An individual is unlikely to succeed in completing a wide variety tasks alone due to complexities and obstacles. Hence, teams are often required as a means of ensuring efficiency and effectiveness. Teamwork can be beneficial because it helps to divide tasks, allocate roles and sets a clear path for success. It can help to create positive outcomes through reliability and timeliness for attaining objectives which might not have been possible with one person working alone. Teamwork has been defined as an integral component of achieving objectives and targets. A team can include a number of individuals who are entrusted with the responsibility of completing a specific task or project. Successful teams seem to be characterized by clear and precise goals. The leader of the team – if s/he is an effective leader – is able to create a vision for success while other members strive to fulfil the operational details. Each member must be dedicated and motivated while resolving personal conflicts, and a cohesive and disciplined team always strives to attain success through the use of multifaceted strategies. Furthermore, there is a focus on excellence through the use of various approaches. I have served as a member of a mountain climbing expedition. Our team encountered numerous problems and obstacles. In essence, the experience helped me to understand the dynamics of teamwork by focusing on efficiency and effectiveness. This report will seek to analyze and assess the personal experiences gained during the expedition. In short, it will analyze how teamwork can be successful by analysing and evaluating the characteristics of successful teams.
Teamwork can produce significant benefits which ensure the attainment of overall goals. Participants’ attitudes, notions, and outlooks are arguably strengthened as the result of good teamwork. Group discussions enable clear instructions that can remove ambiguity in mutual goals and targets. Teamwork has been identified as an essential component of success and efficiency. Successful teamwork is characterized by highly decentralized management structure (Lee, 2001: Pg 123). Each individual must be able to participate in the process in an efficient and effective manner. In addition, a congenial environment can ensure that innovation and creativity can be applied for complex situations. Effective teamwork is based upon a number of successful outcomes and variables. The first step is that the team must have access to proper expertise, resources, and members for achieving success (Lee, 2001: Pg 123). Leadership is the key to success because it provides guidance and inspiration to complete tasks in an efficient and effective manner. Other competencies have included high levels of dedication and commitment among team members. A shared vision can help to create highly cohesive and disciplined team members, and each member will seek to perform his/her duties because it is a key component of overall objectives. A sense of ‘ownership’ helps the team to perform at optimum levels – this will need leaders to delegate and not micro-manage, of course. Improved trust and communication can help to ensure that the team is able to increase productivity and output.
Problem and Context
I feel that the team was able to successfully develop a shared vision that needed to be completed through mutual collaboration and confidence, and I was able to ensure joint ownership of the problem by using a systematic and logical effort. Empirical studies argue that a team must have a collective idea in order to perform at optimum levels. This vision helps in the determination of realistic objectives. The SMART framework must be utilized for creating such objectives (Mohrman, 2005: Pg 78). My team was strong in the sense that its objectives were clear while individual duties were outlined in a transparent manner. A consensus was developed in which each team member provided suggestions for achieving the objectives.
Yet the team was hindered by a number of obstacles and problems which, if remedied, would have produced a different outcome. At the core level, the leadership was flawed due to the absence of strategic thinking. Leadership must be able to successfully think ‘out of the box’ in order to prepare for the future. Another flaw was that problem-solving measures were carried out in an ad hoc and unplanned manner. This can be catastrophic for teams because problems often hinder the basic objectives of the organization. There is a need for a collaborative approach towards problem solving by focusing on solutions. Finally, there were concerns that the team was hindered by the absence of coherent and disciplined guidelines (Taggar, 2002: pg 315). A team always needs to function according to proper guidance and vision in order to succeed. In short, a team needs to know what it is for, what it is doing, and how it will achieve its goals.
My role in the team was to act as a manager who would be able to fulfil the operational details of our activities. As a manager, I sought to ensure that I possessed high levels of perception and awareness regarding our goal. The five factor model provides a valuable blueprint to understand the personality of managers. I would consider myself to be an assertive and talkative individual (Wellins et al, 2004: Pg 78). This means that I am ready to accept challenges and express my views in a clear manner. My role was chosen based upon a number of personal competencies; it was based upon the desire to increase commitment and dedication towards the goal. In addition, there was the need for a person who would be able to successfully convey the message of the leadership to the followers. This needed to be achieved in a neutral and productive manner so that superior and positive outcomes could be attained. Furthermore, the role meant that I needed to be open and honest about certain ideas and values: such a strategy would lead to high levels of efficiency and effectiveness. Having said this, I experienced difficulties in ensuring that the team would be able to learn new competencies and skills. Empirical studies have documented that teamwork should be based upon the creation of a learning environment because it helps to create self knowledge and self development of followers (Yeatts, 2005: Pg 69). Hence the goal should be to create a collaborative environment where the followers can utilize their own skills as a means of resolving problems and making decisions. My role overlapped in many ways because of the team dynamics that were present in the group: I had to ensure that communication levels were open in the team. This is supported by the theory which states that successful teams need to develop cohesive and disciplined structures as a means of ensuring success in a difficult environment. I performed this role due my natural aptitudes for planning, scheduling, and organizing activities, and, as a consequence, I was able to direct the followers for achieving objectives in an efficient and effective manner (Yeatts, 2005: Pg 69). Teamwork can be successful only if the manager is able to recognize the talents of other individuals. In addition, the manager must be able to delegate tasks and resist the urge to ‘micro manage’ so that a sense of autonomy and ownership can be developed among the followers. A number of factors and competencies helped in achieving goals in an efficient manner: for example, my creativity enabled me to implement solutions to various problems by using a logical approach, and I applied rational thoughts as a means of making decisions as well and making sure I carefully facilitated the debating the strengths and weaknesses of specific approaches (Yeatts, 2005: Pg 69).
