Creating and Fostering Successful Work Teams

Introduction

With the advent of organizational complexity together with the engulfing wave of rigorous transformation that shapes the contemporary business environment, managers have continually witnessed changing employee behaviors. The handling of employee resistance to change at both the departmental and individual levels remains a vital role that managers need to address clearly in a bid to promote smooth work relationships. Today, most organizations have continued to embrace teamwork as a strategy to ensure that the behaviors and actions of the employees align with the corporate culture and strategic plans. This research paper explores the best approaches that managers can utilize to create and foster successful work teams with a view of reducing and preventing employee resistance and division.

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Problem Statement

The organization in question faces repetitive departmental resistance that has continually prevented the cohesiveness and success of the work teams. Resistance poses a significant challenge to business leaders as it implies that the target groups and departments fail to either follow or prevent the implementation of managerial directives. This problem has plunged not only the department but also the organization into failure. The escalation of the resistance within the departments has further resulted in work boycotts and demonstrations. These manifestations of resistance have caused catastrophic effects on the product market, brands, stakeholders, and the organization as a whole.

Strategies of averting Resistance and Fostering Collaboration

Resistance to the implementation of the desired goals can pose devastating results to various business operations as it affects the core elements attached to the organization as the dependent unit. These elements include the suppliers, customers, financial institutions, and product promoters among other stakeholders. Managers are advised to adopt proactive strategies and models in creating work teams that contribute greatly to fostering cohesiveness in the workplace (Bonebright, 2010). Numerous researchers have revealed that technological and financial advantages cannot exclusively propel organizations towards unmatched success. According to Bonebright (2010), workplaces that are led by teams augment open communication and interaction, which are vital components in the development of employee commitment and creativity. As companies restructure, downsize, and reinvent, the leaders must adopt robust approaches with a view of aligning the team goals with the organizational culture.

Theorists and researchers have developed various approaches to team building that can leverage organizational performance. The models provide the organization with a framework for enhancing team effectiveness (Gottfredson, 2015). They present several variables that promote communication and collaboration among the team members. The most comprehensive and highly effective approach to the alleviation of resistance in the organization is the T7 Model (developed by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger in 1995). It presents the key facets of effective performance teamwork. It identifies five vital factors inherent in teams and two external factors that influence their effectiveness. The T7 model is represented diagrammatically in figure 1.0 below.

T7 Model
Figure 1.0: T7 Model

The five internal team factors coined by the developers of the T7 model include thrust, trust, talent, teaming skills, and task skills. The two external factors are team-leader fit and organizational support. Trust represents a common purpose about what needs to be accomplished by the team. There is a need to ensure trust among the teammates to build a high level of reliance and interdependence. Additionally, talent entails the skills possessed by the team members to attain the common objectives and goals. Teaming skills involve the ability of the players to operate effectively and efficiently as a group. Team skills will ensure the successful execution of the group’s mandate. The internal factors can be delineated into various sub-factors or dimensions. For instance, the dimensions in thrust include management, clarity, and commitment. Trust can be demarcated into straightforward communication and actions amongst the team players. Talent extrapolates into the acquisition, enhancement, allocation, and deployment of skills possessed by the individual team members. In addition, teaming skills include resource management, team learning, decision, conflict resolution, team atmosphere, and managing processes (Becker, 2015). Task skills can be subdivided into focusing, assignment flexibility, measurement, and the delivery of goods. For the teams to perform effectively, the abovementioned internal factors have to be present. Teams can only perform well if both organizational and leadership support is offered. Becker (2015) posits that the necessary managerial and organizational support must be provided for the T7 Model to function effectively, regardless of the embracement of the above-mentioned internal and external factors. Team leaders can adopt the T7 Model to manage team performance. The following section presents the proactive measures that must be undertaken to create effective teamwork in a bit to alleviate resistance within the departments.

