Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 1512
, Published on 13 September 2015
Teamwork is generally understood as the willingness of a group of people to work together to achieve a common goal. Teamwork is absolutely fundamental for teams to work together. It is only when the abilities of individual team members is collaborated together, we can see the benefits of working in a team. So, teamwork can also be defined in this way: when the strengths, skills and abilities of individuals are combined together forms a team and it when directed in a particular direction to produce a meaningful result reveals the teamwork.
Why is teamwork important?
Teams and teamwork have become a central part of our lives these days. There can be various reasons to justify the importance of teamwork, which are:
• It promotes the sense of achievement, equality and brotherhood, essential for motivated work space.
• It brings the sense of unity among people of diverse backgrounds.
• It promotes flatter and leaner structures, with less hierarchy.
• It encourages multi-disciplinary work where teams cut across organizational divides.
• It creates synergy- where sum is greater than the parts.
Reasons of Popularity:
As organizations have modified themselves to fight more effectively and bravely, they have made up to teams as a better option to make the best use of the talent of their employees. Teams are more flexible and adaptable to the changes faced by the organizations than traditional departments or permanent groupings which used to exist earlier. They can quickly assemble, deploy, refocus and disband. They are also high in motivation.
Another reason for the popularity of teams is that they are an effective means for management to democratize organizations and increase employee motivation.
Types of Teams:
Teams can be responsible for performing any number of tasks. They can provide products, give services, handle deals, deploy projects, give advice and take decisions. The four most common types of teams in an organization are: problem- solving teams, self- managed work teams, cross- functional teams and virtual teams.
1. Problem- Solving Teams: Groups of 5 to 10 employees of an organization who interact with each other for some time every week to discuss on the ways of improving quality and efficiency of the work environment. These problem- solving teams rarely have the authority to implement any decision by themselves. These can only make recommendations.
2. Self- Managed Work Teams: Groups of 10 to 15 people who take on responsibilities of their former supervisor. Typically, these tasks are planning and scheduling work, assigning tasks to members, making operational decisions, taking action on problems and working with suppliers and customers.
But, self- managed teams not always function very well. Whenever there is any conflict they are not able to manage it well. When disputes arise, the members of the team stop cooperating with each other and power struggle continues which leads to lower group performance.
3. Cross- Functional Teams: Employees from about the same hierarchical level, but from diverse professional background, who come together to accomplish a task forms a cross- functional team.
Cross- functional teams are the best possible way of allowing people from different backgrounds within or even between organizations to exchange information, innovate new ideas, solve tedious problems and coordinate complex projects.
4. Virtual Teams: Teams that make use of software in devices to bring in collaboration remote members for the sake of fetching a target are called the virtual teams. They collaborate online using communication links such as wide- area networks, video conferencing, or e-mail. Nearly all teams today do at least some or other kind of work remotely.
For virtual teams to be effective, management should ensure that trust is established among the team members, team is monitored closely and the efforts and products of the team are publicized throughout the organization.
Factors which Determine whether Teams are Successful:
The four factors which are most significantly related to team performance are adequate resources, effective leadership, a climate of trust and a performance evaluation and reward system that reflects team contribution.
1. Adequate Resources: Every team work depends on resources from outside the group to keep it working. Lack of resources directly affects the ability of a team to give its best in job and hinders it from achieving its goals.
2. Leadership and Structure: Teams can't function properly if they don't have a clear demarcation of what each member should do and if they don't share the workload equally.
Leaders need to empower teams by delegating responsibility to them, and play the role of facilitator, making sure that the teams work together rather than against each other.
3. Climate of Trust: Trust is the basic building block of a team. Members of effective team trust each other. They also have immense trust on their leaders. Interpersonal trust among team members facilitates cooperation, reduces the need to monitor each others' behaviour, and develops a strong bond among the members of a team so that others won't be able to take advantage of them.
4. Performance Evaluation and Reward System: Instead of evaluating people by individual performance, there is need to evaluate the performance of their whole team, rewards should be given on the basis of team performance. This promotes the team spirit among the employees of an organization and helps them improve and work better in groups.
It has been seen that teamwork takes more time and often more resources than individual work. Teams always have increased communication demands, more conflicts to manage and many meetings to run. So, before you rush to implement the teams, carefully analyze whether the work requires individuals or will benefit from a collective work.
Despite of all these facts, teamwork have better resource utilization capabilities, effective leadership qualities, a climate of trust, and a better performance evaluation system and reward system that reflects team contribution. The best example of teamwork is the sports team, where the contribution of each member is important but, their strengths multiplies when they all work together with a team spirit and coordination.
This article has been authored by Vinshi Choudhary from IIM Kashipur
• Book: Pearson's Organizational Behaviour By Robbins, Judge and Vohra
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