Today’s leaders face many challenges in the creation of a high-performing team. Effective leaders are able to assemble a high-performance team with good hierarchical balance, measurable and attainable goals, and appropriate communication expectations across the team. They promptly address conflict resolutions and break down all physical barriers in managing multi-city offices and dispersed employees. By paying close attention to team demographics and diversity, good leaders will establish a solid group foundation which will result in a high-performance team.
Groups and High-Performance Teams
There are many factors that affect a team’s behavior and overall performance. Group demographics and diversity can ultimately play a key role in the success or failure of any team. This paper will identify some of the challenges that today’s leaders face in turning a group into a high-performance team, and the impact of demographic characteristics and cultural diversity on group behavior. Groups vs. Teams
As defined by Schermerhorn (2005), “A group is a collection of two or more people who work with one another regularly to achieve common goals. An effective group is one that achieves high levels of task performance, member satisfaction, and team viability.” Teams on the other hand, are usually time-limited groups that get together to achieve a common purpose. “An essential criterion of a true team is that the members feel ‘collectively accountable’ for what they accomplish.” (Schermerhorn, 2005). The manager or team leader must remember the importance of the team members’ ability to associate themselves with a group identity and begin to form an attachment to their teammates. “The fact is that it takes a lot more work to build a well-functioning team than simply assigning members to the same group and then expecting them to do a great job.” (Shcermerhorn, 2005). Team Identity
Setting a team’s identity is one of the first steps a manager must take in forming a high-performing team. As we often witness in the sports world, a team’s identity can help to rally team members and build camaraderie amongst its members. The same approach holds true in a business setting. Computer Weekly (2004) reports, “The project start process can also be used to build team identity and build psychological attachment between members.” (p. 24). This psychological attachment will serve as the foundation upon which the team is built and will affect the team’s overall performance. According to Turk (2005), “As the project manager you need to build a staff that can get the job done. You need the right mix of expertise, creativity, flexibility, enthusiasm, and experience.” ( p. 30). These key attributes will work to motivate other team members and assist the manager in establishing the appropriate balance to the team. Team Diversity
When forming effective teams, managers must consider team synergy an important goal, and diversity plays a major role. Managers should strive to create the appropriate balance between workers and their personality types. As Martinette (2005) points out, “Work groups and teams that have too many people of one type or another soon find themselves out of balance.” (p. 117). “For good problem solving and decision making, you need a diversity of personality types.” (Hill, 2005, p. 37). Striking the proper team balance is important and balance does not mean people with a background and disposition just like the boss. Many types of diversity are to be expected on any team, and can be the source of many differences of opinion. Age, gender, ethnicity, and personality differences can affect the team’s cohesiveness, or non-cohesiveness as may be. Obviously, with a diverse group the possibilities of conflict increase, but so do the possibilities of a greater outcome. Hill (2005) gives us an example, “Meetings are more raucous and consensus is harder to achieve. But these arguments often spark new ideas....
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