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The basics of teamwork [Hausarbeit plus Präsentation]

Hausarbeit 2002 24 Seiten

Führung und Personal - Sonstiges



1. Introduction

2. Building up a team
2.1. Finding the right people
2.2. The five stages of teamwork
2.3. The first meetings

3. Supporting a team
3.1. Measuring performance
3.2. Motivation and rewards
3.3. Solving conflicts

4. Conclusion

5. Vocabulary List

6. References

7. Appendix

1. Introduction

At the moment teamwork is a very popular term. People say, that it is nowadays essential for being successful in business to be a teamworker, a teamplayer. But what exactly is a team and what makes teamwork special? Several books and the internet helped me to gather relevant information in order to answer this question.

Worldwide markets have changed enormously in the last two decades. Globalisation and liberalisation on the one hand and saturated markets on the other hand have led to high quality standards and customer orientation. In addition to that product life cycles have shortened, so that companies are under pressure to develop more new products and product variations in less time to reasonable costs. The need for more flexibilty and the necessity to adapt quickly to changing market conditions involved a reduction of layers in the management. One of the results is more responsibility for the employees. Not only that they become more and more involved in the decision making process, they also have to meet higher expectations as the tasks become increasingly more complex. It seems obvious that at a certain point one person alone can not handle difficult tasks any longer, especially if high financial and economic risks are associated. Therefore a rising number of companies forms teams.

This essay focuses on aspects a team leader has to consider if he or she gets the task to start a team from scratch. While the first chapter has given a short introduction, the second chapter defines teamwork and the steps on the way from a mere group towards a team. Then the third chapter examines conditions under which teams can prosper and perform outstandingly. After that the fifth chapter gives a short summary and allows an outlook. The last three chapters contain a list of vocabulary, references and a test, where you can find out what kind of teamplayer you are.

2. Building up a team

Leadership involves to know how teams function and and which role a team leader plays. Many companies offer trainings to prepare their employees for teamwork, others have not realised the necessity yet. But only the backround knowledge enables a team leader to do his job well and to understand certain situations that will occur in the team building process.

There exist many different definitions of a team, but I personally prefer this one, because it is the most concise I could find: ‘A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance, goal and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable’, (Armstrong, 2000, p.12).

[illustration not visible in this excerpt]Hereby the key criterion for a team is the common purpose combined with at least one shared goal. These two components bond all members of the group and also show that for being a team aspects like close proximity or titles do not matter. Furthermore it is important that in the team building process all members agree upon the approach the group is going to take to fulfill the task. At the same time a strong will to succeed and a real sense of commitment within the team are essential. An undoubted advantage of teams is, that team members can motivate and support each other. A good team will work to the strengths of its individuals, while compensating their weaknesses, which creates synergy effects. All that not only leads to a rise in productivity and effectiveness, but also promotes personal and career development. The mentioned mutual feeling of responsibility among the team members gives an idea what the team leader`s role is. Because he or she is not the only person responsible, it is not the one of a superior being but of an integral part of the team. The team leader must provide guidance, support and feedback to help the team achieve its purpose.

In practice teams wear different names and can work in different areas, there are for example:

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Despite all advantages the coordination of people takes much time, energy and can be costly. So it is important to know when to make the best use of teamwork. Working in teams should be preferred if:

- the task is very complex
- one person alone has not the skills, experience or time needed to deal with it
- decisions have to be made quickly
- many people/ departments are concerned, e.g. reorganisation of a company
- nobody has an answer for the problem yet
- the final decision is linked to high financial risks

So the first step is to check whether teamwork is the right way to solve the given task. Otherwise precious resources will be wasted.

2.1. Finding the right people

Before choosing any team members it is vital to examine what kind of skills for the task are needed. Besides expertise attributes like personality, self-management, willingness to learn and the ability to communicate are important, if a well balanced team should be assembled.

The following introduces to the Team-Management-Wheel, which represents one way to accomplish the recruitment process systematically. It is based on the findings of the Swiss psychologist C.G.Jung, who discovered that certain features of personality are inborn and that these features define how people prefer to do their work. Out of that C.Margerison and D.MacCann developed eight different team roles, which can be summarised into four groups: advisers, explorers, organisers and controllers.

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Advisers - Reporter-Advisers and Creator-Innovators

Advisers prepare decisions by providing necessary ideas and information. While reporter-advisers are specialists in gathering detailed information and in presenting the facts, so that everyone can understand it, creator-innovators generate their own ideas, which often contradict with conventional ways of thinking. Especially creator-innovators do not like routine work and need a lot of freedom to develop and to discuss their ideas. In a team there should be no more than one creator-innvoator, otherwise it will come to clashes between them.

Explorers - Explorers-Promoters and Assessor-Developers

[illustration not visible in this excerpt]Such people are characterised by their ability for pushing ideas. On the one hand there is the explorer-promoter, who understands it to fill others with enthusiasm for a new idea, who likes making contacts and who is always interested in what others outside of the team are doing. On the other hand assessor-developers like experimenting with new ideas to find out, whether they can be put into practice with realistic efforts. Assessor-developers are at their best, when they have to analyse different options and have to develop proposals. Another aspect the two roles have in common is, that they do not like routine work, both prefer variety.

Organisers - Thruster-Organisers and Concluder-Producers

If decisions have been made, they are the ones that make things happen. Hereby thruster-organisers attend to setting up plans, organising people and fixing dates, whereas concluder-producers concentrate on routine work, which they carry out persistently and reliable. Both of them like clear structures and procedures and feel satisfied if plans and budgets are met.

Controllers - Controller-Inspectors and Upholder-Maintainers

[illustration not visible in this excerpt]Controllers support the team by keeping it on track. Controller-inspectors enjoy working with facts and figures and have no problem in concentrating for a long time to trace possible errors. They are therefore valuable in financial work and quality control. Besides they are rather introvert and keep in the backround. In contrast upholder-maintainers feel responsible for the physical and social sides of work. They support team members to cope with work, understand to stabilise the social relationships within the team and are a great source of strength. In addition to that upholder-maintainers watch that the team sticks to agreed values and normes.



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Titel: The basics of teamwork [Hausarbeit plus Präsentation]