Building Effective Teams

An effective team is one which contributes to the achievement of organizational objectives by performing the task assigned to it and providing satisfaction to its members. Team effectiveness depends on the complementary of team members, other factors remaining the same. From this statement, it appears that there are many factors in effective teams. These factors are skills and role clarity, supportive environment, super-ordinate goals and team rewards. Let us see how these factors make effective teams.

  1. Skills and Role Clarity: For an effective team, two things are required from its members; skills which are complementary to the team requirement and understanding of one’s own role as well as roles of other members. While skills are relevant for job performance, understanding of roles helps members to meet the requirement of one another thereby solving the problems which the team faces. Thus, team members may tend to contribute positively to the teamwork. Even if one member lacks behind, he may tend to affect others because of chain reaction just like a rotten apple injures its companions.
  2. Supportive Environment: A team loaded with skilled members cannot perform well if the organizational climate is not supportive for that. If the organizational climate is not in tune with high achievement, team members may not show high degree of enthusiasm and they will use only a part of their skills in performing the jobs. Therefore, managers at higher levels particularly at the top level should set organizational climate and culture which enthuse team members to put their best.
  3. Super-ordinate Goals: Super-ordinate goals are those which are above the goals of a single team or a single individual. An individual works better if he is able to link how his goal attainment leads to the attainment of a higher-level goal. These super-ordinate goals, then, serve to focus attention, unify efforts, and stimulate more cohesive team efforts.
  4. Team Rewards: Team performance depends on how reward is linked to team performance and how members perceive this linkage. If team members perceive that reward to contingent on team performance, they will put their maximum. Rewards of both types- financial and non-financial-should be taken into consideration. Further, organizations need to achieve a careful balance between encouraging and rewarding individual initiative and growth and stimulating full contributions to team success. Innovative non-financial team rewards for responsible behavior may include the authority to select new members of the group, make recommendations regarding a new supervisor, or propose discipline for team members.

The positive aspect of all these factors leads to team effectiveness and team members share common values regarding product quality, customer satisfaction, and share the responsibility for completing a project on schedule.

Building Effective Teams

Katzenbatch and Smith, management consultants, have suggested the concept of real team and they feel that this concept is relatively unexploited despite its capacity to outperform other groups and individuals. They define four characteristics of real teams: small size, complementary skills, common purpose goals and working approach and willingness to be held mutually accountable. Real teams can be created and sustained by:

  1. Selecting members for their complementary skills and potentials;
  2. Developing clear rules of conduct and challenging performance goals;
  3. Establishing a sense of urgency right from the first meeting.
  4. Providing substantial time together in which new information is constantly shared; and
  5. Providing positive feedback, recognition, and rewards.

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