Dynamics of Teamwork


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Dynamics of Teamwork

  1. 1. Lesson 16 Dynamics of teamwork Introduction Often a group of people get together and it is up to a leader to transform this group into a high performance team. What happens when a group starts? This initial stage of team development is described in Tuckman’s model as the forming stage illustrated below. When the group initially comes together or when new members join the group: • People tend to be polite, with true feelings withheld from fear of upsetting others or giving the wrong impression. • Each individual in his or her own way will be trying to answer the question “Will I be accepted?” • People will try to avoid controversy or serious topics and ideas will tend to be kept to simple ones. • The group is trying to establish why it is there. Its identity and purpose. • Limited group identity and strong dependence on the leader as individuals each handle their own ambiguities and anxieties. They look to the leader to provide positive direction and remove uncertainty. • Depending on the tolerance for ambiguity and needs and style of the members, this stage of strangers getting together can either be smooth and pleasant or intense and frustrating. At this stage people do not know the answers to some of the crucial team questions like: What value do I add to the team? How do I want to be communicated to? How do I not want to be communicated to? What stresses you? How do you know when you are stressed? What are the shared non-negotiable values of the team? What are your high leverage areas? Peter Drucker says, “Tomorrow’s organizations will be flatter, information-based, and organized around teams.” We are already seeing this trend, not only in our corporate organizations, but also in civil government and in schools. Hence, in this lesson we are going to explore how one can take a team from this initial stage and turn it into a highly cohesive, effective force to be reckoned with.I. What is a team? In defining a team it is important to differentiate it from a group: A. A group is: “A number of people who share certain aspects, interact with one another, accept rights and obligations as members of the group and share a common identity”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group (sociology) B. 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.” The Wisdom of Teams, Harvard Business School Press (1993)II. What does the bible say about teamwork? Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda (Student Notes with Answers) 85
  2. 2. A. The bible shows us the need to be interdependent (1 Cor. 12:12-26; 1 Cor. 14:26-33; 1 Cor. 11:11; Dan 2:17). B. The bible shows how Jesus modeled and encouraged teamwork (Mark 6:7). C. The bible shows us how non-team approaches are not an option for Christian leaders (2 Cor. 2:12-13). D. The bible shows us that effective teams have clearly defined roles and specialization (Nehemiah 3). E. The bible shows us that working in a team context can be a source of encouragement and strength (Exodus 17:12). F. The bible shows us the negative consequences of not using a team approach (Prov. 11:14; Prov. 18:1).III. What are the different types of teams? There are various types of teams and depending on the purpose of the team, they will differ in make- up. For example, some teams may need a more autocratic type of leadership (e.g. firemen); whilst others need to draw out the intellectual skills of each member (e.g. consultancy teams). A. Advice teams: to broaden the information base, for example quality circles. Ad hoc teams are also included in this, such as an annual picnic committee. B. Production teams: These are low in technical orientation but have high co-ordination with other groups. C. Project teams. D. Action teams: sport, surgery teams etc.IV. What are the different roles common to most teams? It is important to learn how to use these different role types in such a way that they complement each other. One should also learn how to manage the weaknesses associated with the role types. Most people tend to have one, two or three major team role types. When organizing people into groups and teams, one can use one’s knowledge of these role types to see which combinations will work best. There are times when one has to explore the fit between individuals in a group. This is very significant because many teams have failed in cohesiveness, as there was a conflict in the personalities present. Belbin’s Team Roles are illustrated below: A. Plant Individualistic, original, creative, imaginative and unorthodox. Concerned with fundamentals rather than detail. Thrusting and uninhibited. Easily offended if ideas criticised. B. Co-ordinator Mature, confident, preoccupied with objectives, disciplined, authoritative, charismatic. C. Shapers Dynamic, outgoing, dominant, extravert, task leaders, needs achievement, headstrong and assertive. Sometimes see team as extension of their own ego. D. Resource investigators Extravert, enthusiastic, communicative, exploring opportunities and developing contacts. Likeable, sociable and gregarious. Get bored without stimulus. E. Implementers Disciplined, reliable, stable, controlled, conservative and efficient. Practical organisers. Concerned with reality and the possible. Can be counted on to do reliably what needs to be done. F. Monitor evaluators A capacity for shrewd judgement, sober, strategic, discerning, introverted, serious, prudent, constructively critical and able to assimilate material objectively. Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda (Student Notes with Answers) 86