Further, I was able to establish rapport and empathy with my team members. Such a strategy can help to enhance the productivity of teams.
I believe that the team could have undertaken a number of alternative actions in order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. The manager needs to communicate clearly what is expected of the team to the leader as well as the members, and he should be able to clarify why the team has been created. In addition, I would have chosen the context of the mission for creating a disciplined team (Kirton, 2003: Pg 67). The team members should clearly know why they have been selected to be a part of a certain team. What are they expected to do in order to attain the team goal and can they suggest actions for themselves and their team mates for attainment of the given goal? I also believe that a team should have high levels of commitment and competence. It is extremely important to know if the selected member if fully committed to participating in the team. If the team member is positive about the goal, his role and expertise then he will be motivated to perform at his best level. It is also important to know the team views about its members. It should have the appropriate people who have the required values, notions, and competencies to perform the tasks (Lawlwer, 2001: Pg 96). Also, the manager needs to check if the team has taken the assigned responsibility properly and designed its own mission and plan of action: clear goals and outcomes must be elucidated as a means of ensuring efficiency and effectiveness. I have learned that collaboration is the key for the proper function of teams, and that it should be ensured by the team leader as well as the manager that all members of the team are collaborating and working in harmony – professionally, at least – for the fulfilment of the given task. The team should, more than anything, be clear about the priority of the tasks given and instructions and goals should not be ambiguous. There should be a feedback and suggestion method and information related to the task must be given to the team regularly (Kirkman & Rosen, 1999: Pg 58).
It should be considered whether the organization is ready to accept the suggestions and change and rewards of people who ‘think differently’ and innovatively, or does it reward those who keep the status quo maintained by just ‘plodding along’ and doing what they are told and what they have done before? Team members must be able to coordinate and cooperate in order to achieve the team success, and this can only be done when they are able to work together and be able to share their information and discuss their work with each other – though this does not mean that there cannot be a certain amount of tension and competition between team members (for example, many successful bands and song writing partnerships have been hotbeds of tension and argument!) Developing a team requires the manager to analyze the different cultures from which the team members have come so that he is able to understand the psyche of the members (Lawlwer, 2001: Pg 96).
I have learned that, when a group of people get together in an organized manner and either work together or independently but co-operate to satisfy the customer needs by accomplishing common goals, this is known as a team. These teams are created for long term goals such as a product development team, a departmental team etc, or for a short term such as a team to plan an annual company function, a presentation team, a problem solving team; but generally, the most common types of teams are functional/departmental, cross functional and self managing teams (Brannick & Prince, 1997: Pg 87). In order to complete its goal, each team works according to a plan but not every team is able to achieve success in completing their goals. I have learned that every successful team must be disciplined and cohesive in order to achieve success. In order to build a bond between members of a team, it is essential to focus on collective goals and values. Here the team leader has to make sure that every member of the team is interactive: this will generate informality and frankness between the team members that will help them work more informally and cohesively (Harryson, 2000: Pg 92). I have learned that in a successful team each member knows the essentials of the team: everyone is completely and unambiguously aware of what the more important thing is to the team – what is its ‘reason to be’ – and such teams work well accordingly. In a sport like basketball or football, each member is clearly aware that they have to score in order to win the game and collectively they try to improve their scoring abilities. Similarly, in an organization, if any member of the team is unaware of what is expected of him, he will not be able to perform his best and will also prevent the team from fulfilling its goal; thus, it is highly important – and, in fact, imperative – for the team leader to identify the team goals and communicate these goals to every member clearly.
I have learned that positive communication can enhance the overall success of the team in multifarious ways. Each member should be able to feel – and really believe – that they are working in an environment where they can give positive suggestions to their team matters and offer positive criticisms, develop and share ideas and information, and help each other free from fear or mockery. Open communication among the team members increases productivity (Harryson, 2000: Pg 92).
If a team is small in size, then it is easier to have constructive agreement on actions to be taken, and if the team is diverse and has people who differ in age, gender, culture, class, training, experience –and, perhaps most importantly, opinions and mind-set – then the chances are that more innovative solutions and “out of the box” ideas can be generated. Diversity makes the team more powerful, though diversity as narrowly defined in identity politics terms of race and gender, is arguably nowhere near as important as diversity of thought and ideas. Every time a team goal completes the team leader should make his team members seem valued and allow the team to celebrate its success. In this way, every member of the team feels satisfaction and even joy at their performance in the attainment of goals. This helps boost team morale and will ensure that the team continues to perform well in the next level of goal fulfilment. The celebration can be on a very small scale like enjoying a pizza lunch together (Harryson, 2000: Pg 92).
Teamwork has been defined as the ability of individuals to join each other in order to accomplish mutual goals and tasks. Successful teamwork is based upon a number of factors and competencies. At the core level, it is essential that the team has a direction and purpose in achieving its goals, and each member must be motivated and inspired to perform at optimum levels. Furthermore, individuals need to be selected based upon their knowledge and expertise. A sense of ownership should be given to team members in order to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. Successful teams should always function based upon the presence of smart leadership. A leader needs to guide the followers while giving them sense of responsibility and ownership: this helps to increase their levels of dedication and commitment. My experience in the team has enabled me to learn about various aspects of teamwork. I believe that it is important to have a cohesive structure that allows for resolving conflicts. Team dynamics should be created in such a way that superior outcomes can be attained. Commitment and dedication are important while shared values can be used to develop a sense of trust and confidence.
I would conclude that an efficient team should remove any personal obstacles by focusing on outcomes and respecting the views of each member. Talented and productivity members should be encouraged to apply innovative strategies for resolving complex situations and thus achieve goals.
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