Effective work groups
The construction of effective teams is one of the most significant actions a person can take in an organization. A successful workgroup works towards accomplishing its goals, whereas an unsuccessful workgroup hardly performs anything. A successful workgroup also provides members with the liberty to act. A team is defined as a group of two or more persons working in harmony toward accomplishing a shared goal. The accomplishment of the set goal necessitates teamwork and a clear, shared vision of the future. The workgroup must be conversant with the organizational mission and then institute objectives that help realize that mission. The workgroup should also recognize the decisive factors that guarantee its efficiency and evaluate how it executes each of the criteria by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each of the team members. Team members should also devise ways and means of enhancing the effectiveness of the group, working in harmony to achieve a common purpose, and learning the merits of collaboration. Open communication of opinions, challenges, opportunities, and issues should enhance the group’s effectiveness. Most importantly, an effective work team requires a good leader willing to share leadership responsibilities with the rest of the group members (Schwarz, p.62).
Elements of group effectiveness
Different scholars have proposed various elements of group effectiveness. For instance, Hackman (1990) asserted three principal aspects of group effectiveness. These include the level of attempts that the group members put forth in the realization of the group’s goals; the level and type of information and skills that group members contribute to the chore; and the suitability of the task performance approaches used by the members in the realization of the task. According to Hackman, the productivity of a work team is prone to be successful if the members are highly motivated and therefore make a substantial effort in executing the team’s task; if the members are equipped with the essential skills and information to carry out the study; and if the strategies and measures that the group uses in executing its task, in reality, facilitate the efforts of the group. Additionally, three organizational factors enhance the probability that a team’s work will be typified by adequate attempt, sufficient task-appropriate information and skill, and task-relevant performance procedures. These include the structure of the group that supports a professional career on the chore; an organizational context that promotes and strengthens quality; and accessible, professional training and process assistance (Baninajarian and Abdullah, p.337).
Workgroup effectiveness is influenced by the facilitator’s capability, information, expertise, and communication skills. A work team is prone to perform brilliantly if the facilitator has adequate knowledge and skills concerning the task. The facilitator can also enhance the work group’s performance by making great efforts to guide the team members, being a good listener, and putting across the essential ideas and fundamentals for productively executing the task. The capability of group work members is made possible by a teamwork perspective. The level of working communally characterized by a work team’s members is a product of the team’s maturity. Synchronization and working co-dependently between the group members would most likely enhance the effectiveness of the group. The strategies used by the team in the execution of its job guarantee constructive relations among the members of the group. The makeup of the group and the setting in which the group operates to execute its task also determine the effectiveness of that group. One of the most critical elements of group effectiveness is group synergy which refers to cooperative relations among members. The level of harmonious relations that members have with each other and the level of effort that group members are prepared to make to execute their task increases the effectiveness of the group. Baninajarian and Abdullah state that “group synergy can be achieved by giving role-play to members and competition among group members also has its good point in keeping group members cooperative” (p.339).
Increasing the probability of process gains
Workgroups do not always perform at their highest level of prospective productivity due to process losses. Process losses refer to the factors which decrease a group’s productivity and include reduced motivational levels and coordination challenges. To increase the likelihood of process gains, a team member can strive to ensure group synergy. Group synergy helps to restrain the consequences of the input elements on the process factors. A highly synchronized and supportive team can create synergy or outcomes that are more successful than the summation of the contributions made by a sole team member. Group synergy can enable the team members to discover inventive ways to circumvent process losses and reduce waste and maltreatment of members’ resources, vigor, and capacity. It can generate process gains by enhancing harmonization, dedication, and motivation, which similarly brings more effort, energy, and skills applicable to the team’s task. Group synergy is the product of a team culture that makes each team member dedicated to the team, proud of being part of it, and eager to strive hard to make it a successful group. When members are proud of their membership in the team and find it gratifying to work harmoniously with their group members, they possibly will work significantly harder than it would otherwise be possible. Group synergy can be enhanced by engaging the group members in a sport and other outdoor activities through which they can build their team spirit (Yeatts and Hyten, p.34).
Building teams and managing their different stages of development
There are four main stages of group development. These include: forming, storming, norming, and performing. The forming stage occurs when individuals initially come together to create a team. Then, they become familiar with one another and institute the pertinent rules and regulations that will direct the group. Finally, the leader provides the team members with the direction to follow. Relations between the members are somewhat official and courteous during this stage. Some members want to know where they belong and their specific responsibilities in this stage. Others may motivate the rest to share their dreams about the group and set the goals to help them achieve their goals. On the other hand, some members may want to be received by the rest of the group and assist the group members in getting to know each other. It is, therefore, essential for the team to have a clear goal in mind and a clear direction to follow (Lewis, p.98).
In the storming stage, the members have spent some time together and become comfortable around each other. They begin to disagree and challenge one another. If the team does not go through this stage, it will not be strong because it lacks the opportunity to learn how to manage conflict. The doer of the group may start becoming impatient since he is interested in results only. He can assist the group by pushing it to move forward. The leader may become concerned that the group is getting preoccupied with things that are not related to its goals. The leader can help the group by encouraging the members to work towards their shared goals and being open to the opinions of the members (Lewis, p.98).
In the norming stage, the members are well conversant and have established rules to govern their behavior. They all desire the success of the team and work towards it. In this stage, trust among the members is also being solidified. The leader can enhance the team’s effectiveness by upholding accountability and the efficient utilization of resources. The team has established a clear, shared purpose and course in the last stage. The members are grateful for their differences and are using their differences for the team’s good. At this stage, collaboration among the members begins to take hold. However, these stages of team development do not linearly take place. Instead, a team may move backward and forward between the scenes as it grows (Lewis, p.99).
Baninajarian, Narges and Zulhamri Abdullah. “Groups in Context: A Model of Group Effectiveness.” European Journal of Social Sciences 8.2 (2009): 335-340.
Lewis, James. Team-Based Project Management. New York: Beard Books, 2004.
Schwarz, Roger. The Skilled Facilitator: Practical Wisdom for Developing Effective Groups. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1994.
Yeatts, Dale and Cloyd Hyten. High-Performing Self-Managed Work Teams: A Comparison of Theory to Practice. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 1998.