Effective Leadership of Work Teams

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Contemporary business environments require hospitality industry managers to utilize group synergy to achieve quality standards of work to enhance organizational effectiveness. The group performance and the possible influence it exerts over its membership is an important characteristic of human behavior and organizational performance. Managers and employees in a hospitality organization comprise a workgroup. Effective managers, require teamwork when considering the selection of individuals in groups. Teams differ from Groups. Overall, this essay discusses the understanding of group interaction in work teams for effective leadership; understanding the behavior of individuals within work teams; and finally, conclude as to why effective leadership of work teams depends more on a thorough understanding of dynamics of group behavior than on understanding individual behavior within teams about the hospitality industry.

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Effective leadership of work teams depends more on the understanding of the dynamics of group interactions. To understand this dependence, I will define the term groups, differentiate between groups and teams, explain group values and norms, and state the importance of the dynamics of group work. Groups are defined as “two or more interdependent individuals interacting and influencing each other in a collective pursuit of a common goal’ (Bartol et al, 601). They represent several individuals performing tasks together. These groups interact within workgroups to achieve specific objectives while working together. In contrast, “a team is a temporary or ongoing task group whose members work together to identify a problem, form a consensus about what should be done, and implement necessary actions for a particular task or organizational area” (Bartol et al, 601). There exist a difference between a team and a group, two teams which quite often are used interchangeably. It follows that all teams are groups, while not all groups are teams. Teams often have individual members who have different skills from one another and each skilled individual can contribute effectively to the realization of common goals. While teams are task-oriented, groups are formed spontaneously and naturally. The dynamics of group interactions have power over individual behavior. In Hawthorne experiments performed in the Western Electric Company in America, groups have their sanctions employed to ensure that members conform to group values and norms. For an organization to benefit from group work, it is important for members of the group tasks together as well as interacting proactively. The hospitality industry is an industry where groups work essentially well compared to other industries. In this industry, cooperation among group members is essential as it provides a direct effect on customer satisfaction (Henderson, 58).

Having an effective team is an important factor necessary for the hospitality industry to be successful. It should be understood that the main competitive advantage of hospitality organizations is their employees. In a contemporary business environment of a hospitality organization, task performance requires the involvement of people working together as a team. For instance, the provision of services such as food and beverages, accommodation, recreation, travel, and others in a hospitality organization is based on a work team effort. Effective leadership of these work teams depends on the understanding of group interaction dynamics than on understanding individual behavior within teams. This is because the dynamics of group interactions have a great influence on the behavior of individuals within work teams. Forms of groups may include; the organization itself as a unit, specific work units such as the food and drinks department, front office, and others, and shift groups. These groups through dynamic group interactions influence both individual behavior and individuals who make up the group (Henderson, 59).

Effective leadership of work teams depends more on understanding or group interactions than understanding the behavior of individuals within work teams because of the following reasons: one, group interactions are always geared towards working on common goals; two, groups are directly accountable to the manager; three, the group skill levels are often random; four, group performance is evaluated by the manager; five, the aspirations of the manager can define the success of the group; six, the performance of groups within teams is varied, that is, it can be positive, neutral, or negative; and seven, group culture can bring about change or conflict. Managers need to understand the dynamics of group interactions because it involves members who have varied skills sharing common norms and expectations of performance (Miller, 225).

Groups in contemporary business environments have become more diverse with members having varying skills, knowledge, and attributes due to the changing demands. This puts the group in a strategic position by maximizing each member’s strength (Ivancevich & Mattesson, 319). When developing groups, managers need to consider three important issues. That is, appointing individuals; with interpersonal skills, with elements of diversity; and with task-relevant expertise. Although it is a time-consuming exercise, managers must develop an understanding of group composition as it can influence group and individual performance and behavioral outcomes (Bartol et al, 603).

The understanding of the dynamics of group behavior enables managers to find out why some groups underachieve and others are highly productive. They can develop an understanding of performance and productivity by assessing the inner functions of the group. As individuals within teams work towards attaining their desired goals, much energy needs to be focused on the group itself to ensure that the group maximizes the resources. This describes group synergy which is “the ability of the whole to equal more than the sum of the parts” (Bartol et al, 880). The achievement of positive synergy means groups are effectively utilizing the resources to achieve the desired goals of the organization (Hackman, 10).

Social life by definition involves group dimensions. Individuals affiliate themselves with groups which they prefer for a sense of personal identity. Group membership assists people to define who they are, and who they are not. It is important to note that group membership exercises influence individual members by suggesting norms of behavior and values and attitudes and beliefs. Individuals referring to the group for a sense of identity tend to conform to the norms of the group (Kelley et al, 81). Hospitality organizations are groups and employees frequently attempt to use these aspects of group membership to build a sense of organizational loyalty and commitment to shared norms. The emergence of leaders is one of the features of group dynamics. These leaders may be formally appointed by the organization and have formally defined roles, authority, and responsibilities. Their approach to the group through emotional attachment, people or task centeredness, or in their decision-making style has an impact on group members. In other cases, leaders emerge from the dynamics of the groups (Conger et al, 2002). Nevertheless, leaders influence group members’ group members. In both cases, leaders will exercise some power over other group members in their ability to shape the behavior of individual members. The power or the degree of strength of influence they can exert on subordinates has several sources. However, the power of leaders is dependent on the willingness of group members to be led. Managers or supervisors are required to participate in several significant ways as members of workgroups they are in charge of. For them to exercise effective leadership, they must recognize and understand the importance of groups to members, and the characteristics typical of group actions (Kusluvan, 695).

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In conclusion, the hospitality industry is characterized by complex small to medium-sized organizations which service clients. It is a demanding industry going by the diversity of culinary expectations, service standards, and cultures, that is, for both those who provide service and the clientele, and especially customer expectations. The framework of meeting the needs of customers makes it a unique industry. Hospitality organizations in contemporary business environments operate by engaging qualified individuals to utilize their skills, expertise, knowledge, and experience in groups within teams. Every member constituting a group or team within the organization brings these attributes to the group in pursuit of attaining the stated goals and objectives. Organizational behavior and performance are defined by the dynamic group interactions between members of the group or within the teams. Organizational behavior is a reflection of all the workforce employed and therefore, cannot be defined by individual employees alone. Logically, supervisors or managers who develop an understanding of group dynamics will be in a position to influence workers’ behavior and in the process develop a quality performance that contributes to the improvement of organizational effectiveness.

Works Cited

Bartol, K, Martin, Tein. 1998, Management: A Pacific Rim Focus, The McGraw Hill Companies, Australia.

Conger, Craig, & Pearce, 2002, Shared Leadership, SAGE Publisher, CA.

Hackman, R, 1990, Workteams in Organizations; an Orienting Framework, Josey-Brass, San Franscisco.

Henderson, G, 1996, Human Relations Issues in Management, Greenwood Publishing Group, New York.

Ingram, H. & Desombre, T. 1999, Teamwork Comparing Academics and Practitioners; Team Performance Management, vol 5,pp. 16-22.

Ivancevich, J, Matteson, & Olekalus, M. 2000, Organizational Behavior and Management, McGraw Hill Irwin, New York.

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Kelley, Male, & Graham, 2004, Value Management of Construction, Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

Kuluvan, S, 2003, Managing Employee Attitudes and Behaviors in Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Nova Publishers.

Miller, J, 2006, Supervision in the Hospitality Industry; Applied human Resources, John Wiley and Sons, New York.

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