Fostering Collaboration: the Power of Effective Teams

Topics: Team, The A-Team, Collaboration Pages: 6 (1692 words) Published: January 18, 2009

Teams can enjoy a significant competitive advantage over individual employees in any organization through the facilitation of trusting, open, and supportive relationships. This advantage helps to foster collaboration in the organization. Trust is the basis and most common and ôfundamental element of a winning teamö (Kouzes and Posner, 2007, p.225). Literature suggests that ôpositive relationships help produce effective teamsö (Lafasto & Larson, in Pierce & Newstrom (Eds.), 2008, p160). Successful cooperation will enable individuals in team to accomplish much more than any one person could do alone.

Fostering Collaboration: The Power of Effective Teams


In order for an organization to be effective, and moreover successful, it depends on the leader to institute an effective team strategy and at the same time foster collaboration between themselves, each team, and each individual of the teams. Hackman states, ôCommon knowledge suggests that teams outperform individualsö (Pierce & Newstrom, 2008, p.165). At the heart of this team building and collaboration are the issues of trust and truthfulness in the organization, and open and supportive actions and communication (LaFasto & Larson, in Pierce & Newstrom (Eds.), 2002).

The Power of Teams

LaFasto and Larson (2002) note that teams are very different from each individual employee because each team member must not only work on their own goals and the teams objectives, they must also be collaborative with the other members of the team. In order for a team to be most effective, it depends on a collegial atmosphere similar to the one created by Nike vice president and CFO Don W. Blair who states that he ôseeks to create the milieu that builds organizational capacity to keep us competitiveö (Knowledge@Wharton, 2005, p. 2). The effectiveness of this collegial atmosphere resounds through much of the literature. Kouzes and Posner (2007), note that one of the most important ingredients to collaboration and cooperation is a ôsense or interdependence, a condition is which everyone knows that they cannot succeed unless everyone else succeeds, or at least they canÆt succeed unless they coordinated their effortsö (p. 233). Extraordinary things can be accomplished when people rely on one another. Teams help to inspire a ôsense of mutual dependenceö (Kouzes & Posner, 2007, p.233), this is a state in which people can count on each other and each knows that they need the other to be successful.

Facilitating Collaboration

Kouzes and Posner (2007) state, ôôYou canÆt do it aloneö is the mantra of exemplary leaders-and for good reason. You simply canÆt get extraordinary things done by yourselfö (p, 242). Individual who collaborate effectively in pursuit of common objective and goals will outperform people who act alone (Beyerlein, et. Al, in Pierce & Newstrom (Eds.), 2008). This is especially true in organizations that assign tasks which require specific knowledge, multiple skills, different professional experiences, and different creative drives (Beyerlein, et. Al, in Pierce & Newstrom (Eds.), 2008; Knowledge@Wharton, 2005).

For a leader to be successful at the facilitation of collaboration, one must ensure that everyone in the team and the organization as a whole recognizes their ôinter-dependence more than their independenceö (Kouzes and Posner, 2007, p.243). Leader must work to create and ensure a collaborative climate. This climate produces confidence, commitment, and clarity. This clarity drives confidence and the commitment is driven by confidence. (LaFasto & Larson, in Pierce & Newstrom (Eds.), 2008). Clarity of priorities gives clearer understanding of roles and actions, confidence helps team member to commit and take action, and commitment helps team members ôweather the difficult timesö (LaFasto & Larson, in Pierce & Newstrom (Eds.) 2008, p.164).

Cooperative roles and goals contribute to a collective purpose, and the best...

References: Beyerlein, M.M., Freedman, S., McGee, C., Moran, L. (2008). Beyond Teams. In J.L. Pierce, &
Hackman, J.R. (2008). Leading Teams. In J.L. Pierce, & J.W. Newstrom (Eds).
Knowledge@Wharton (2007, February 28). Big Winners: Hitting That 'Sweet Spot ' of
Success Year After Year
Knowledge@Wharton (2005, March 30). Just Do It: More than an Athletic Prescription.
Knowledge@Wharton (2002, June 19)
Kouzes, J.M., & Pozner, B.Z. (2007). The Leadership Challenge (4th Ed.). San Francisco:
LaFasto, F., & Larson, C. (2008). When Teams Work Best. In J.L. Pierce, & J.W. Newstrom
Scholl, J. (2006). Football, Leadership and Maslow. Retrieved from
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