Developing Effective Work Teams
When developing effective work teams, it is crucial to know the difference between a mere group and an actual team. A work group exists simply for the members of the group to share information and help each other perform their own individual responsibilities. Work groups are all about individual contributions instead of team effort, and thus the group is no greater than each individual’s personal input. A work team, however, functioning through coordination and cooperation, has the ability to create a positive energy greater than sum of its member’s individual inputs. In effective work teams, productivity is greatly increased by an overall positive ...view middle of the document...
Self managed work teams often function without the need of a supervisor or supervisors, and they commonly evaluate one another’s work. Self managed teams are responsible for their own planning and scheduling of work, assigning of tasks, taking action on problems, working with both customers and supplies, and setting a reasonable work pace.
Cross functional work teams, like self managed work teams, are also fairly independent. Cross functional work teams are always assigned with a task in mind, and thus the members are specifically chosen. In terms of hierarchal status, the members of such teams are nearly equals, but their fields of expertise are always varied. The collaboration of individuals with various skill sets allows the cross functional work team to tackle many aspects of a single task at any given moment, and it does so efficiently. However, with diversity comes complexity, thus the initial managing of cross functional work teams can be difficult.
Problem solving, self managed, and cross functional work teams all accomplish their discussions and collaboration face to face, but this is not so with virtual work teams. Virtual work teams allow individuals who are dispersed throughout an organization to communicate using computers, in order to accomplish common goals. Virtual teams can converse for any given length of time to solve particular problems, and they have little problem functioning as any other teams would. The main differences of virtual teams in regard to teams that work face to face are the limited social context, the ability to overcome space/time constraints, and a lack of nonverbal cues.
Picking the correct type of work team for every given task is the first step to creating an effective team that efficiently reaches it goals, however, there is much more to creating and maintaining a work team’s effectiveness. In regard to team context, there are four distinct requirements: adequate resources, leadership and structure, climate of trust, and a performance evaluation/reward system.
Teams are not autonomous; they exist in, and must function according to the organization that employees them. Thus, each team relies on its organization’s resources. A poorly supplied team lacks the means to carry out its tasks efficiently, and thus negatively affects production. Therefore, an effective team must have access to timely information, adequate staffing, quality equipment, and necessary administrative assistance.
Team leadership/structure is equally important. Team members must agree on the tasks assigned to each individual so as to make sure that the workload is evenly distributed. Teams should be able to arrive at a consensus on scheduling, what skills need development, conflict resolution, and how decisions will be made. Management may directly provide teams with a structure/leadership system, or if possible, teams may create this system themselves.
Trust of team members and team leaders is a must amongst teams....