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Team Management - Ensure Team Effectiveness


To understand the concept of a team, it must first be understood that a team is comprised of dedicated individuals who swear to work cooperatively and interdependently to achieve a single purpose or multiple goals. A team is supposed to work in correspondence with one another and each member of the team is supposed to fulfill a certain gap in the team. A team is made up of team members and each of the team members form the team, without that member the team will be incomplete.


July 6, 2017   /   Visits: 457 Printable versionPrintable

And in this aspect, a team is always different from a group. It must be remembered that a team is always with a mission, a purpose and without that, a team never happens. But a group does not necessarily have a purpose, but they are just a group of individuals with the same interests, thoughts and ideologies.

They may not up for any mission or objective for that matter but they have something similar to one another. A team is always concerned with the strength of the purpose. Without any strong single-minded action objective there can be no team, whereas the strength of the group is dependent more on the number of individuals supporting it and also on the uniformity of command. But a group can be formed of passive individuals who do not have any ulterior goal to accomplish but rather just mix together and form a conglomeration that just is based on a set of beliefs and notions.

One more important difference between a group and a team is that each and every team needs a captain that directs the way, while a group generally has a leader but not necessarily that strict. It comes from the fact that team is all about action while group is all about similarity.

These are the basic differences between a group and a team, and that makes for the key essence of the term 'team'.

Introduction

Team Management
If there is anything where you can see a team in action, it has to be in the sports. Sports does not comprise of any atrocity as in military field, or diplomacy as in corporate world. Sports are all about action, entertainment and objectives, and thus it is the best thing that can manifest the functioning and the importance of teams. There is no devastation or trickery, only fixing of simple objectives and going and achieving those objectives.

But a sports team building is as hard as any other team can be. Though the concept of team building is a popular term, which we get to use every now and then, but the concept of teamwork is still an elusive feeling and fostering teamwork among the team members is one of the hardest parts of the team building process. It is about building the effective team and then building the experience of teamwork is what proper team building calls for, and that is so required in a sports team building.

In a team, you have to feel as if you are a part of something bigger, and you must be able to dedicate yourself to your communal good. You sure will be entrusted with some responsibility but that is the part of the whole action. When each member of the team are entrusted with some job and they fulfill their responsibility, which is the time when you have successfully build a team.

In this paper, we will talk about how to understand the problems of a junior team development and what the most basic ways are to improve the junior team building process. We would first look at the basic method of team building, try to recognize the specific problems faced by the team and then prepare strategies to solve the problems and bring about development in the team.

The Basic Criteria for Team Building



There are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled when you are building a team. These factors make sure that the process gets easier and the team building effort reaches its ultimate consequence. Here are the most basic yet important factors.

Clarity of Expectations - This should be clarified in the first stage of team development itself, that is, expectations. Each and every team member ought to be aware of what is required of him in the team in measurable terms. They should also know about the overall objective of the team, so that they could identify themselves with the purpose. Team is all about participation.

Context - Frankly speaking, the context is somewhat relative to the team member's knowledge of why he is in the team. It attaches itself to the same concept of expectations, goals and objectives clarifications. In short, a team member must know what the team wants to be able to deliver to its purpose.

Commitment - After knowing the goals and objective of the team and comprehending what is being expected of them, they must commit to the purpose. If they do not feel like relinquishing their interests and dedicating themselves to the interests of the team, then there is no use of the team building in the first place.

Competence - When the team members are clear of what they are supposed to do and they commit to that, do they have the necessary skills and resources to accomplish the goal? Does the team contain the right people for the jobs? Unless the team can measure its strength, it cannot prepare its strategy ahead.

Control - In a team, freedom should be provided to the team members to be able to think on their own and put in some original ideas into the field, but still a little bit of control is always required to keep them on the right track and remind them of their commitment to the purpose of the team. If too much of leniency is being showed, a turn can take towards the selfish interests seeking of a team member.

