Team development at work
Group work vs. Teamwork
Few missions if any in today’s world can be accomplished alone. Any task requires focused resources from many individuals. Putting people together in a room constitutes a group. Add a common goal and strategy, and this group gets transformed into a team, which can deliver the organizational purpose effectively and efficiently. While groups rely on ‘individual bests’ for performance, teams demonstrate the spirit of accountability and task definition. Committed to a common purpose, they possess complementary skills, and agree on specific performance goals for which team members hold themselves mutually accountable.
Establishing member roles
The Functional Role Theory of Benne and Sheats (1948) defines the characters that every team member adopts during the facilitation of team work. Teams have goals that are the team’s global target, people have their own personal targets and interests in the process and most importantly, all members have interpersonal roles they play in this entire interaction. Every member needs to thus adopt the goal-oriented disposition, task positioned role and socio-cultural function at the same time. This will ensure harmony in the team and make it a high performance-working group.
Building on these roles
Every member of the team needs to be trained in different personality roles so that they play these in different situations. In developing appropriate teams, every role is to be well defined. Just like the act played by every actor on stage. While one team member is the coordinator and shaper, another may be an implementer and team worker and yet another will be the evaluator and investigator. These roles are interchangeable. Thus each one once in a while evaluates on the task of another, offers feedback, acts as the shaper to reshape an ill designed task and in effect helps build the ultimate team experience.
Whole = More than sum of parts
When each one does their assigned job themselves, they add their individual pieces to the mosaic. However the design at the end of the process is more beautiful than every single piece by itself. Teams are responsible for action and motivate each member to put in the best for a higher purpose: Team success. When teams succeed every individual succeeds too. However the team adds an additional sense of humanness to the performance and allows individuals to look beyond themselves.
MINDFRAMES: Reframing team development
Teams deserve optimal interpersonal communication and team leadership. Norms set for team conduct dictate team performance. These can be written or unwritten, negative or neutral, apply to all or few. Accepting rules of conduct, escalating trust and camaraderie, setting performance oriented goals and building individual wills to make the team succeed is the ultimate goal. Organizational behavior theories applied to this team development process can assure desirable team outcomes.