I have recently accepted an employment position with a large, high profile jewellers firm. The organisation manufactures imports and repairs jewellery for distribution to its many stores in all states. My position title is ‘Team Leader of Distribution and Warehousing’ – a frontline management position. There are 12 team members in my team from different backgrounds and with differing levels of expertise. Some team members have worked with the organisation, and in this division, for a number of years. Other team members are relatively new, while some have worked in other departments/ sections of the organisation before being transferred to your division. The reason for my appointment is that departmental productivity (outputs) has not been meeting the organization’s expectations. The problems which are identified by senior managers of the Organisations in the team are as follows: • Communication between team members appears to be strained at times • Levels of cooperation are falling
• Communication with the other teams within the organisation is not as good as it should be • There is no one currently taking on the leadership role • Prioritization of tasks appears to occur on an ad hoc basis Each of the team members was selected for their role on the basis of demonstrated skills and expertise but still they seem unable to work together effectively. My role, therefore, is that of trouble shooter, problem solver and team facilitator. I need to bring this group of people together to form a cohesive, effective and productive team. Ensure team effectiveness Page 3
After carefully read the scenario as a team leader, I must say that there is a communication gap between the team members including lack of co-operation and it results organization not achieving its goal and success. As a team leader of management position which includes distribution and warehousing department I firstly collect all information in my report which causes the problems. After that I analyze gathered information and make points which can help to improve organization’s productivity and profit. As a team leader I will start with the purpose of the team and why we are here. Although an initial purpose might be directive of higher management, working collaboratively to scope and define in detail the team’s purpose help to ensure that it is fully understood and agreed to all team members whether they are new or experienced senior members. In this case study this might be a reason why team members are not working with collective efforts because they do not have common goal or purpose. Without a shared sense of purpose each member of the team could be working towards different goals, thereby diluting the effectiveness of the team.
So firstly I would organize one discussion session in which everyone will come their opinions related to the purpose and we will decide common goal which will be agreed by everyone so the team will move to the right direction to achieve success. Once the purpose is clear I would assign tasks and responsibility for each team members. It is based on how expertise one has to complete the assigned task. In the distribution and warehouse section if someone have good skills and experience in sales department I would prefer him to look after that department. Task assignment will not be based on senior or junior level but it is based on how enthusiastic he is and how he will respond with the responsibilities which given to him. Because role and task ambiguity are responsible for much stress on workplace and inefficiency and poor productivity. This could be one of the reason why organization not performing up to the standards. To assign and complete Ensure team effectiveness Page 4
priority tasks also as important as to set a goal. I have noticed in this team those team members are not doing the tasks on the basis of priorities. Priorising tasks and to complete on that basis is equally important in any organization. In this distribution department of jewelers firm if goods will not deliver on time to the client organization might not get the order again and this could be resolve only when team member know how to take the tasks on priories level.
The third and main thing I have noticed in this scenario is that communication problem between team members in the organization. I observe that communication between team members appears to be strained at times and communication with the other teams within the organization is not as good as it should be. This could happen due to the changes and many other factors. Changes to the personnel of an established team are often challenging to a team as it goes through a new period of storming. This team is mixed with new and experienced members. So there is likely to be some awkwardness between members as new member begins to assert them and challenge the shape or purpose of the team. This could end up with frustration and personality conflict.
I would take this thing in prior list to resolve the issue because it could be worst if it’s not been solved in the earliest manner. As I mentioned earlier I would take some steps which includes: Clarify roles and responsibilities more fully and explain every individual what are the expectation that organization have Address the team members concerns about the management thinking in the light of world affairs. I would prefer to organize a session where senior management is asked to come and speak directly with the team itself. As I am a new leader and few team members are senior than me in relation to work so I think this action would create good impact rather I insist them directly at initial stage. After few sessions team will move from a Norming state into a storming state by setting up team bonding exercises and activities. This could be done with sending Ensure team effectiveness
some quality time with each other by organizing cultural and ethos with some techniques which includes: Holding social gatherings, BBQs, family days Encouraging team members to have input into team discussions and decision making Team building games Activities designed to share information across the team, like presentation for few minutes by each sub group.
Once team members feel comfortable with each other there will not be any conflicts or ego. Even if it occurs they can resolve it easily without any affect to the organization and team is ready to move into the performing stage with more maturity, confidence and can do attitude.
I would advise to complete a performance appraisal form and provide Constructive feedback to them. I will support them to improve their outputs through different strategies such as: A formal training
A buddy arrangement with one of the other administrative staff Taking a personal interest in their work
Be a role model.
