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.

Stages in development

The life cycle of teams is important in order to understand and facilitate appropriate team development

  • Forming: of the team’s core values
  • Storming: to determine identities
  • Norming: its standards and values
  • Performing: the real task at hand
  • Adjourning: the team membership

High Performance Teams

High performance teams are different from working groups. Things that make them unique are:

  • Sense of direction and purpose
  • Careful deliberate team selection
  • Specialized nature of their goals
  • Respect for the leader’s authority
  • Impact of actions of another
  • Ability to reframe challenges
  • Maintaining a code of conduct
  • Performance oriented goals
  • Flexibility in time based tasks
  • Purposeful time spent together
  • Optimal resource utilization
  • Interpersonal respect for members
  • Urgency for task accomplishment

MINDFRAMES Workshop Focus

High performance teams need to be built from scratch. Thus we train organizations and personnel on:

  • Suitable work allocation
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Communication skill training
  • Sensible objective setting
  • Maintaining quality standards
  • Importance of delegation
  • Contemporary leadership focus