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Teams & Team Building

What is a Team?

A team is a group of people having complimentary skills, working together to achieve a common goal with collective and synergistic effect
Difference Between Team & Group

Although the term Team and Group or work group is used interchangeably, but team is different from a work group in many way.

No Leader Team has shared leadership roles Leader is well definedStrong clearly focused leader
Has Individual and Mutual Accountability Individual Accountability
Has a specific purpose may be different from organization Has same purpose as of the organization
Collective work & products Works are individually assigned as products
Open ended collective problem solving Runs efficient meetings
Measures effectiveness directly by assessing work-products Measures effectiveness indirectly on whole basis
Discusses, Decides and delegates Discusses Decides and does work

Types of Teams

With course of time as businesses have realized that self managed teams can play an important role in overall performance while it is also not a perfect solution hence attention has been focused on creating different types of organizational teams according to the goal & objectives that are to be achieved.
Cross Functional Teams

These teams are made with individuals from different departments and functions in an organization. Many companies have found that this type of teams can improve effectiveness of various processes eg: dealing with external customers, achieving the mission etc.

Formation & Benefits of Cross-Functional Teams

There are 5 steps organizations must carry out for improving co-ordination of cross-functional teams.

1. Chose membership carefully

2. Clearly establish the purpose of the team

3. Ensure every one in team understand how the group will function

4. Conduct intensive team building

5. Achieve noticeable results so that the moral of members remain high and they can see the benefits of their efforts. Virtual Teams

Team of members performing knowledge based tasks in remote locations and communication via the modern technologies like internet, videoconferencing etc is called Virtual team

Virtual Teams have become very important as more and more time of the people are interacting virtually via the modern ways of communication like the internet web sites, chat rooms, and social networking sites.

For effective virtual team members, medium of communication and the goal to achieve play an important role.
Self Managed Teams

A self managed team is a group of employees who are responsible for managing and performing technical tasks that result in a product or service being delivered to a Internal or External customer.

Research has been in favor of self managed teams however there are also some factors which are behind the effectiveness of the self managed teams some of those factors are :-

1. Team members may not be willing to give up past practices, or set aside power or position.
2. Not all team member have same knowledge, capability or skill to contribute to the group hence team functions slows as some members shoulder more responsibility than others..
3. Team member may have conflicts as some times what works for a group may not work for an individual.

How to make teams more effective

Effective of a team is measured on the extent the team is able to achieve the objective. To make the team more effective members must overcome the problems and dysfunctions in the group. Organizations must create environment where support, commitment, reward system, communications systems, and the physical space be all in sync.

Tasks should be designed to be done independently, Team size must be kept as small as possible, Members of team must be selected on the basis of motivation and competence, homogenous groups must be selected to avoid cohesive problems, groups must be made to seem somewhat “exclusive” so the members are happy to be included in the team

There are 4 major ways to enhance Team effectiveness

1. Team Building

Team building is the learning curve in building teams it involves the necessary training before the team actually performs it also involves motivation of employees to become part of the team.

Team building must create the feeling of being one unit in the team members Team building involves in-house training as well as training outside in out of work environment.

Main steps in Team Building are

Establish Credibility Trainer must establish his/her knowledge and credibility for the members.
Allow ventilation All anxieties and un resolved issues must be cleared before the team building
Provide an Orientation Trainers must provide a verbal introduction of what trainees can expect and model of behavior expected from them
Invest in the process Let the team identify its problems and concerns first
Set Group goals Trainees have to create mission and goals first with consensus and than set the behaviours needed to achieve them.
Facilitate the group process Give information about how the trainees will function as a group and nominal grouping and paired comparison
Establish Intragroup procedures TSetting up meeting format, minte recording, and functioning of the team
Establish Intergroup Procedures Set leaders withing the team to interact with others outside the team
Change the role of trainers Let the team function on its own and trainer performs the more passive function
End the trainers involvement The team is self managed and works independently

2. Collaboration

It involves learning how to select the most effective team members and working in teams to achieve the common goals & objectives

3. Group Leadership

This step involves how the designated or assumed leader of the team behaves in the team. This is based on how the members are selcted and how the leader behaves with the tea. The tactic which may be used to make more effective leadership n teams involves equal reward & benefits for leader & tems and minimum differences in working conditions.

Cultural /Global Issues

In today’s multicultural environment teams have to be formed keeping the work force diversity in the mind. Teams should have minimum cultural conflict or the members must be aware of differences among them and must be taught to respect each other’s customs and beliefs.

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