I will ensure with my team members that they work together as a team by sharing information. I will encourage them to fully participate in all activities and do not bother about the results or outcomes. I empowering them to take responsibility for their outputs and those of team collectively as this is team’s performance and we are working as team. On necessary occasions I would organize reward and incentive session to motivate them and ensure them its all about cooperation not competition. I will support them in identifying and resolving work performance problems and acting as a role model of the team. I will make sure to establishing and maintaining open communication between all Ensure team effectiveness Page 6
team members. I may work as a broker communicating unresolved issues, concerns and problems raised by team members. I will ensure team members and make a strategy plan that all issues and concerns been solved in priority basis and followed up promptly. As a team leader I will be responsible for instructing employees whether it is a new or senior most employee, provide training, coaching and mentoring when it is necessary. I also need to impart goals and objectives in a way that make employees meaningful and acceptable. In this case study team members are not cooperating and communicating each other so I will point out the first 3 stages of life cycle where team needs to go and build strong professional relationship with each other. A team needs active support when it is in the Forming, Norming and Storming stages as in these stages team members of the ‘distribution and warehouse ‘ agree on shared goals, roles, responsibilities and a team ethic and culture will be established. To improve the productivity I have to take steps to support each individual and the team as a whole at this stage. During these 3 stages I must have to keep in mind that there will not be any major changes occur otherwise it will affect to the linear progression of team’s development. This change includes: Employees leaving or new employees entering
Changes to the team tasks, therefore changes to team roles Changes in leadership etc.
As per my observation team members are having a problem to work together as a team and they are not openly discuss their issues and concerns so I would like to introduce some processes that allowed them to raise their problems which includes e-discussion forms, open door policy of team leader, structured conflict resolution process, suggestion boxes etc. I also plan to organize team meetings at regular intervals so everyone can come up with different ideas and they feel more comfortable to discuss. Toolbox meetings also a good idea which is in my mind which I will use if I needs to do so. I want to make team environment in a way where honesty, openness, trust and cooperation are the key factors. With these each member can rely on others and maintain professional relationship and Ensure team effectiveness Page 7
support each other. I like to create myself as a role model and I strongly believe that if role models are consistent the team is more consistent and if role models are aggressive and inconclusive then it will create fear in the team atmosphere and create confusion and team will be in the situation of jeopardy. To develop and build a good team from this situation I would encourage team members to raise issues by arranging a meeting or kind of gathering at non workplace environment that is agreed by all the parties to make all team members feel a closer connection towards their colleagues. As there are some seniors and experienced members in the team I would invite a respected team member to be a mediator or mentor to the team.
I believe this kind of activities will allow team members to open up themselves and provide opportunity to speak up from the front. Creating a work culture that encourages team members to raise issues either through non material or material incentives. After doing this if things remain same and I cannot see any difference in the team issues I would happy to get help from someone who work at external site and can benefit to the organization because I feel when a person (expert) come on board can provide several advantages which includes he has no fear or influence of anyone . He can provide fresh ideas and suggestions to the team which could be based on his experience, knowledge and skill. He will not bother about organization’s policy or what kind politics playing around. In order to set and manage performance, I would set the agreed deliverables which would be specific and unambiguous, and the timing and quality of delivery capable of being objectively assessed.
I consider whether goals and objectives are Realistic and Achievable between team members e.g. given resources and budget available, deadlines and time constraints, dependencies and risks; if not, and delivery is required by the wider organization. If delivering an objective takes a group or a team effort, I would make a single person accountable for delivery. Because when you have too many persons, no one feels accountable, or has the mandate to drive corrective action if delivery is threatened. I will make sure that each individual including myself needs an objective means of Ensure team effectiveness Page 8
monitoring delivery over the year. I also agree leading key performance indicators that provide early warning as to whether progress towards objectives and targets is on track and put a robust monitoring process in place that allows timely corrective action, as well as lagging indicators. It is wisely advisable to set phase key performance indicators appropriately. For example in quite period annual sales target should be achieved each month – if it falls behind in the early months, corrective action will be required in the later months. Alternatively, in the pick time most sales are achieved to a particular quarter, I will ensure that our indicators reflect this. At last, I would ensure that everyone in the team and the team as a whole is committed to achieving the team goals that we have agreed. At the end of each session we will discuss as an individual to indicate our satisfaction with the team goals and targets. We would agree as a team to be jointly responsible for delivering the goals, raising potential issues that could affect their delivery and working to solving these as they arise. After this I restate team goals, and commitments to each other.
At the end of each session, team members should be able to formally document their individual goals objectives and targets, understanding why they are important, and how they contribute to the goals of the team and the organization as a whole. I believe in this way I would be able to develop a self manage team who can perform better in any environment without any conflicts or any other issues like communication gap. Each team member will start to respect each other as a person, respect their decision and it will be great success for me as a team leader and for the store as well by increasing productivity. Conclusion:
To sum up, I used different methods to develop the working capacity of my team. For this I consulted my team members to clarify the team’s accountabilities, outcomes and goals. I successfully linked the team’s goals with organisational goals and provided timely and constructive feedback to my team members to encourage them and enhance their skills and competency.
Courtney from Study Moose
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