  3. 3. G. Completer finishers Painstaking, conscientious, introverted, anxious, reluctant to delegate, unassertive, insist on discipline and focus, great capacity for follow through. H. Team workers Sociable, sensitive, mild, perceptive, and accommodating. Build relationships. Communicate concern and care. Promote unity and harmony. I. Specialists Single-minded, self-starting, dedicated. Providing knowledge or technical skills. Priorities geared to their area of speciality rather than the team. Sometimes this lead s to the “silo” mentality where they work in isolation. Let’s look at two scenarios: Because of the positioning of the personalities, the combination below is likely to work well. Boss (co-coordinator) Shaper Colleague (resource investigator) Subordinate (team-player) Adversely this combination is not likely to work well Boss (implementer) Shaper Colleague (plant) Subordinate (monitor/evaluator)V. What are the marks of an effective team? A. Effective teams are truly cohesive. Patrick Lencioni describes a truly cohesive team culture as having members who: 1. Trust one another. 2. Engage in unfiltered conflict around ideas. 3. Commit to decisions and plans of action. 4. Hold one another accountable for delivering against those plans. 5. Focus on the achievement of collective results. B. Effective teams have a clear purpose. C. Effective teams have many informal aspects. D. Effective teams are participative. E. Effective teams have members who are good listeners. F. Effective teams have civilized disagreement in an intellectual compelling atmosphere. G. Effective teams tend to have consensus decision-making and avoiding of formal voting. H. Effective teams have open communication. Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda (Student Notes with Answers) 87
  4. 4. I. Effective teams have clear roles and work assignments. J. Effective teams often have shared or “roving” leadership. K. Effective teams have good external relations with other teams. L. Effective teams have style diversity. M. Effective teams are characterized by self-assessment. N. Effective teams embrace ALL facets of team dynamics.VI. What are some common hindrances to teamwork? A. An overemphasis on hierarchy and red-tape. Genuine teamwork does not focus on level, hierarchy or status. B. Reward structures that are not team-oriented. You get what you pay for– if you want teamwork, you must reward it. Exhorting team effort while rewarding stars will get you more stars. Most organizations reward individual success, making real teamwork extremely difficult. C. Unhealthy conformity. It is important not to stifle individuality and healthy conflict in the name of teamwork. Avoid ‘groupthink’ by rewarding openness – thank people for bad news and for disagreeing with you. Frowning and being defensive about your views will turn teamwork into conformity. D. Lack of openness. This openness does not mean one should go to the other extreme of accepting endless discussion. Genuine teamwork reduces isolation and makes change less frightening. E. Lack of ongoing self-assessment. Effective teams use a process to review regularly how they are doing. F. Too many generalists and not enough specialists. Team members contribute specialist knowledge, but they should be encouraged to be generalists in the way they behave in the team– at different times leading, enhancing harmony, and generating new ideas. G. Low emotional competence. Good leaders understand how team members differ in terms of their personalities and hidden agendas. H. Perpetuating a team environment that is dysfunctional 5 Dysfunctions of a team – Patrick Lencioni: 1. Inattention to Results 2. Avoidance of Accountability 3. Lack of Commitment 4. Fear of Conflict 5. Absence of TrustVII. What can leaders do practically to foster teamwork? Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda (Student Notes with Answers) 88
  5. 5. The affective (emotional) element of groups can be encouraged by increasing the groupcohesiveness. The socio-emotional aspect of cohesiveness has to do with the feeling and bondingside of the members. On the other hand, the instrumental cohesiveness has to do with themotivational aspects of the members. The following illustrates how cohesiveness can beenhanced. This is useful, as we often do not plan how to build teams; instead we leave them to beineffective and often destructive.A. We can engage in activities that increase the team’s cohesiveness. 1. Socio-emotional cohesiveness Keep the group relatively small. Strive for a favorable public image to increase the prestige of belonging. Encourage interaction and co-operation. Emphasize common characteristics and interests. Point out environmental threats (to rally the group). 2. Instrumental cohesiveness Regular update clarifying group goals. Give each member “a vital piece of the action”. Recognize and reinforce every member’s contribution. Frequently remind them that they need each other to get the job done. Channel each member’s special talents toward a common goal.B. We can engage in teambuilding activities.Teambuilding is needed in order to systematically make teams more effective. The four purposes of teambuilding are as follows: 1. To set goals and priorities 2. To analyze or allocate the way work is performed 3. To examine the way a group is working and its processes 4. To examine relationships among the people doing the workC. We can intentionally create a culture of ownership and self-leadership.Another way in which the instrumental aspect of cohesiveness can be encouraged is through self-leadership. When teams are operating effectively, the potential of each member is starting to bemaximised. This essentially occurs through a culture of empowerment. In order to increasesynergy and empowerment within an organization, leaders need to understand the process ofleading others to lead themselves. This occurs as follows: 1. Encouraging self-reinforcement (getting them to praise each other) 2. Encouraging self-observation/evaluation 3. Encouraging self-expectation (encouraging them to expect a lot from themselves and the team) 4. Encouraging self-goal-setting 5. Encouraging rehearsal (thinking about and practicing new tasks)D. We can ensure that the team has the authority and tools necessary to accomplish itsmission.Leaders can directly impact on the area of design by ensuring that the team is responsible for asubstantial task with clear deliveries, appropriate team-oriented structures are in place; and thatthere is appropriate organizational endorsement for the team.E. We can facilitate a training process in team enhancing factors.Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda (Student Notes with Answers) 89