Team Management – Some News and Views

TEAM MANAGEMENT

WHAT IS TEAM MANAGEMENT?

A team is defined as a reasonably small group of people, who bring to the table a set of complementary and appropriate skills, and who hold themselves mutually accountable for achieving a clear and identifiable set of goals.A management team might best be described as “a group whose role is formalized and legitimized and whose purpose is problem solving and/or decision making” (Duvall and Erickson 1981). Team management offers organizations an opportunity to improve the quality of decisions made and foster consensus where none was thought possible.

THE ELEMENTS OF TEAM MANAGEMENT:

To become more than a new label for traditional hierarchy, team management requires sound leadership from the superintendent, good working agreement between the board and its administration, and an organizational model suitable for the district. Above all, team management demands strong commitment to building trust among all participants.

Succes depends on such intangible factors as team members’ willingness to be open, trustworthy, and nonjudgmental and the superintendent’s eagerness to share power while retaining final responsibility for team decisions

TEAM EFFECTIVENESS:

Teams can be very effective. In many situations teams can achieve more than individuals working on their own.This is because teams can bring to bear a wider range of skills and experience to solve a problem. Teams also produce better quality decisions. When a team has been working on a problem, and they have a sense of commitment to the common solution. A team can be considered to be effective if their output is judged to meet or exceed the expectations of the people who receive the output.This is a question of the customer being right. If the team has been given some task to perform, the people who have given them the task are the people who will judge whether the result is satisfactory.Producing a quality output is not enough to judge the effectiveness of the team. The second criteria is that the team should still be able function effectively after they have completed their task. It should not be torn apart by dissension.

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS AN EFFECTIVE TEAM

There are three areas of group behaviour that must be addressed for teams to be effective. The team must work hard. The effort that the team puts in to get the job done is dependent on whether the nature of the task motivates the members of the team and whether the goals are challenging.The team must have the right mix of skills to bring to the table. These skills include technical, problem solving and interpersonal skills.The team must be able to develop appropriate approaches to problem solving. This depends on developing a plan of attack and using appropriate techniques for analysis.The following factors contribute to hard work, skill development and effective problem solving strategies:

The task itself should be motivating. One of the factors affecting the effort the team is likely to put into the job is the job itself. The characteristics of the job should provide motivation. The job should require a variety of high level skills to make it interesting.

The task itself should be seen as being worthwhile. It needs to be a whole piece of work with a clear and visible outcome so that people can feel a sense of ownership.

The outcome of the task should be perceived as being important to other people’s lives. It should affect others in the organization or impact on the external customer.

The job should provide the team with an opportunity for self regulation. They should decide how the work is to be done. Meaningful feedback should be provided on the how well the team is performing.The job characteristics are particularly important for work teams who are part of the day to day running of the organization.

The team needs challenging goals which are clearly defined..Goals are needed to spur a team.Goals provide a sense of direction to the team so that when conflict occurs it is possible to channel the conflict more constructively by returning to the goals for direction.They also need to be measurable so that progress towards achieving them can be monitored and results confirmed.
Rewards are important. Rewards reinforce the motivational aspects of having a well designed task and challenging goals. People tend to engage in those behaviours that are rewarded, so the rewards need to suit the personal characteristics of the people on the team. These rewards do not need to be financial rewards although they may be. Simply providing recognition for a job well done can be all that is required. Whatever form the reward takes, it is important that group effort be recognised. One should avoid the destructive effect of trying to single out individuals from the group, when there has been a group effort.

Agree on a code of conduct.. The team needs to agree on a set of rules to ensure that their efforts are purposeful and that all members contribute to the work. The most critical rules pertain to attendance, open discussion, using an analytical approach, not pulling rank over other members, planning the work and sharing work assignments. This will ensure that the work is done well and done on time.

Team Management Skills:

In most jobs there are likely to be two or three activities that are critical to successful performance. If these activities are carried out effectively, it can make the difference between high and low performance in a job.These nine work functions form the basis of theory of Team Management.

– Advising Gathering and reporting information
– Innovating Creating and experimenting with ideas
– Promoting Exploring and presenting opportunities-
– Developing Assessing and testing the applicability of new approaches
– Organizing Establishing and implementing ways of making things work
– Producing Concluding and delivering outputs
– Inspecting Controlling and auditing the working of systems
– Maintaining Upholding and safeguarding standards and processes
– Linking Coordinating and integrating the work of others

Team Management Wheel.

The Personal Team Management Profile highlights an individual’s major and 2 related areas of work preferences on the Margerison-McCann Team Management Wheel.

o Reporter-Adviser – Supporter, helper, tolerant; A collector of information; Dislikes being rushed; Knowledgeable; Flexible

o Creator-Innovator – Imaginative; Future-oriented; Enjoys complexity; Creative; Likes research work

o Explorer-Promoter – Persuader, “seller”; Likes varied, exciting, stimulating work; Easily bored; Influential and outgoing

o Assessor-Developer – Analytical and objective; Developer of ideas; Enjoys prototype or project work; Experimenter

o Thruster-Organizer – Organizes and implements; Quick to decide; Results-oriented; Sets up systems; Analytical

o Concluder-Producer – Practical; Production-oriented; Likes schedules and plans; Pride in reproducing goods and services; Values effectiveness and efficiency

o Controller-Inspector – Strong on control; Detail-oriented; Low need for people contact; An inspector of standards and procedures

o Upholder-Maintainer – Conservative, loyal, supportive; Personal values important; Strong sense of right and wrong; Work motivation based on purpose

The Team Management Profile is used worldwide by leading companies in diverse applications, including: Team Development, Leadership Development, Reengineering, Quality Initiatives, Management Training, Performance Review, Career Development Diversity Training

Reference

1. ericdigests.org/pre-928/team.htm
2. eagle.ca/~mikehick/teams.html
3. tms.com.au/tms03samp.html
4. Charles Margerison and Mccann Dick/Guide to Managing Business Series : Team Management