Modern management incorporates team empowerment and teamwork in place of supervisory and having the necessary skills within a team ensures success of the concept of management. This modern technique of management utilizes teamwork among employees in organization. Since the use of teams to handle various organization responsibilities implies a shift from the traditional supervisory relation to a team based approach effective teams need to posses skills that enable it to handle larger responsibilities. It seems to me like teamwork is more of delegation of more duties from supervisor to workers in their teams. With this approach, concepts such as empowerment of teams arise. This paper evaluates the way team functions, different skills needed in teams and the concept of team empowerment.
According to Katzenbach and Smith, (1998) a team is a small group of people who are joined together by a common purpose and performance goal. Teams work together to attain the goals and are accountable for their actions. Teams are formed on two basic assumptions as advanced by (Katz, 1995, Kotter, 1990). First, that use of teams transfers more responsibility form supervisor to workers, which then implies that workers need added skills to handle enlarged responsibilities and secondly that management has capacity to influence skill structure in teams.
According to Katz and Kotters assumption, teams cause changes in work organization and skills are a requisite. However, this assumption has limitations because it is difficult separate supervisors’ responsibilities from those of the teams. Further, it is unclear how much responsibility should be shifted to teams. However, the decision lies with management and leadership who are in charge of determining the amount of responsibility depending on the value placed on teams, the willingness of middle management to share responsibility, skills possessed by teams and so on. Katz assumption suggests the capacity of management to influence skill structure in the way team members are selected. The basis of selection should be on taking into account skills possessed by each member and the effect on the level of the organization. What this assumptions implies is that organizations that chose to apply this modern management style should redesign the organizations span of control to delegate more responsibility to team members and ensure that teams members have skills, which complement other members weakness and strengths.
It is important to note that organizations management and leadership have significant impact or team operations starting from the planning process to delegation of duties and operation management. Reorganization of structure of an organization is a transition process and often management is caught up in the process. At such a point, the importance of the skills within teams comes into play. According to Kotter 1990, human skills are necessary during changes and they include conceptual, technical and human skills. Perhaps the most important thing to note is that management should not be limited to considering already existing skills only but rather should also take into account potential of team members improving their skills in future. This is because in order for teams to be effective in meeting its goals they must possess sufficient skills (Katzenbach and Smith 1998). Further, effective teams benefit from management by objectives and since the change process takes, team development and maturation also takes time.
The terms management and team leadership are used in this paper, but there is need to distinguish between the two in order to understand their impacts on a team success. The distinguishing factor between two is in the functions of each that is management concern itself with functions of planning, organizing, directing and controlling function while leadership is concerned with implementing the plans through workers. The main tasks include communicating of goals, motivation, giving direction and so on. Management lays out strategies, which are the starting point for team development, and it is the manager’s role should be facilitative.
At this point, it is worth knowing the underlying factors that dictate the success of failure of teams and how teams operate. First, effective teams compose of members who appreciate their role in their teams. When the team atmosphere is positive, each member feels an important part of a larger whole. This implies that the positive feelings elicit internal motivation and commitment to attaining goals of the team. Leadership plays a critical role in aligning the people, inspiring commitment, enabling team member to see the big picture, communicating goals and developing the team members’ skills so that they can handle the enlarged tasks and so on. In most cases, teams appoint team leaders from within the team whose role is to represent the team to the other units in the organization. The team leader also gives direction and creates vision for the team. (Huusko, 2006).
Most importantly, team leaders should be involved in team activities. This gives a hand on approach in ensuring that the team functions well. Team managers are charged with responsibility of ensuring that teams have access to facilities or resources they need to undertake their responsibilities. In addition, they negotiate targets and timeframes for meeting targets and keep an eye on progress made by teams. The main concept about teams is working together and valuing input of every member of the team.
As noted in the paper, skills are a requisite for team development and effectiveness. However, the lack of skills is not the only inhibiting factor to effective teamwork. Empowerment or the lack of has a hand in reducing team effectiveness empowerment though not used in many management literature is any intervention by management or leadership to sharpen skill of team either through energizing team members, sharing knowledge and so on. Although team empowerment does not guarantee success yet limits chances of failure, organization have a capacity to manipulate it to its advantage. This is achieved by ensuring that organizations find a reconciling point between the lost control because of team management and uniform organization goals. Similarly, empowerment implies that teams be given more responsibilities as well as autonomy and authority necessary to accomplish their tasks.
Different levels of work require different skills. The basic skill required at all levels is the technical skill. At the managerial level, skills such as cognitive skills, decision making and communication skills are necessary. Team leaders should have interpersonal skills in order to be able to motivate the team members in face of challenges and foster learning attitudes in them. On the other hand, team members should have problem solving skills interacting and organizational skills. In conclusion, skills are necessary in handling any responsibility and these sills are either inborn or acquired from schooling or experience. Skills determine how successfully teams handle tasks and as such, they should be horned.
- Huusko, L. (2006) Team Performance Management. Vol. 12 No. 1/2, pp. 5-16.
- Emerald Group Publishing Limited
- Katz, H. (1955), “Skills of an effective administrator” Harvard Business Review. pp. 33-42.
- Katzenbach, J.R. and Smith, D. (1998). The Wisdom of Teams Creating the High-Performance Organization. Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.
- Kotter, J.P. (1990), “What do leaders really do?” Harvard Business Review, pp. 103-11.