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Teamwork Essay

What is a team?
A team is a collection of people who possess complementary skills, who work together, and who are striving to achieve a shared goal.

Some other definitions of a team “A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable.” (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993)

“An organization in which the members have a common goal, have the same interests and same beliefs, and have activities that must be coordinated so as to achieve a higher effectiveness.” (Levis, 1988) Types of teams

Teams can be classified according to their objective. The four most common forms of teams are:
A) Problem-Solving Teams
They are typically composed of 5 to 12 employees from the same department who meet for a few hours each week to discuss ways of improving quality, efficiency, and the work environment.

Figure 1: Problem solving team

In problem-solving teams, members share ideas or offer suggestions on how work process and methods can be improved. Rarely, however, are these teams given the authority to unilaterally implement any of their suggested actions

B) Self-Managed Teams

They are generally composed of 10 to 15 people who take on the responsibilities of their former supervisors. Typically, these responsibilities include: a) Collective control over the pace of work,

b) Determination of work assignments,
c) Organization of breaks, and
d) Collective choice of inspection procedures used.
Fully self-managed teams select their own members, and the members evaluate each other’s performance. As a result, supervisory positions take on decreased importance and may even be eliminated.

Figure 2: Self Manage team

C) Cross – Functional Teams
Cross-functional teams are made of employees at about the same hierarchical level, but from different work areas, who come together to accomplish a task.
D) Virtual Teams
Virtual teams use computers technology to tie tighter physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal. They allow people to collaborate online, whether they are only a room apart or separated by continents.
E) Informal vs. Traditional

Informal teams are typically formed for social purposes as opposed to the tradition team that is formed with a specific work process or goal in mind. One example of an informal team would be a group of co-workers who meet informally over lunch breaks to discuss problems with the work environment

Meredith Belbin’s work on Team Roles or Functions is often used to investigate how individuals behave or what functions they perform in a group. Belbin identifies nine group roles, or clusters of behaviour. These roles have been categorised as either function (or task-oriented) or cerebral (people-oriented), fitting with the task and relationship roles of leadership as described below. Belbin’s team roles are:

The Shaper is a dynamic, outgoing member of the team; they are often argumentative, provocative and impatient Implementer
Implementers get things done – they have the ability of transforming discussions and ideas into practical activities. Completer-Finisher
The Completer/Finisher is a task-orientated member of the group and as their name implies they like to complete tasks.
Coordinator/ Chairperson
The Coordinator is often a calm, positive and charismatic member of the team.
Team Worker
The Team Worker helps by giving support and encouragement to the other members of the team. Resource Investigator
The Resource Investigator is a strong communicator, good at negotiating with people outside the team and gathering external information and resources.
The Plant is an intellectual and individualistic member of the team. Monitor Evaluator
The Monitor Evaluator is unlikely to get aroused in group discussions – they tend to be clever and unemotional, often detected from other members of the team. Specialist
The Specialist has expert knowledge in some area that is vital to the success of the group.

Table 1: Belbin’s Role Model


Table 2: difference between groups and teams

Definition of teamwork

Teamwork is a joint action by two or more people or a group, in which each person contributes with different skills and Express his or her individual interests and opinions to the unity and efficiency of the group in order to achieve common goals.

Importance of Teamwork in Organizations

Work Efficiency
Teamwork enables you to accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently than tackling projects individually. Cooperating together on various tasks reduces workloads for all employees by enabling them to share responsibilities or ideas. Teamwork also reduces the work pressure on every worker, which allows him to be thorough in the completion of the assigned roles.

Learning Opportunities

Cooperating on a project is an opportunity for new workers to learn from more experienced employees. Teams often consist of members who differ from one another in terms of skills or talents. Working together is a great opportunity to acquire skills that an employee never had beforehand, unlike working alone on a project.

