Dealing with Teams
“There is no I in team” is a famous phrase used in all kinds of scenarios and the business world is no stranger to this concept. Teams play a very important role in organizations as well as our personal lives. Teams are formed when individuals with common interests come together and work together for a common goal. Henry Ford had the right idea when he said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” This proverb details the importance of working in teams, but what truly makes a team successful? Developing team competencies, team diversity, dealing with team conflicts, and improving group effectiveness are but a few factors that make an average team great.
Team competence, or the ability to be successful within a team, typically revolves around the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of the team. Knowledge in the context of a group refers specifically to “understanding facts, concepts, relations, and underlying relevant information that is crucial in performing team tasks” (Pg. 290). Some examples may include knowledge of the teams mission, objectives, and norms; task sequencing; team role interaction patterns; understanding teamwork skills; and understanding teammate characteristics. This wealth of knowledge is crucial and most beneficial to any group scenario.
Skills, or highly developed behavioral and cognitive capabilities, are another crucial factor in the development and completion of the team. Flexibility and being able to adapt, monitoring ones own performance and those around them, being able to handle positive and negative criticism, and being able to approach the situation with the responsibilities of a leader are key elements that group members must have to be successful.
Attitudes involve the emotional side of things. The feelings and beliefs about something is a vital part of how we view our environment and how we view the workplace. Several attitudes are unique to the group context and have a direct bearing on the group's interaction processes. In a group scenario, attitudes can be directly linked to how we view the concepts of team orientation, shared visions, team cohesion, mutual trust, and teamwork. Such attitudes can be nurtured and developed dependent on the situation at hand.
By definition, diversity means that there will be an increased likelihood for a wider range of views to be had. In regards to teams these diverse views are more than likely going to challenge the typical norms and produce ideas with the intention of making the business more successful and encourage positive change. Aside from actual differences that create diversity, teams that are diverse have various challenges, benefits, and drawbacks compared to non-diverse teams. One main benefit with team diversity is the encouragement of creative ideas and processes. A main drawback is that the differences within the team members may create some hostility within the team and respected environment. The differences in the teams can also range from a selection of physical and social differences. One of these differences can be based on gender. Gender can strongly affect the way the team interacts with one another. These gender communication differences can range from the way one communicates, their perceptions, opportunities, even sexual harassment may play a role in communication differences. Another aspect of diversity can be the race of the individual group members. Race is defined as a group of people, often geographically connected, that share physical genetic characteristics. Cultural differences are the variations in social interaction, values, and beliefs of a given group of people and can be another contributing factor to the diversity of teams. The difference in age can contribute to many different approaches based on experience. Differences in sexual orientation, whether not understanding the differences or being morally opposed to them, can create...
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