Just imagine a sports team…you name it, any team sport…without strong leadership, well-communicated vision and extreme team cohesiveness they aren’t going to go very far are they? Would you expect them to be a league leader? Are you able to envision them winning a championship? I don’t know about you, but I say, “No”.
Neither will your business. Oh, I knew there was a parallel here. If you don’t have a strong team atmosphere in your business, you may be hoping for a strong draft position next year…that is if there is a next year. Hey, I like to throw in sports analogies wherever applicable.
Get my meaning?
How do you go about creating a lasting team atmosphere in your business? Well, how about we take a look into the dynamics of team development? If you are able to take the following phases and apply them to your team I think you will experience some gains.
Meyers (1999) states, “Walls prevent accountability and kill commitment. Without accountability and commitment, you don’t have a team, and you won’t have a team.”
Team development occurs in the following phases:
- Starts as collection of individuals with the leader as organizer.
- The team must seek out common goals.
- The group then has shared leadership as the leader is fine-tuning the team. (Meyers, 1999).
In the “Reader’s Digest” version, Meyers sees the team first forming around a leader. The leader’s responsibility is to organize the team and provide the team members with their expectations, roles and responsibilities. Next the team is given their common goal. In business we all know this to mean that the team is given the project parameters, timeline, “signposts” and “benchmarks”.
As the project moves forward the leader (project manager) must be aware of possible “bottlenecks” or “pain-points”. The leader (project manager) must eliminate or lessen the negative effects of these “bottlenecks”. If not managed effectively “bottlenecks” can cause stress on team members job functions.
The leader needs to empower team members to permit them to make “on-the-fly” decisions so as not to slow progress. Let the team members manage at the “operational” level, while leader should manage from a more “tactical” viewpoint. The leader should take into account all aspects of the project, and aware of how each line of the project relate and interacts with the other lines of the project. I speak in these general terms because these principles can be applied over a broad range of disciplines and I don’t want to confuse with specific examples.
You may also be aware of team development being described in the following terms:
This sort of team development is more applicable to groups that are brought together to solve a problem. Forming refers to when people are first brought together as a team to complete a task…any problem-solving task. Storming is when the group members come together to brainstorm possible methods of solving the problem. Norming happens as the members are developing acceptable and unacceptable norms for group members. Many one of the norms that the group takes on is that tardiness to meetings will not be tolerated. Conforming occurs when all the team members accept the requirements and expectations of the team. Now the team is a cohesive unit.
Interesting team dynamic factoid!
Research has shown that there is a “magic point” where teams really kick it into gear to get the job done. What is that “magic point” you ask? The halfway point of the length of the task / project is that “magic point”. For example, if a team is given a task / project that has a deadline in 2 weeks, then the team will get one week into the project and kick butt the second week to get it completed.
Conflict Resolution in Your Teams
Successful conflict resolution processes begin with team development in your company. When the team is first being put together is the best time to deal with conflict resolution. It makes sense why. From the very get-go, the team knows the expectations, responsibilities and roles of all team members. Team development facilitates the processes by bringing individuals together that are working for a common goal. As I said earlier, employee disputes and conflicts come in as many forms as there are individuals. Not all conflicts can be resolved in the same manner…because they all have different causes When you have to use conflict resolution procedures consider the following.
When disagreements arise keep these following suggestions in mind.
- Be an active listener. Ask open-ended questions, paraphrase, empathize, reframe and summarize.
- Be proactive. Make a date for a meeting in a non-threatening environment, such as going out for coffee.
- Determine the cause of the conflict by permitting each party to describe their perspective to the situation. Ask questions such as, “I feel I have angered you. Is this true?”
- Brainstorm possible solutions.
- Negotiate a solution.
- Formalize an agreement. Put it on paper if necessary.
- Implement the solution.
- Make a date for a follow-up meeting. If the negotiated solution is not working, renegotiate.
So, is team development important to you now?
Anonymous. (1999 Spring). Resolving Workplace Disputes [7 pages], The Canadian Manager. Available: http://proquest.umi.com/pdqweb?Did=00000004038758&Fmt=3&Deli=1&Mtd=1&Idx=42&Sid=1&RQT=309
Booher, D. (1999). Resolving Conflicts [5 pages], Executive Excellence. Available: http://proquest.umi.com/pdqweb?Did=000000041232562&Fmt=4&Deli=1&Mtd=1&Idx=27&Sid=1&RQT=309
Cook, C. (2004 May), Rules of Engagement; Tips for playing a winning marketing game. [2 pages] Network Journal. Available: http://proquest.umi.com
DeVoe, D. (1999). Don’t Let Conflict Get You Off Course [3 page], InfoWorld Publications. Available: http://proquest.umi.com/pdqweb?Did=0000000043775269&Fmt=1Deli=1&Mtd=1&Idx=2&Sid=1&RQT=309
Jain, S. (1999). Marketing: Planning and Strategy. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing.
Meyers, J.R. (1999). To Build A Team, You’ve Got To Tear Down Walls [4 pages], Purchasing. Available: http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?Did=000000043827692&Fmt=3&Deli=1&MTD=1&Idx=3&Sid=3&RQT=309
Searle, L. (2002), Has talent, needs customers. [6 pages] Strategy & Leadership. Available: http://proquest.umi.comTweet