Collaboration - This is one of the most important things that need to be taken care of when forming a team. You cannot have a team where each and every member is bickering with each other on petty issues. You need to have smooth interactive relationships among the team members which assure the coordination around.

Coordination - There must be a sequence of actions that need to be fulfilled to achieve a certain goal ascertained by the team. Each member of the team is entrusted with a goal and a responsibility. But the key to an effective team is that all the members should work AS A TEAM, even when they are doing separate distinct activities.

Communication - The key to successful collaboration and coordination is certainly the one and only effective communication between the members. Unless there is clear and effectual communication between the team members, there can be no collaboration and if there is no collaboration, there is hardly any chance of effective coordination.

Consequences - It must also be imparted to the team members that the team depends on them. Whatever performance they render, they have to bear the consequences in the end. Not only do they have to think for what they put in, but also for what their teammates put into the process. If one of their team members is somehow unable to provide any input, the other teammates should work to compensate for that. It is taking charge of the consequences.

Cultural Change - Now, though it might be thought that a team is effective, it can still have areas of change. Perhaps, insert some appraisals, provide a promotion or endow an increment. It is all about changing the team culture towards betterment in every sense of the term.

To build this junior team up, we got to focus on the areas above and also refer to the five stages of team development ("Team Process") as mentioned below, right from the scratch.

The Five Stages of Team Development



As per the model first proposed by Bruce Tuckerman in the year 1965 ("Four Stages of Team Development"), the general processes are as follows:
First Stage - This is the basic introductory stage when the team members come in contact with one another, trying to ascertain the goals and objectives of the team, and thus figure out the individual duties and responsibilities as well. At this point, sometimes team members from different culture, departments or sections might have a problem understanding the purpose of this new team. The team leader makes sure that the team members understand the focus of the team. This is the time when the team rules and guidelines are being determined and the process of team training takes place.

Second Stage - Once the team members are introduced to one another, an arbitrary scene is established where everybody would be focusing on being influential on the team actions and thus, gain appraisal in the social order setup. Conflict will result and mistrust will be born. At this point, the main tips that should be remembered are to always keep patience and be tolerant towards the other members. Too much rowdiness kills the collaboration, communication and coordination factor of the team. At this stage, the team leader needs to define the specific roles, establishing the team roles and dynamics lay down a chart of acceptable behavior, and call for mutual review from one another for a healthy setup building.

Third Stage - This is the stage when a setup is already built, and each member knows his role in the team and works in coordination with the other members of the team. The group values, rules and beliefs are already being established, and the team members show adequate trust, positive team spirit and focus on the group. Good behaviors prevail and team relationships grow over the time. At this stage, individual characteristics are being exploited to the extreme and motivation becomes a big factor in the output process.

Fourth Stage - This is the stage of huge levels of motivation, participation, group decision making and motivation. Cross training, knowledge sharing and interdependence increase, whereby the team starts directing it on its own, with mutual value and knowledge escalation among all the team members. The team leader relinquishes on the directing role and takes on the communication facilitator process, aiming in the completion of the objectives.

Fifth Stage - In case of the dissolving of the team, celebration of the victory (or achievement of the goal) occurs with a party, and along with it, some mourning over the dissolution of the team is conveyed. Each of the team members are being appreciated for their efforts over the time, and gratitude shown for their participation. In case the team is not getting dissolved, new teams may be reformed or new goals and objectives may be set. It must always be remembered that over the time, the process goes through the same cycle and thus, the well performing team can go back to the first stage once again with some disruption, say addition of new members into the team or the team is being reformed.

For each and every team would go through these specific stages, though it might be that the timeline for each of the stages is different for different teams but still, they would still go through the phases. A lot of effort and time goes into the team development, depending on the nature and skill sets of the team members, the nature of the goals and objectives of the team and the effectiveness of the team leadership.

From the careful study of the problems of the junior team that we are looking at, it can be recognized that it is still in the second phase of its development process. The following problems convince us of the stage of the team.