Qualities and Skills of effective Teamwork

1. Communicates constructively
Teams need people who speak up and express their thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others and for the work of the team. That’s what it means to communicate constructively. Such a team member does not shy away from making a point but makes it in the best way possible — in a positive, confident, and respectful manner. 2. Listens actively

Good listeners are essential for teams to function effectively. Teams need team players who can absorb, understand, and consider ideas and points of view from other people without debating and arguing every point. Such a team member also can receive criticism without reacting defensively. Most important, for effective communication and problem solving, team members need the discipline to listen first and speak second so that meaningful dialogue results. 3. Shares openly and willingly

Good team players share. They’re willing to share information, knowledge, and experience. They take the initiative to keep other team members informed. Much of the communication within teams takes place informally. Beyond discussion at organized meetings, team members need to feel comfortable talking with one another and passing along important news and information day-to-day. 4. Cooperates and pitches in to help

Cooperation is the act of working with others and acting together to accomplish a job. Effective team players work this way by second nature. Good team players, despite differences they may have with other team members concerning style and perspective, figure out ways to work together to solve problems and get work done. They respond to requests for assistance and take the initiative to offer help.

Honesty: Team members put a high value on effective communication within the team, including transparency about aims, decisions, uncertainty, and mistakes. Honesty is criti-cal to continued improvement and for maintaining the mutual trust necessary for a high-functioning team. Discipline: Team members carry out their roles and responsibilities with discipline, even when it seems inconvenient. At the same time, team members are disciplined in seeking out and sharing new information to improve individual and team functioning, even when doing so may be uncomfortable. Such discipline allows teams to develop and stick to their standards and protocols even as they seek ways to improve. Humility: Team members recognize differences in training but do not believe that one type of training or perspective is uniformly superior to the training of others. They also recognize that they are human and will make mistakes.

Shared goals: The team—including the patient and, where appropriate, family members or other sup-port persons—works to establish shared goals that reflect patient and family priorities, and can be clearly articulated, understood, and supported by all team members. Clear roles: There are clear expectations for each team member’s functions, responsibilities, and ac-countabilities, which optimize the team’s efficiency and often make it possible for the team to take ad-vantage of division of labor, thereby accomplishing more than the sum of its parts. Effective communication: The team prioritizes and continuously refines its communication skills. It has consistent channels for candid and complete communication, which are accessed and used by all team members across all settings.

Advantages of Teamwork

1. Collaboration.
Collaboration is the first and most vital factor in teamwork. After an effective team building session in an organisation barriers of working together is reduced, that is the obstacles of collaborating for doing a particular task will be eliminated. Working together in team-building activities helps your departments to understand what each individual needs from the other members of your company.

2. Communication.
Teamwork enhances communication in an organization. A properly designed and delivered team-building activity improves the way people interact in an organisation. That is two- way communication is mostly encouraged. This fact is very beneficial for an organisation as it clears all misunderstandings and everyone understands their role well.

3. Increase quality of goods and services.
Teams also assist organizations to improve goods and services. Unlike organisations with traditional structures where the management is fully responsible towards decisions and performances but nowadays teams take direct responsibility regarding the quality of goods and services produced. Also one factor that makes teamwork popular these days is the need for speed and efficiency in designing and producing products.

4. Increases job satisfaction.
The implementation of teamwork can also increase the level of job satisfaction. It gives employees the opportunity to enhance their skills. This is done by cross training, that is an exercise that trains team members to perform all or most of the work done by other workers. This exercise allows teams to function under normal conditions with no interruptions even with the absence or resignation of a team member.

Disadvantages of Teamwork
1. Conflict.
Despite having several advantages teamwork has also some disadvantages. The most common drawback of teamwork is conflict. That is no matter whether workers are trained to work in teams or not conflicts and misunderstandings do exist in teamwork. Conflicts can arise by fighting over limited resources, arguments regarding certain issues, discrepancy in opinions and several other issues. Usually conflict is viewed as a negative matter hence this unavoidable fact is a drawback for teamwork as not everyone in a team think in the same way.

2. Unequal Participation.
Another major drawback in team building is unequal participation. That is some team members have the tendency to be inactive. They depend on other members to do most of the task required. This can cause resentment in the workplace, especially if the managers of an organization recognize only the efforts of a team and not those of the team leaders who work hard to accomplish most of the tasks assigned. This fact can have an adverse effect on the workplace morale.

