Groups and Teams, Building Effective Teams, Role of leadership in Team Building, Social Processes and Behavioral Issues, MS-21

Differentiate between groups and teams. Describe some basic guidelines for building effective teams and also explain the role of leadership in team building.

High Performance Teams (HPT)
Shared goals and measures.
Work is interdependent.
Follows process and practices.
Self managed.
Maintains accountability.
Established communication and meeting practices.
Team members can perform multiple tasks (cross-training).
Membership usually full time and co-located.
Continuous improvement is ongoing.

Standing Teams (May also be referred to as Process Teams)
Responsible for a process which supports the provision of certain products
or services.
Shared goals and measures.
Interdependent work.
Established communication and meeting practices.
Team members perform multiple tasks.
Team Leader usually responsible for coordination.
IS&T examples: Net OPS, Transmission Services, Help Desk.

Project Teams
•    Definitive ctart and end date, so the team completes its work and disbands.
•   Typically responsible for the planning, design, or development phase of an initiative.
•    Cross functional membership to provide varied skills and perspectives.
•    Goat and agreed upon deliverables.
•    Membership may be part time, ideally 20-50% time.
•    Clear set of practices and roles which may include team or project leader.
•    IS&T examples: Strategic Plan, Y2K, Enterprise Printing Discovery Team.

Process Improvement Teams
•   Time limited membership ~ usually part time.
•   Responsibility for mapping, analyzing and improving a discrete aspect of the work flow.
•   Cross functional members representing different steps or roles in the process.
•   Clear scope, deliverables, practices and roles.
•    IS&T examples: Software Licensing, Network Installation Coordination Improvement Team.

Advisory Teams
•   Responsible for oversight or providing support or guidance on a goal or project.
•   Membership usually part time, consisting of the sponsor for an initiative and various stakeholders; running concurrent with project team.
•   Clear roles and practices.

Staff Teams
A type of standing team.
May have planning, communication and coordination as primary purpose.
Usually meet on regularly scheduled time frames with standing practices.
Participants' efforts usually focused on their principal area of responsibility.
As a team there is a need to set goals, coordinate tactical work, and
manage overlapping areas.
IS&T examples: ITLT, Support TLs.

Groups Task Groups
•    Responsible for completing one task and then disbanding (i.e.; 3 or 4 people meet once to crunch and analyze the data collected).
•    May meet a limited number of times for a specific purpose.

Work Groups
•    Responsible for a span of work related to products and/or services.
•    Work is independent -- group members perform their work on their own.
•    Group leader or group member may pull together the parts to make a whole.
•    There may be group norms that are similar to team norms.

A team is developed wherever people have to work together to produce results. A team is capable of accomplishing much more than the sum total of what the members are capable of accomplishing individually. Team work is stimulating, it encourages members to put in leater effort and helps them to give their best. Generally people often misunderstand the terminology of Team or Group. Team cab be defined as "a group in which the individuals have a common aim and in which the jobs and skills of each member fit in with those of others. Let us take a very mechanical and static analogy, the jigsaw puzzle. Pieces fit in together without distortion and together produce some overall pattern. Thus Team/s in an organisation is/are based on the following characteristics:

•    Non-facilitative character of industrial organisation as far as team-work is concerned.
•   Groups do not necessarily become teams.
•   Objective commonality and similarity are not sufficient conditions for teams to emerge.
•   There  is a  universal ethos and  spirit underlying  the identities and uniqueness of the members of a group which alone make a team.
•   This universal spirit and ethos has to be evoked from within rather than
from without as it is something inherent with the members. Why do team arise in the first place? What are the kinds of tasks that require team work?

The source of a team lies in orte person doing a job that he discovers is too large for him to do is the (perspective) available.

Thus, it can be said that teams are groups of people who cooperate to carry out a joint task'. They may be assigned to different work roles, or be allowed to sort them out between themselves and change jobs, when they feel like it, e.g. crews of ships and aircraft, research teams, maintenance gangs and
groups of miners.

A high achieving team has all the properties of an ordinary team but in greater unison. Each member has both the expertise and the skill in performing functions needed for the task.

Team often grow form one person i.e., their leader who needs to shift the centre from himself to the cooperative efforts of the team. The test of a good team is whether or not its members can work as a team while they are apart, while at the same time contributing to sequence of activities.

In the context of team building, a leader knows his own strengths and weaknesses but also ensures that he compensates for what he lacks. Individuals  in the  team  should  have  such  strengths,  knowledge  and
experience which the leader does not possess. In a team it should be made sure that each individual knows and feels that his part of the task is making a significant contribution to the group's overall task.

It can be said that team work is no accident, it is the byproduct of good leadership.

Organisations are complex in their structure, systems, and people. Organisational excellence lies in the fit they achieve with an equally complex environment for achieved of goals and more'. The goals are consistently achieved through the presence of a leadership which is persistent, active and goal-oriented. The rewards for such leadership range  from  enlarged  markets,  high  assets  growth,  satisfied customers,
motivated  staff,  proc'jctive work climate,  and  enhanced quality of  life.