Selecting the Right People for the Group

A successful team should include members who portray the skills required to perform their jobs proficiently (Hall & Hord, 2015). The existence of skill gaps presents a challenge to the group. The members of the group play complementary roles. In the event that one teammate lacks the required skills to carry out a particular role, the attainment of the overall team objectives is flawed. In this regard, the selection of the teammates should be based on merit. Leaders need to make this factor a top priority if teamwork and collaboration are to be attained. Hall and Hord (2015) attest that performance is enhanced if the team is made up of the right people who have the appropriate mix of skills.

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Knowing Team Members

Managers need to know each team member sufficiently to determine the values and skills they possess. The knowledge of individual team members helps managers to pace them in the right groups correctly. This critical factor underpins the ability of the teammates to play productive roles in the groups. In the event that managers lack adequate knowledge of the individual members’ skills, values, and capabilities, some employees end up becoming dormant in the teams (Hall & Hord, 2015). This mistake makes the groups unproductive; hence, it is a basis of resource wastage and attraction of loss to the organization. Furthermore, the managers need to understand the special needs of the individuals. This way, there is an increased probability of understanding the form of support needed by the individual members. In addition, the managers should create a comfortable environment to allow the members to express their ideas freely. This move helps the managers identify various areas of strengths and weaknesses that need sustenance and improvement respectively.

Creating Positive Interdependence among the Team Members

Group work is attained by the contribution of individual roles to complement those of the rest. Managers can achieve positive team interdependence by ensuring that the members develop a culture of reliance. The accomplishment of shared goals hinges on the abilities of the individual team members. Besides, they need to focus on achieving two fundamental objectives. First, the maximization of individual productivity should be enhanced as a driving force towards the accomplishment of the overall organizational goals. Second, the members should work to capitalize on the productivity of the teammates. These two guiding objectives should form a part of every team member. The managers also need to instill this perspective in the team members to leverage individual commitment that in turn contributes towards the success of the organization.

Differentiation of Roles in the Team

The identification of the team activities helps in aligning the abilities of the players with the desired organizational goals with a view of improving the overall outcome. Sometimes, teams undertake mega projects. As the team size increases, the roles become more complex. Therefore, it is advisable for managers to allocate roles to individuals based on preference. Teammates tend to prefer certain roles to others. The rotation of roles among members is possible for small groups. The differentiation of tasks within a team can promote its effectiveness. Role rotation is important as it eludes monotony that is caused by performing recurrent roles. It creates excitement as teammates play new tasks (Hall & Hord 2015). It also accelerates projects whilst saving time. Performing the same tasks has been shown to be a source of time wastage as individuals develop fatigue that results in low motivation. Team leaders need to ensure that the members of a particular team are capable of performing the roles of each other. This position makes it possible to implement role rotation. The creation of a successful team demands each member to act towards the accomplishment of the shared objectives. Therefore, every individual in the team is deemed responsible for the realization of the desired group goals that are directly related to the organizational expectations. The acquisition of new skills is highly encouraged to promote the workability of teams. However, individual members need to select roles that can tap their skills adequately and increase their productivity.

Choosing an Effective Team Leader

Team leaders are the most vital individuals in the accomplishment of shared goals. They exert a huge influence on the group, as they are responsible for the overall team performance. To ensure a seamless collaboration in the groups, the team leader must align the individual and team goals with the expected results at both the departmental and organizational levels. The head of the team must understand that the leadership roles address not only duties but also nurture the employee behaviors and emotions. The basic roles of a team leader include preparing the agendas for group meetings, communicating them in advance, sending a reminder of the planned meeting time, ensuring that they stick to the predetermined agenda, encouraging participation, and creating an environment that fosters creativity and respect for the shared goals. The head of the team is expected to create a suitable work environment that promotes free expression. This state of affairs underpins the management of risks as the group players express diverse viewpoints on the anticipated departmental and/or organizational development.

