Team Effectiveness – concept, ideas and learning of a virtual scenario Essay

AbstractThis essay describes the concept of team effectiveness.

The factors that inhibit a team to display effectiveness are analyzed and mapped to the concept of team life cycle. This learning is then used to plan for effective teams. The factors that must be taken care of are enlisted as the ingredients for forming an effective team.

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The team is pivotal to any organization or even a simple working environment. The effectiveness of the teams works on the idea that a group of people working together can achieve much more as compared to the cumulative efforts of the individuals working on their own. Restructuring the organizations into teams helps in better utilization of employee talents, increasing the effectiveness and efficiency. Teams can also be considered as effective means for the management to democratize their organizations and increase employee motivation. Measuring the team effectiveness is necessary to identify if there is something wrong and even more necessary for the team to know when they are on the right track so that they continue to perform productively.Using the cornerstones of team effectiveness helps me evaluate the causes that led to the failure of the organizational team at office. The cross functional team was designed by the project manager with the intention of getting the high quality output for the telecom project. The job needs were identified and the best resources were selected from each of the requisite departments.

The team comprised of the solution architect who was responsible to design the software application. The software engineers, the support personnel, the technical writer, and a tester were all under a renowned project manager. Although the project kick started quite well, the team was inefficient in achieving the desired objectives. The diversity and complexity of the cross discipline team demanded high degree of coordination and trust building to start with. Rather than focusing on the team goals, much of the effort was wasted on solving conflicts and individualistic problems. Team work takes more time and often more resources than the individual work. The benefits of using teams must exceed the cost involved to justify the collective effort.

The basic tenet of team effectiveness is to ensure that the work structure demands the collective effort, with all the team members being interdependent and sharing the common goals. Having clear goals and defined roles provides major dimension to the team. Each team member must know what his/her role is and how it fits into other’s roles. Even though each member of the team had the technical expertise and the decision making skills, they lacked the interpersonal skills like conflict resolution which are the vital constituents of efficient team members. The failure of the team can be credited to the inefficient project manager, who was unable to do his job of getting the team motivated and work towards a common goal.Thinking about another team in college and calculating the factors that led to its success, I can recall that apart from other contributors, there was an efficient leader who had immense ability to influence the group of people towards achievement of goals.

The key components making an effective team can be subsumed into four categories namely, work design, team’s composition, contextual influences and the processes. Effective teams need to work together displaying the qualities such as autonomy, task identity, task significance and skill variety. The team composition must consider factors such as ability, personality, roles, flexibility and preferences of the individual team members. The three contextual features that are most significantly related to team performance are the presence of adequate resources, efficient leadership and performance evaluation system.The right mix of skills, the right motivation and the ability to solve conflicts without compromising on the quality of work is the key to team effectiveness. The nature and the type of the team are also the vital determinants of its performance. Teams may be problem solving teams formed of as few members who work towards improving quality and efficiency.

Self managed teams are groups of employees who take on the responsibility of their supervisors. Another type of team is formed when the individuals from the same hierarchical level, but different work areas come together to accomplish a task and are known as cross-functional teams. The virtual team is yet another type of team with physically dispersed members who communicate with the help of computer technology. Virtual teams lack the para-verbal and non verbal cues, have limited social context and have limited bonding within the team.Planning is a great tool to ensure the creation of effective teams in the future.

The team purpose, roles, responsibilities and goals must be identified, established and documented in consultation with the team members. As a part of any team in the future, I will ensure that the team shares a sense of purpose towards a common goal. Setting smart objectives which are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound is essential for a team. A terms-of-reference kind of document must be created and used to enlist the scope of activities which need to be carried out systematically.

The investigations needed, the project review, plan development program, the implementation strategy and even the planned team meetings must be documented. The terms-of-reference shall clearly and specifically state the permissible extent to which the team must work. The mission and problem statement, specific issues to be addressed, desired outcomes and the timeframe, desired resources all must be frozen in the plan. Having learnt about the team life cycle, I will make an effort to accommodate the Team Life Cycle knowledge while working with the team.The Team Life Cycle consists of four stages namely, Forming, Norming & Storming, Performing and Adjourning. The first stage just has a group of anxious and confused strangers asked to come together as a team. The manager must instill a sense of purpose and clarify the relationship equation in this stage.

As a future manager, I will make sure that I work with the team right from the beginning so that they all create an effective team. The next stage demands the leader to work on storming to help the team develop its sense of identity and overcome the differences among them. In the Norming stage, I will assist the team to define the normal levels of acceptable behavior. This is necessary to bring a true picture regarding how the things are to be accomplished. Once the development work is done, I will need to oversee the work being done and verify that it is on the right track towards the set objectives. The last step that is mandatory for effective teams is that the manager celebrates an official closing ceremony.

This will not only ensure security for the team members, it will also help resolve the disbanding issues.Apart from all the other vital ingredients, an effective team also requires an efficient leader. Leadership is the ability to influence a group towards the achievement of goals. A charismatic leader who provides individualized consideration to the team members and has the ability to create and articulate a better vision of the future is vital part of an effective team. An effective team leader must possess the skills such as patience to share information, trust others, to give up authority when needed. The effective leader must excel in performing the different roles such as the mentor, coach, facilitator, and trainer. Another important trait of a good leader is that s/he must be an efficient conflict manager. An effective team must be led by a leader who is efficient enough to minimize the disruptive aspects of the intra-team conflicts.

As a leader of an effective team, I will work towards building trust and confidence in the team members by working on the key components such as integrity, competence, consistency, loyalty and openness. An effective team can only be made when all its members are involved and well informed. Also, I will see to it that each team member gets the due feedback to help improve performance. Recognizing achievements of the team is also a must for enhancing team performance and creating an effective team. As the team works together towards shared goals, it must celebrate successes and achievement of milestones, in order to improve the team bonding and to spur them towards their goals.

ReferencesCandidate Resource, Promote Team Effectiveness. Precision Group, Australia. Retrieved on April 27, 2009 from, S.P., (2000) Organizational Behaviour, Ninth Edition, Prentice Hall of India Private Limited.


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