Identify the characteristics of an effective team and the advantages of working in a team
The ability to build an effective team is an important factor towards the achievement of success in the workplace. An effective team can be characterized by the roles played by each member.
According to the design of Dr. Meredith Belbin model of team management, maximum performance can be achieved when the team consist of different roles. These nine (9) roles complement and reinforce each other, but they also contradict and compete with each other.
This MODEC team exhibit characteristics which conforms to the Belbin team role model. Although multiple roles can be attributed to some members within the team. There are team-workers who provide support and are good listeners; an implementer who is hard working, turn ideas into feasible actions and ensures things are done in a systematic way; plants who are highly creative through their imagination and innovations; a resource investigator who explores and inform the team about new opportunities; the shapers are result oriented with high energy and self-confidence; a co-ordinator who displays maturity, trustworthy, confident and easily delegate tasks, a monitor evaluator who poses the ability to consider all necessary before taking decisions; the finishers who is a perfectionist and pays extra attention to details; and finally the specialist who poses rich experiences and therefore command respect as well as technical know-how.
Working within an effective team boosts productivity where workloads are distributed equally with regards to each member’s skills and strengths. This enables tasks to be efficiently and quickly completed; members provide support for one another which goes a long way in boosting morale and creation of positive energy; also, there is better conflict resolutions procedures, mutual respect and advancement in career due to healthy competitions and collaborations with other team members who excellent skill sets to learn.
Identify possible barriers to effective team working
Barriers within an effective team limits the team performance and the organisation as a whole. Some of these barriers include:
Giving priorities to individual needs or personal interest derails the team performance. e.g. a colleague from where I used to work before joining MODEC was found to be using the company’s internet connection to prepare for an interview at a different company. This reduced the daily number of customers we served online by our team, upon investigation by the I.T department, he was found to have served no customer that particular day.
Assigning specific roles and responsibilities to team members who lack interest, qualification and skill sets to succeed in that role. Everyone has areas where they excel at, failing to identify the strength and weakness of team members before assigning roles and responsibilities will result in underperformance of the team.
Ineffective communication and lack of team discussions normally leads to misunderstanding among team members when performing a task. e.g. a senior operator at a crude oil refinery plant in Ghana unknowingly shut down a section of the processing unit. Upon investigations he was found to have locally light up an extra burner beneath a crude oil heater after it had been remotely suppressed in the control room due excessive temperature build up. The investigators also realized that, the control room team failed to notify him about the state of the burner after they suppressed it.
Lack of mutual respect, improper management of conflicts and internal disagreements creates tension within the team. e.g. two colleagues from my previous company could never agree on any issue and were always disrespectful towards each other. Although they were experts at their specific roles, they never worked together but against each other, creating an unhealthy competition in the team.
Lack of leadership or managerial involvement and unclear goals can be related to the sinking of a ship with no captain or mapped out routes.
Outline the possible effects of identified barriers on the team
Team members that give priority to their individual needs stall the progression of the team cumulative performance. This eventually leads to decrease in productivity that affects the team and organisation.
Assigning specific responsibilities or roles to unqualified team members will distract the dynamism within the team due to, the inability of that team member to match up with output of his/her colleagues.
While effective communication is a major factor towards propelling teamwork, ineffective communication creates an unhealthy working atmosphere. Team members who refuses to communicate effectively, or are unaware of effective communication methods to use within the team creates disruptions that inhibits the team growth.
An important characteristic of an effective team is respect for other team members. Lack of mutual respect among team members results in disrespectful rejection of others opinions, contributions and decisions. Therefore, it takes longer time for decisions to be made and creates an unfriendly working atmosphere.
Although normal for healthy disagreements to occur among team members as a result of different points of view. It sometimes occurs due to unresolved pre-existing disputes or personality issues. This eventually leads to team member’s isolation and internal conflicts that creates unhealthy competitions within the team.
Managers create teams of qualified staff members in order to complete predetermined tasks or projects. But when the manager cannot find the time to be involved in the team’s execution of its duties, the ability to create an atmosphere of effective teamwork is threatened. All teams require their leader and sometimes in the absence of the leader, the team does not develop effectively due to the absence of the leader to delegate tasks and serve as a resource person to his/her team members.
Also, teams are created to achieve common goals within the workplace. These common goals may be related to specific projects or a regular day-to-day organisational activities. Failure of team leaders or management to clearly spell out or present these goals to the team as well as individual responsibilities will result in ineffective and inefficient output by the team members. If staff members are unclear as to what they are supposed to be doing, job duties get distorted.
Explain how to create and maintain an effective team
Having an effective team is essential to organisational success these days. With regards to my current experience at MODEC, the ability to assemble the appropriate individuals with the right skill set is the first stage to forming an effective team. e.g. MODEC assembled / recruited seventeen (17) of us in 2017 with different qualifications from different backgrounds and grouped us into four distinctive teams to meet their specific requirements for offshore working on an FPSO. We were excited meeting each other and proud to be part of the team. Although formal in approaching each other, we were eager to know more about ourselves and start working.
Newly formed teams do not perform at maximum levels during the initial stage. Minor conflicts will arise due to different views on issues and ideas. This is the next stage after gathering of individuals to form a team. This stage involves the occurrence of competitions on the team where group discussions or meetings to address these minor conflicts is key to forming an effective team. This MODEC team experienced something similar a few weeks after our first meeting, we had discussions where we agreed to respect each other’s views and made decisions which favored the team rather than individual interests.
In creating an effective team, task should be assigned to the team and encouraged to work together. This provides the platform for team members to support and become comfortable around each other. Constructive feedbacks should also be given to help build members confidence and trust instead of ineffective or destructive feedbacks which will demoralize members on the team.
Team members must undergo further training to gain extra skills and make them competent. Although individuals had to be equipped with necessary skilled sets before being part of a team, training helps in boosting their morale and confidence. e.g. all MODEC staff undergo training when recruited to learn wide, gain extra skills and develop self-confidence before commencing the actual work at offshore.
The process of training team members and their participation in decision making helps in maintaining an effective as their involvement enables them to develop a sense of belonging.
All the above follows Bruce Tuckman, model of team development we learnt during the workshop which emphasizes on the four key stages of team development; forming stage where team members are introduced; the storming which involves the team transition stage; norming where the team reaches consensus on conflicts and performing where team members are trained to be competent.