3. Increase in Cost and Longer Process.
Teamwork can sometimes take longer to produce a desired result. That is time is wasted. Teams typically need to go through a variety of processes, such as member selection, organization and socialization on the way to completing the task at hand. Teams can also result in added expense, as they can tie up resources like money, manpower and equipment. That is in other words all this factors directly increase the costs of an organization as if productivity is slow the firm may lose its existing customers.

4. High Turnover Rate.
The most apprehensive disadvantage for any firm is high rate of turnover. Turnover rate is high especially at the initial stage of a team formation. A team is not necessarily accepted by everyone. Inability to adapt to other members and the internal environment of a team are the main factors for high turnover rates at the initial stage of team formation.

Team building is an ongoing process that helps a group of people evolves into a cohesive unit. Team building helps in achieving teamwork. It is A sequence of planned activities designed to gather and analyze data on the functioning of a group and to initiate changes designed to improve teamwork and increase group effectiveness. Symptoms that signal a need for team building

Decreased productivity
Conflicts or hostility among staff members
Confusion about assignments, missed signals, and unclear relationships
Decisions misunderstood or not carried through properly
Negative reactions to the manager
Complaints about quality of service

Benefits of teambuilding
Increased department productivity and creativity
Team members motivated to achieve goals
A climate of cooperation and collaborative problem-solving
Higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment
Higher levels of trust and support

Understanding the Stages of Team Formation
Team formation takes time, and teams often go through recognizable stages as they change from being collections of strangers to becoming united groups with common goals. First model of team development stages was proposed by Bruce Truckman in 1965

In 1977, Truckman, jointly with Mary Ann Jensen, adding a fifth stage to the 4 stages.

Let’s look at each stage in more detail.

In this stage, most team members are positive and polite. Some are anxious, as they haven’t fully understood what work the team will do. Others are simply excited about the task ahead. As leader, you play a dominant role at this stage, because team members’ roles and responsibilities aren’t clear. This stage can last for some time, as people start to work together, and as they make an effort to get to know their new colleagues.

Next, the team moves into the storming phase, where people start to push against the boundaries established in the forming stage. This is the stage where many teams fail. Storming often starts where there is a conflict between team members’ natural working styles. People may work in different ways for all sorts of reasons, but if differing working styles cause unforeseen problems, they may become frustrated. Storming can also happen in other situations. For example, team members may challenge your authority, or jockey for position as their roles are clarified. Or, if you haven’t defined clearly how the team will work, people may feel overwhelmed by their workload, or they could be uncomfortable with the approach you’re using.

Gradually, the team moves into the norming stage. This is when people start to resolve their differences, appreciate colleagues’ strengths, and respect your authority as a leader. Now that your team members know one-another better, they may socialize together, and they are able to ask each other for help and provide constructive feedback.

There is often a prolonged overlap between storming and norming, because, as new tasks come up, the team may lapse back into behaviour from the storming stage.

The team reaches the performing stage when hard work leads, without friction, to the achievement of the team’s goal. The structures and processes that you have set up support this well. As leader, you can delegate much of your work, and you can concentrate on developing team members. It feels easy to be part of the team at this stage, and people who join or leave won’t disrupt performance.

Many teams will reach this stage eventually. For example, project teams exist for only a fixed period, and even permanent teams may be disbanded through organizational restructuring. Team members who like routine, or who have developed close working relationships with other team members, may find this stage difficult, particularly if their future now looks uncertain

Table 2: Trukman model

Leadership Activities at Different Group Formation Stages

Direct the team, and establish clear objectives, both for the team as a whole and for individual team members Establish processes and structures
Remain positive and firm in the face of challenges to your leadership, or to the team’s goal.

Explain the “forming, storming, norming, and performing” idea, so that people understand why problems are occurring, and so that they see that things will get better in the future. Coach team members in assertiveness and conflict resolution skills , where this is necessary.

