & responding to view points of others, giving benefit of doubt to others.
Providing support to those who need it.
Recognizing the interests & achievements of others.
Also promote performance as individuals and the performance of the entire organization.
RESISTANCE TO TEAMS IN ORGANISATIONS
Though a very large number of people believe in the argument for greater focus on teams, yet when it comes to using the team approach, the people are reluctant to rely on teams. Three primary sources for people’s reluctance about teams that stand out are:
Lack of conviction : Some people do not believe that teams, really do perform better than individuals. Others think that teams are probably useful, from a human relations point of view, but are hindrance when it comes to work productivity and decisive action.
Personal discomfort & risk : Many people fear or do not like to work in teams. Most people’s discomfort with teams, however is because they find the team approach; too time consuming, too uncertain or too risky.
Weak performance ethics: Some organizations lack compelling purpose that would appeal rationally and emotionally to their people. At worst, the environment of internal politics or external public relationship undermines the mutual trust and openness upon which teams depend.
TEAM DEVELOPMENT & PERFORMANCE
“ Great people don’t equal great teams .” –Tom Peters
Working Group Pseudo Team Potential Team Real Team High Performance Team Team Effectiveness Performance Impact
TEAM PERFORMANCE CURVE
Working Group : Presents a fewer risks. If performance aspirants can be met through individuals doing their respective jobs well, the working group approach is more comfortable and less disruptive.
Pseudo Team : This is a case where there is a need of incremental performance. Pseudo teams are the weakest of all.
Potential Team : This team is making an effort to improve its performance, however it requires more clarity about purpose, goals & more discipline in evolving a common approach.
Real Team : Real teams are a basic unit of performance.
High Performance Team : This is a group that meets all the conditions of Real teams, and has members who are also deeply committed to one another’s personal growth and success.
CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE TEAMS
Team members should feel that their participation is important and personally beneficial to them.
Teams should only remain intact as single entities so long they are working on a particular problem.
Whenever possible, the team should include some of the persons who will be responsible for implementing the decision.
Members of a team must possess the appropriate balance or mix of skills and traits.
A team should be around of 5 to 15 members maximum.
Members of the teams should have knowledge and information that is relevant to the problem and task.
It is necessary for the team to select a leader.
The influence of members on decisions in teams should be based on their capacity to contribute ( relevant expertise) and not on the authority they possess in the organization.
Team decisions should be integrated with the normal or regular decisions of the departments or units from which the members are drawn.
Conflicts that develop within should be confronted and resolved with a problem solving approach, instead of being avoided or smoothed over.
CHARACTERISTICS OF INEFFECTIVE TEAMS
You cannot easily describe the team’s mission.
The meetings are formal, stuffy, or tense. People do not do their best in an uncomfortable atmosphere.
There is a great deal of participation but little accomplishment. Some teams exhibit to talk but much action.
There is talk but not much communication. Many teams are composed of very talented people who enjoy talking but not listen to the contributions of others.
Disagreements are aired in private conversations.
Decisions tend to be made by the formal leader with little meaningful involvement of other team members.
Members are not open with each other because trust is low.
There is confusion or disagreement about roles or work.
People in other parts of the organization who are critical to the success of the team are not cooperating. There is rarely a period in a team’s history when external relations are not important.
The team is over loaded with people who have the same team player style. Style diversity leads to looking at all aspects of team effectiveness.
The team has been in existence for at least three months and has never assessed its functioning. Periodically , teams need to assess progress towards goals and to evaluate team process.
CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE TEAM MEMBERS
Besides seeing the characteristics of an effective team as well as an ineffective team, it would be prudent to examine the characteristics of effective team members. It will be observed that organizational failures often are not a result of poor leadership but of poor follower ship. An effective team member is, therefore, on who:
Understands and is committed to group goals.
Is friendly, concerned and interested in others.
Acknowledges and confronts conflict openly.
Listens to others with understanding.
Includes others in the decision making process.
Recognizes and respects individual differences.
Contributes and respects individual differences.
Values the ideas and contributions of others.
Recognizes and rewards team efforts.
Encourages and appreciates comments about team performance.
