Team designing is a broad title for activities to construct, develop and sustain groups of people who are working together to achieve common goals with a commitment to taking collective responsibility. The process begins when someone notices that a problem exists which can be solved through collective efforts. Members then gather data concerning the problem, analyse these data, plan for improvements and implement the action plans. Everyone is expected to participate actively, and come up with solutions aimed at improving the effectiveness of the team. Team designing, thus, is participatory and data based. Team members and leaders must consciously make efforts to build high-performance teams.
1. Size: High performing teams tend to be small (generally 5 to 12). Large groups do not allow members to develop close understanding and rapport easily. As a team increases its size, it becomes harder for each member to interact with and influence the others. 2. Skills: Members must possess three kinds of skills. The most important one is the technical competence, followed by problem-solving and interpersonal skills. The right mix is important. Too much of one at the expense of others may affect performance. 3. Rules: For a team to be successful over the long run, it must be structured so as to both maintain its member’s social well-being and accomplish its task. Two types of roles are worth highlighting here. Some may even play a dual role, where the member contributes to both the team’s task and supports members’ emotional needs. Members who do not take an active part (playing a non-participative role) are held in low esteem by the team as a whole. Effective teams must have people in both task specialist and socio-emotional role. Humour and social concern are as important to team effectiveness as are facts and problem solving. 4. Behaviours: Team members must exhibit certain behaviours which help in developing close ties with others (S.R. Lloyd). [ Team Designing ]
These are listed below:
Team Members: Ground Rules
1. Speak respectfully to one another and about one another.
2. Listen without interrupting.
3. Express opinions, feelings openly, honestly.
4. Make ‘I’ statements and not ‘you’ statements.
5. Ask for help when needed, offer help when possible.
6. Make commitments seriously and keep them.
7. Support the team and each other.
8. Focus on problems and solutions, not blame and accusations.
Not everyone could become a team player automatically. Members need to be picked carefully. If they lack team skills, training must be imparted. Workshops, counselling sessions, teaching classes could be held to help employees improve their problem solving, communication, negotiation, conflict management and coaching skills.
Members who indulge in social loafing (the tendency of individuals to expend less effort when working collectively than when working individually), as stated above, are not held in high esteem in a group setting. To avert this danger, successful teams make members individually and collectively responsible for teams goals. To encourage this, rewards are also designed to meet individual excellence as well as group targets. Selfless contributions to the team effort need to be adequately rewarded through promotions, pay raises, special allowances, etc.
The successful functioning of a team depends on to a large extent on the ‘soft skills’ exhibited by the leader in the form of communication, conflict resolution, motivation, sharing and trust building. First, the leader should know his own strengths and how those strengths can help the entire group. Second, the leader should share power and information in order to empower team members and reach goals. Third, team leaders should enable members to find answers for themselves by asking questions and encouraging balanced participation. Fourth, team leaders should coordinate team activities and avoid wasting time on details that can be better handled through transfer of responsibility to the team. Fifth, leaders should accept the concept of continuous, on-the-job learning.
The mere presence of a good leader does not guarantee the success of a team automatically unless members trust the leader. Trust, a belief in the integrity, character or ability of others, is essential if people are to achieve anything together in the long run. The primary responsibility of creating trust in the minds of members rests with the leader/manager. The manager by virtue of his hierarchical advantage has greater access to key information. If the manager tries to get results through intimidation, members join together in cohesive resistance. Therefore, trust needs to be developed right from inception where team members would be more receptive and willing to accept managerial influence. Openness and honesty on the part of a manager, paves the way for sound relations between team members and the manager. A trusting manager is willing to be influenced by others and to change if facts demand such a change. When trust develops between the manager and the team members, members are willing to exercise self-control and self-direction. [ Team Designing ]