Step back and help team members take responsibility for progress towards the goal. (This is a good time to arrange a team-building event.)

Delegate tasks and projects as far as you can. Once the team is achieving well, you should aim to have as light a touch as possible. You will now be able to start focusing on other goals and areas of work.

Take the time to celebrate the team’s achievements – you may work with some of your people again, and this will be much easier if people view past experiences positively

Table 3: Leadership activities

The Four ‘C’s of Team Development
Over the past several decades, there has been research on team performance, researchers have come to the conclusion that there are four factors—four “C”s—that must be understood and managed for teams to achieve superior performance. These factors are:

1. The context for the team
2. The composition of the team
3. The competencies of the team
4. The change management skills of the team

According to Follett, “Conflict is the appearance of difference, difference of opinions, of interests.” Conflict management is the process of limiting the negative aspects of conflict while increasing the positive aspects of conflict. The aim of conflict management is to enhance learning and group outcomes, including effectiveness or performance in organizational Types of conflict

Functional conflict: works toward the goals of an organization or team Dysfunctional conflict: blocks an organization or team from reaching its goals Main sources of conflict
Personality clashes
Authority issues
Lack of co-operation
Differences of opinion

In Thomas and Kilmann’s model, five conflict styles reflect ways of reacting to a conflict or a difficult situation along one of two axes. One axis reflects the degree to which you address your own concerns (by acting either assertively or unassertively), and the other axis the degree to which you address others’ concerns (by acting either cooperatively or uncooperatively). When these two axes are combined, they form a grid of four cells with one central cell, yielding five different conflict styles: Competing, Collaborating, Avoiding, Accommodating, and Compromising

Sir Alex Ferguson is the most successful manager in British football history, winning almost 40 trophies – including 13 Premier League titles – during his time in charge of Manchester United. He valued teamwork a lot. According to him “Control is everything in management … the only thing that gives you control is time, and the only thing that buys you time is success.” Alex Ferguson. (Quoted in The Financial Times, Weekend, 29/30 May 1999, p11.) While loyal to individual players, Ferguson values the team over the individual, and emphasises teamwork even though the team includes multi-million pound stars. He operates a squad system to allow young players to gain experience, to rest senior players, and to ensure that one player can replace another without disturbing the balance of the team. It has, however, taken years to convince the players, the football authorities, and the press of the merits of this system.

* The League was unhappy with Ferguson’s use of the squad system, principally because the club fielded a team containing reserve and youth players in the League Cup. They were not persuaded by Ferguson arguments that he needed to give his young players experience of big matches. Some of the players who helped United to win the European Cup in 1999, however, had also struggled in the early rounds of the League Cup four or five years earlier.

* The press took many years to accept that a player might be rested and not dropped.

Ferguson monitors the strengths and weaknesses of his own squad on a day-to-day basis. He observes players closely in training sessions, or on video, looking for dips in form or signs of any worries they may have. He also builds up his knowledge of opposing players and teams by watching videos, and sending outspies and scouts to their matches. As a manager, Ferguson seems to have a talent for recruitment and selection. He finds good supporting men, such as his assistant manager, Steve McLaren, who is generally recognized as a very bright and innovative team coach.

After completion of the shared goal an evaluation has to be carried out whether the team was successful in achieving its goal. These evaluations can be done through the following way Team-level feedback – The feedback of team member can be a measure of success of the teamwork, positive feedback would mean that the goal of the team has been successful and negative feedback would indicate failure Team achievements- The team achievement in term of success of the project or goal can be another measure of success. The more the project or goal is successful the more the team is successful. Teamwork skills evaluation – Another approach that can be used in conjunction with measuring goal identification and team output is to measure the degree to which the team demonstrates key teamwork skills. This performance appraisal provides a way to understand how the team performs and how their performance can be maximized.

Teamwork was the key of success of our assignment. We motivated each other while working on the assignment that’s why we were able to finish the work early, we were able to meet deadline. Our team was high performing due to the hard work of each team member. We collaborated well which resulted in success of our team.

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