Leadership achieves excellence not (just) through organsiation but through people as individuals and as teams. The credit for having a happy and prosperous family is culturally attributed to the head of the family. Similarly, in a team the credit for its excellence goes to its leader. Team Building is an externally influenced exercise (taking the help of consultants) with temporary results, while Team Development is basically an internal process where results are more lasting and the leader helps in achieving this.

There are three problems when the entire team is dependent on its leader:
1) When they feel the leader is omnipotent, many followers fail to develop or utilise their full potential for contribution.
2) When such leaders leave, the team falls apart.
3) If such charismatic leader happens to make one or two glaring mistakes, then a sense of failed dependency pervades and the depressed followers or team members are very likely to turn against the leader and destroy the work he has so long symbolised.

The importance of choosing the right people as team members from the collection of possible members can hardly be over-emphasized. It is the first principle of team success.

There are certain conditions which must be met before effective team work can get into operation.
•   Goal setting as a result-oriented consultation
•   Shared information and trust
•   Clear understanding of each other's roles
•   Willingness to extend help whether asked for or not
•   Availability of adequate resources to each member
•   Members competence
•   Predominance of group interest over individual interest.

An effective team may be defined as one that achieves its specific aim in the most efficient way with the optimal utilisation of resources and in the shortest time. It is always in a position to take up more challenging tasks. The   true   test   of   team   effectiveness   depends   on   the   following characteristics:
•   The team's output is not an aggregation of individual inputs, but the result of collective projection.
•   Effective team adopt aggressive or defensive postures depending on the requirements of the situation.
•   Effective team make the best use of individual strengths and shield members from individual exposure.

The organisations that have worked effectively as a team have given special attention to the following factors:
•   Shared orientation
•   Organisational clarity
•   Team Composition
•   Communication and Commitment
•   Control information (feedback)
•    Reinforcement

It is the process of team building that makes people communicate effectively. If they communicate effectively they will plan effectively and in doing this, they will do the job right the first time. This will lead to more enthusiasm and increased productivity.

In the context of project management, the following points can be observed:

•   Commitment to the organisation is achieved by making employees aware
of the task and helping them in decisions, but firstly you have to get your
'hygiene' factors  right.  Commitment to  projects  is achieved  by the
organisational structure created for that project, or in other words, the team. It is the success and achievement on projects that enhances the commitment to the organization.
•   Tendering is the best stage at which to start team building and is done most successfully by using the team to prepare the proposal and make the presentation to the client.
•   The establishment of common goals on site is perhaps the most difficult area to address, and needs to be tackled at various levels. The manual workforce performs better if the work goes together well without a lot of re- work when they have good direction. The foreman and supervisors can perform more effectively if top management has taken the trouble to identify goals by involving them in some of the decision-making processes.
•   The team and management will perform more effectively if they have actually taken the trouble to get to know each other.
•   The Management's wish for control and the Team's need for autonomy are dependent upon the type of contract which gives the team scope for absolute control over the task or enough room for modification.

"Nobody is Perfect but a Team can be"

How to design and construct a team that simultaneously meets the requirements of both functional and team roles constitutes one of the most interesting aspects of team building. This is also one of the most critical factors determining the fortunes of management teams in industry. It is here that the Marks and Spencer experience of team work offers the most valuable insight.

In a significant sense the effectiveness of the M&S management teams lingers on the company's success in enabling most of its staff to have a relatively high degree of versatility in terms of functional as well as team roles. The M&S staff are to a considerable extent 'generalisf in both dimensions.

This makes it possible to combine and re-combine teams. This is perhaps another aspect of what Robert Keller has referred to as the 'inimitable magic of M&S. But if our analysis has been substantially correct, then may be it is not as mystic as the word 'magic' implies-though nonetheless 'inimitable'. The MiS investment in training and in creating the conditions for effective team work has been gigantic and amazingly long-term, but the payoff, as we have seen, is equally spectacular. In practical business terms it enables the company to acquire a unique competitive edge which goes a long way in explaining the enviable record of the company's success.

Team Builders work as catalysts to help management groups function better as open teams for a variety of reasons. The first objective in team building is to choose the right people in the light of the team's purpose.

How does one keep a good team in its existing state of efficiency and effectiveness? In other words, how does one continue to make it function questions:
•   Why do we exist? What are we here for?
•   What and who would be affected if we went out of existence?
•   Are there more cost-effective ways of achieving our purpose and aim than having the current team?
•   Has there been a significant change in our mission as a team? Have we perceived, or been given, new responsibilities?
•   Are we still the right people to be tackling this work? Does it still need a team effort?

So, a manager's task is to maintain the standards of the team and raise them, and enhance the level of cooperation which in turn results in increased effectiveness.

The rat:onale for using team building techniques is becoming increasingly acceptable in organisations. Team building helps in sharing power, motivating employees, improving the quality of decisions and effectively managing the diversity. The technique was seen as having the potential for resolving a lot of problems and concerns. The more the team building focuses on 'behaviours' of group members and on organisational structure problems, the more successful such efforts will tend to be.

Team building activity is an important managerial tool because it provides a means for employees for participating in the decisions related to work objectives, and develop social support. Most people enjoy the interaction they have at work. Most of the studies show that team type jobs are better jobs because they encourage the sharing of information. In an ever changing and diverse society, it is important for every organisation to assess periodically their objectives, goals and methods. Team building activities provide a good support for making such assessments.