Building Accountability and Appropriate Culture

Organizations need to recognize and integrate teams into their corporate culture. Well-defined expectations and mechanisms can direct teams to confine to relevant activities strictly. This directive ensures that the team utilizes the allocated resources to complete the assigned roles. It also promotes team effectiveness that in turn increases the overall organizational goal attainment. The role of the organization is to integrate its culture with a view of prescribing various values needed by the team members. Organizational culture plays a critical role in the transformation of values to behavioral norms. For instance, the organization can share past success stories with the current teams to instill hard work and commitment values. The team understands the importance of achieving success in every task assigned. The team players are expected to contribute to the accomplishment of the desired objectives. In addition, the establishment of appropriate communication amongst the teammates is critical for the realization of the shared objectives. To achieve successful communication, the managers need to train the employees’ inappropriate social skills for interpersonal characteristics that greatly influence team success.

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Team Development Stages (The Truckman Model)

Establishing a successful team takes place through various stages. Various theorists and researchers have devised models that managers can adopt in developing proactive teams. This paper adopts the Truckman Model that provides four basic stages for developing a successful team. Truckman prescribes four stages that teams navigate, as they develop to become mature and well-functioning units.

First Stage: Forming

This stage portrays members of a team as polite individuals (Bonebright, 2010). They learn about each other’s traits including the degree of tolerance, emotional differences, and the ability of each member to share ideas (Colombini & McBride, 2012). Team members agree on the group goals, establish ground rules governing the shared operations, and guidelines on how to work together as a unit.

Second Stage: Storming

This phase entails various arguments and counterarguments on the accomplishment of the shared goals with a view of improving or developing new ways of realizing organizational success. This stage can present an opportunity for the team to resist changes including at the departmental and organizational levels. This situation can affect their task performance significantly (Colombini & McBride, 2012). Due to dissatisfaction, various uncertainties that can lead to failure crop up. As a result, the managers need to encourage healthy conflicts that contribute to the generation of knowledge, constructive controversy, and respect for opinions amongst the group members (Bonebright, 2010). The team needs to be nurtured to learn to convert its differences and conflicts into productive strategies. Truckman asserts that the storming stage is important as it presents the individuals an opportunity to acknowledge diverse viewpoints.

Third Stage: Norming

At this stage, the members acknowledge and appreciate the differences existing amongst themselves. Besides, they learn to resolve conflicts with a view of playing productive roles in the accomplishment of individual and organizational objectives (Colombini & McBride, 2012). This stage is proof of the development of team spirit in the individual members.

Fourth Stage: Performing

The level of trust is at this stage is optimum as members reap the rewards that the group attains through the successful transformations. The teammates agree on team goals. Besides, creative brainstorming is fostered (Colombini & McBride, 2012). This phase entails various interventions that hinge on the innovative and problem-solving abilities of the team members.

Conclusion

Teamwork has become a common functioning unit for contemporary organizations. It is the duty of managers to build groups and develop them into functional units. Unsuccessful team management leads to duplicate roles and wastage of organization resources. Creating teams can be guided through the adoption of various approaches such as the T7 and Truckman models. Proper team management counters departmental challenges such as resistance. The stages presented by Truckman show the best way of managing resistance among teammates. Building the best approaches promotes trust amongst the team members. This state of events is paramount to the accomplishment of shared goals.

Reference

Becker, E. (2015). Team building and group dynamics: creating and fostering a culture of teamwork requires trust, collaboration, and accountability. American Society for Training & Development, 69(4), 100.

Bonebright, D. (2010). 40 years of storming: a historical review of Tuckman’s model of small group development. Human Resource Development International, 13(1), 111-120.

Colombini, C., & McBride, M. (2012). Storming and Norming: Exploring the value of group development models in addressing conflict in communal writing assessment. Assessing Writing, 17(1), 191-207.

Gottfredson, R. (2015). How to get Your Teams to work. Industrial Management, 57(4), 25-30.

Hall, G., & Hord, S. (2015). Implementing Change, Patterns, Principles, and Potholes. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice- Hall.

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