EFFECTIVE DECISION MAKING
PROCESS OF DIVISION
Individual strength tested
PROCESS OF CONSENSUS
Strength united through consensus
FACTORS FACILITATING CONSENSUS BUILDING
Concern for others . The basis of consensus is respect and concern people have for one another.
Listening. A consequence of respect and concern for others leads members to listen carefully to what others say, rather than being obsessed with their own ideas about a problem.
Identifying and using resources . In order to make a good decision it is necessary that all the resources are utilized.
Testing consensus and disagreements . A consensus is reinforced when after some amount of discussion the members of the team examine if there are still some disagreements; and such disagreements are allowed to be expressed and discussed.
Discussing underlying assumptions and logic . When people discuss their own suggestions and ideas with their reasons and underlying rationale, then the movement towards a common understanding becomes easier and the team consensus is achieved.
Process orientation . A team which spends some time on the process is able to develop consensus faster. Instead of being concerned only with the task, the team is also concerned about: Whether people have withdrawn as a result of any hot exchange feelings? How many are speaking and how many remain silent? How fast is the team progressing etc.
FACTORS HINDERING CONSENSUS BUILDING
Domination by few .
Withdrawal. Occurs when few members dominate.
Tendency to make quick decision . When members of the team rush to make decision very fast, the possibility of consensus decreases.
Testing strength . In the process of decision making, if decision is made either on the basis of numerical strength or on the strength of argument, the team splits.
Avoiding confrontation . When the members of a group avoid confronting with differences in making the choice by continuous discussion, the possibility of consensus decreases. Use a third party for intervention.
Trading or comprising . People in order to get their suggestion or point of view accepted, trade their own point of view with some others which reduces the possibility of consensus.
THREE PROCESSES OF CONSENSUS BUILDING CONSENSUS BUILDING PROBLEM SOLVING PROCESS Priorities Multilevel analysis Alternatives Consequences of alternatives Criteria for discussion Review TASK FACILATATING PROCESS Initiative Information seeking Information giving Summarizing Synthesizing Time keeping GROUP BUILDING PROCESS Listening Expressing feelings Gate keeping Supporting Process review
Decision by consensus .
Team building exercises focus attention on development of consensus in effective decision making.
Decision making involves making a choice from the available or generated alternatives.
Decision by consensus creates synergy in the team.
The single most important factor distinguishing effective from ineffective teams is the ability of team members to listen to each other.
It is a skill that serves as an under-pinning for all the other determinants of effectiveness.
In another sense, active listening helps team players develop self understanding.
ACTIVE LISTENING EXAMPLES
To convey interest in what the other person is saying.
To encourage the individual to expand further on his or her thinking.
To help the individual clarify the problem in his or her own thinking.
To get the individual to hear what he or she has said in the way it sounded to others.
To pull out the key ideas from a long statement.
Yes, go on or Tell us more.
Then the problem as you see is …….
This is your decision then and the reasons are ….If I understand you correctly you are saying that we should ...
Your major point is …
You feel that we should ….
To respond to a person’s feelings more than to his or her words.
To summarize specific points of agreement and disagreement as a basis for further discussion.
To express a consensus of group feeling.
You feel strongly that …..
You do not believe that ….
We seemed to agreed on the following points….., but we seem to need further clarification on these points.
As a result of this discussion we as a group seem to feel that
Disagreement is a euphemism for conflict.
Groups have to learn the requisite conflict-resolution skills.
Disagreements are to be encouraged and accepted as a natural consequence of a dynamic, active organization.
Effective teams create a climate in which people feel free to express their opinions even when those opinions are at odds with those of other team members.
ASPECTS OF CONFLICT
Diverts energy from more important activities and issue.
Destroys the morale of people or reinforces poor self- concepts.
Polarizes differences in values.
Deepens differences in values.
Produces irresponsible and regrettable behaviour such as name calling and fighting.
Opens up issues of importance resulting in their clarification.
Results in the solution of the problems.
Increases the involvement of individuals and internal cohesiveness.
Causes authentic communication to occur.
Serves as a release for pent up emotion, anxiety and stress.
Helps build cohesiveness among people sharing the conflict, celebrating in its settlement, and learning about each other.