Leading People and Teams
By the end of this lesson, you are expected:
– to better understand groups and teams
– to understand group dynamic
– to analyse the roles of a leader in a group
– to craft or share a model on how to create a team
In the beginning, men were individuals. Then they gathered in pairs. From pairs we moved to a group, family members, together they began to meet and merge with others and thus the group grew; from groups, humans went to tribes, to villages, cities, nations. In these structures, humans specialised in various topics to fulfil several purposes.
Groups, Teams and Squads
A group is an assemblage of persons who can work, interact and cooperate with one another in achieving a common goal in a specified time. The identity of the group members is taken individually. The members share information and resources with other group members.
In an organisation, the groups are made on the basis of common interests, beliefs, experience in common fields and principles, so that they can easily coordinate with each other. There are two kinds of groups:
– Formal Group: These groups are created by the management of the organisation for performing a specific task.
– Informal Group: The formation of these groups is done naturally in an organisation, to satisfy the social or psychological human needs.
A group of people who are joined together for achieving a common goal within a stipulated period, having collective accountability is known as the team. The agenda of the team is “one for all and all for one”. Apart from sharing information, the team members also share the responsibility of the team task. The team is always responsible for the outcome (i.e. Result of the collective efforts of the team members).
The team members have a mutual understanding with other members. They work jointly to maximize the strengths and minimize the weakness by complementing each other. The most important feature of a team is “synergy” i.e. the team can achieve much more as the members can achieve individually.
The notion of Squad refers to a team composed by highly skilled and specialised individuals having a very limited amount of tasks to perform in order to help the team reach its goal, it also refers to a team of specialists.
These different human agglomerations can have very different functioning mechanisms. Here are some examples related to communication:
For the illustration, we go for extreme forms. Reality is always somewhere in between.*
In a Group, no communication is requested. An example of this could be people at a bus stop waiting for their bus. They may take the same line but will stop at different stations for different purposes.
In a well-functioning team, the all channel network, which is a decentralised structure, is the one involving full discussion and participation of all team members. This structure suggests little control and low leadership predictability. Each member is aware of the actions of others and can support when needed and can, in turn, lead the team in specific areas.
The communication is highly centralised with a coordinator transmitting instructions and centralising each team members’ feedback. Another characteristic is that typical squad units are not in direct communication with one another.
Enlarged version: http://bit.ly/2m5uDbc
Key Differences Between a Group and Team
The following are the significant differences between a group and team:
– There is only one head in a group. A team can have more than one head.
– The group members do not share responsibility, but team members share the responsibility.
– The group focuses on achieving the individual goals. Conversely, the team members focus on achieving the team goals.
– The group produces individual work products. As opposed to the team who produces collective work products.
– The process of a group is to discuss the problem, then decide and finally delegate the tasks to individual members. On the other hand, a team discusses the problem, then decide the way of solving it and finally do it collectively.
– The group members are independent. Unlike a group, the team members are interdependent.
Do all groups need to become teams? (1/2)
Here are the similarities you came up with:
The simple answer is no. While teams have some distinct advantages over groups, not all groups should be developed into teams. A group should stay a group if:
– The members will only be together for a short time
– It’s only supposed to do one simple task
– Its purpose is solely to share information
– There’s no support for teamwork in the organisation.
Do all groups need to become teams? (2/2)
Conversely, it’s distinctively advantageous to build a team with any group if:
– There’s a need to create a high level of cohesion and commitment to a common goal
– There’s an ongoing task for the group to accomplish
– A consistent set of people will be working closely over an extended period.
Phases of Team Development
Much like individuals, teams experience stages of development. Teams mature from early formation through various phases into a developed organisation.
Bruce Tuckman, an American Psychologist, identified five stages of development for a team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results (Tuckman 1965, 1977). Each of these stages has unique characteristics and must be facilitated differently. Even though Tuckman developed his model in 1965 and 1977, it is still a well-cited tool for teambuilding, serving as an elegant and simple description of how teams develop.
Belbin Team Roles
When a team is performing at its best, you’ll usually find that each team member has clear responsibilities. Just as importantly, you’ll see that every role needed to achieve the team’s goal is being performed fully and well. But often, despite clear roles and responsibilities, a team will fall short of its full potential.
Dr Meredith Belbin studied team-work for many years, and he famously observed that people in teams tend to assume different “team roles.” He defined a team role as “a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way” and named nine such team roles that underlie team success.
How to build a team?
We saw how a team grows/develops and the roles one can take in a team. Though a fundamental question remains: how to build a team?
Along with all the information from this lesson, can you create/present a visual piece illustrating a step-by-step team building model one can follow to create a team from individuals?
Leading individuals and teams requires you to know how to keep oneself, and each other, engaged. This is the objective of the next lesson.