It would not be correct to say that any group of people working together constitutes a team. The group of people may be working at the same place but their goals and objectives may be very different. An effective team would be better described as ‘any group of people who must significantly relate with each other in order to accomplish shared objectives’. John Adair describes a team as ‘a group in which contribution of individuals are seen as complementary’. Teams have also been described as collection of people who must rely on group collaboration if each member is to experience the optimum of success.
In order to ensure that group is truly an effective team working toward the same goals and objectives, the team members must have an overpowering reason for working together. They must need each other’s skills, talent, and experience in order to achieve their mutual goals.
There are many views about the purpose of a team but basically it is to achieve more than one or two people alone. Peter Drucker says, ‘the purpose of a team is to make the strengths of each person effective, and his or her weakness irrelevant’.
Work projects are necessary to solve complex problems; project management is necessary to make project successful; teams and necessity to make project management work. Perhaps, basic purpose of a team is to solve the ever-increasing complexity of all of our technology and our systems, and hence our problems. More and more of our problems, whether they are technical, political or social, are reaching almost insoluble levels of complexity.
Groups of whatever types do not come into existence fully formed. They grow and mature and possible dissolve. It is possible to identify the stages of development through which a group goes before it becomes fully efficient and effective. B W Tuckman has formulated four stages (later on two more stages were added to Tuckman’s work) through which groups proceed:
Forming – this stage involves the introduction of team members, either at the initiation of the team or as members are introduced subsequently.
Storming – the team is likely to enter this phase as members grow more confident. Procedures are being developed and people get clearer view of objectives. Conflict will occur, as individual will have different opinions as to how the team should operate. Conflict will lead to better workable and acceptable procedures that enable the task to be done.
Norming – this stage establishes the norms under which the groups will operate. Norms are shared views and beliefs and exceptions about forms and standards of behavior.
Performing – once this final stage has reached the group is capable of operating to full potential, since the difficulties of adjustment, leadership contest etc. should have been resolved. The emphasis is now on reaching the team goals.
Two more stages were identified later as
Dorming – this is the danger that once the performing stage is reached the further stage of maintaining commitment will be neglected. This shows the need to continually involve people in decisions about what they do and how they do it. Manager should prompt people to more challenging tasks, rotate tasks, or introduce new members.
Mourning – when a group has finished its function and has been disbanded former members feel a sense of loss and ‘grieve’. They may have moved to another group but may not work efficiently because they feel a loss of companionship and group relationship they had with former group members.
It is important to keep in mind that not all groups follow these stages in this sequence. Group with large number of members would reach performing much more quickly. Of course, not all groups pass through these stages some get stuck in middle and remain inefficient and ineffective. A successful team knows which stage they are in and manager’s transitions between the different stages adeptly.
To get the good results from team it is important to motivate them in some way such as rewards on good performance. The use of cash incentives to reward outstanding individual performance is very desirable, but should be used only where there is a team consensus that it is merited. Team incentive rewards are even more effective motivators. However, few organizations have the procedures, or the special discretionary funds set aside, to implement such incentives plans.
There are procedures to evaluate team performance which will decide the merit for rewards.
Evaluating team performance involves measuring:
- Effectiveness – the degree to which goals are accomplished
- Efficiency – the use of resources in attaining goals
- Team member satisfaction – the motivational climate
- The quantity of work performed
- The quality of work performed
- The association of work performed with time allowed.
An effective team is not born spontaneously; it must be created. It is true that team building will occur naturally as people work together towards a common goal.
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