Teams have the potential of exponentially empowering an organization as every member completes the other and in turn creates synergy. Creating and managing effective teams is a challenge worth taking on as the benefits of synergy are a great reward.
This article will offer tools and thoughts on how to create and manage effective teams in the workplace.
Management theory identifies a team as 3 or more members with the opportunity to create hierarchies and interactions amongst them (therefore a large group of people is not a team).
There are three distinct types of teams:
1. Organic teams – Teams which are supported by an organizational structure.
2. Project teams – Teams which are assembled for a specific project.
3. Non-organic teams – Teams which are assembled in an organization for a specific process or task or multi-disciplinary teams.
In every team the manager plays a role in which professional as well as procedural guidance holds an extremely important place.
Effectiveness of teams can be described as effectiveness compared to the target set at the forming of the team or as effectiveness compared to resources.
What we look for in effective teams is the Synergy. Synergy is what separates a good team from just a team and what enables team based organizations to create a viable competitive advantage over time.
In order to create and manage effective teams a manager must work to enable the advantages of a team to bloom. A manager of a good effective team must use the following characteristics to most benefit the organization:
1. Use the differential knowledge of team members – The sum of knowledge in a team is obviously greater then of any individual. Moreover, differential knowledge creates that sought after synergy.
2. Enable diversity of opinion and approach – Different team members have accumulated different experience and to solving problems. Use that resource in order to address issues in a variety of ways.
3. Acceptance and commitment – Being a part of a process or team creates acceptance and commitment to the team and to its goals. Encourage the team to share and make use of every team member in order to create that commitment.
4. Offer team members a stage to show intellectual abilities – Team members will flourish if given the opportunity do express themselves.
5. Do not be afraid of disputes – Disputes lead to growth in a team.
A manager of a good effective team must also be wary of the following unwanted characteristics of teams:
1. Avoid group pressure – Try to minimize group pressure and dominance of certain members. Group pressure effects free thought and expression subduing great possible ideas.
2. Do not let one member take control over a team
3. Politics should be avoided – Do not enable politics between team members. Compromises made using political power harm the team’s goals and effectiveness as they might not be the optimum outcome of a team.
4. Keep the original goals of the team at the centre – Many teams naturally shift the centre of attention to other issues and goals.
5. Avoid group think – Group think is one of the most dangerous characteristics of teams and should be avoided at all costs. Group think usually leads to unwanted solutions and can severely harm an organization.
Utilising the tools mentioned above will help create synergy in a team as a result of mutual fertilization of ideas. This process is as intuitive as it might be analytical.