Communication - Since the team members are from various states and from various divisions, it has been hard for the team members to effectively communicate with each other and thus create a strong bond necessary for team building.

Cooperation - We are talking about collaboration here. And since there is no effective communication among the teammates, it is all the harder for any interactive understanding cooperative relationship to be there.

Absence of a Leader - Unfortunately, the current team apparently does not seem to have any leader of that sort. For this reason, it has been harder to the process of team development, stagnating in one single place for a long time.

Dissonance with the Other Teams - Since this is not essentially a team, with lack of proper communication, coordination and collaboration among the teammates, it is palpably not going to have any resonance with the other teams such as the media & marketing team.

Allocation of Tasks - Absence of a leader can lead to a certain number of problems and one of them is that there cannot be any fixed allocation of tasks since every team member will try to poke their nose inside and be influential, as is normal in the second stage of the team development.

Action Plan



These are the main problems that are being faced by the junior team at the moment and the onus is on me to be the problem solver and team facilitator. These are the main areas that need to be looked after and that would take care of the rest and thus facilitate in the team's improvement and betterment in the future.

The most important thing that needs to be taken care of is the collaboration, dependence, trust and loyalty in the team. The present team, though it may have the right players in the team, is devoid of any coordination, collaboration, understanding and trust. This is the first thing that needs to be watched over and for that reason, team discussions, debates and normal get-together sessions are very much required along with the general sports training sessions. Too much control of their interactions will not solve the tension, but too much leniency will actually lead to distraction from the game focus. So, it should be maintained as a balance.

Here it must also be noted that the sporting sessions are very crucial in determining the strengths and weaknesses of the players. So, the players ought to be tried out in various positions and sequences to find out what works best, for the player and for the team. And this would also get the player into a flexible mindset that is so conducive to the forming of the team.

But even before proper trust, dependence and faith is being established in the team, the team needs to know what the team is supposed to do, how the members are expected to act and what the goals and objectives that the team is supposed to achieve in a certain amount of time. There should a chart of team guidelines and rules that will make sure the team members know that they are not acting separately now but are a part of the team now, and their every action will affect the team. So, to create the importance and significance of the team mindset in the team members, we need to have a leader and as I am going to be designated as the team manager, then it has to be me who will be taking on the role of leadership of the team, until it reaches the third stage where it supports itself on its own.

One of the rules that need to be played here is to reward who qualifies and punish who disqualifies. This would make the rowdy players fall into line and get them in control once again. The rewarding system would normally make the more reserved and shy candidates be brave and open up, bringing in the team spirit in them. It would take some time, but establishing the guidelines and making others fall into line with that would be important.

Conclusion

Building a team is certainly not an easy affair, whether it is a political team, a corporate team. Each of the teams has their own demands and requirements and as a team leader, it is necessary that we understand what the most basic requirements of an effective team in each of these arenas. In this paper, this is what I was supposed to accomplish with the arbitrary junior team.

I understood the problems the team was facing, corresponding with the various stages of the team development process and excogitated the basic structure of how to lead the team towards betterment. Being in the first-second stage of the team development process, it would normally need more involvement and participation, so that the sense of familiarity grows. Along the same lines, the team needs to have the right players as well. Attention was paid to that aspect too.

This is only the start and the team needs to complete the cycle up to the fifth stage and that would not be that hard with a bit of proper planning and effectual execution via a competent leader in the team.

References

Baker, Dean A. . Multi-Company Project Management: Maximizing Business Results Through Strategic Collaboration. NY: J. Ross Publishing. Print.

"Four Stages of Team Development." Global SchoolNet Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web.

Team Process." Christian Leadership World. N.p., n.d. Web.

Westcott, Russ . The certified manager of quality/organizational excellence handbook. NY: American Society for Quality. Print.
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University Team Editor
USA


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University editor focused on writing articles and essays on team management.

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