Tuesday, November 13, 2012

L10: High-Performing Team Leadership

L10: High-Performing Team Leadership

Team is always better than individual! A team is a group of people coming together to collaborate. Teams usually maximize the organization’s human resources, and help set and achieve better successes. Leaders should not think of themselves as simply managers, supervisors; but rather as ‘team leaders.’ This chapter will guide leader through the communication challenges involved in leading a team. We will learn how to build an effective team, and handle team conflict. In addition, this is one of skills leaders need to build and manage a high-performance team tie directly to their leadership communication ability.

First of all, before building an effective team, organization has to look at the culture and compensation structure if they both support teamwork. Also, we need to determine that a team is the most effective and efficient approach to perform the task, solve the problem, generate the new ideas, or generally move the organization forward. Then, the first responsibilities of a team leader is bringing together team members who have skills that complement rather than duplicate each other. All members need to recognize and accept mutual as well as individual accountability for the team’s work product. Importantly, the team must have specific goals, a purpose that is important to the organization, and a common approach to the work.

Before beginning the team project, leaders should hold an official launch and allow the team to address many of the teamwork process steps as well as lead them through development of the purpose, goals, and approach so that the team could work more effectively and efficiently. Working in teams can be fantastic if team members work well together. However, if people are pulling in different directions, the experience can be awful. Therefore, a team should the Team Charter, which is a document that defines the purpose of the team, how it will work, roles and responsibilities for each team members, and what the expected outcomes are. Besides, a team’s performance will depend on the team’s being able to deliver the results of its work. Therefore, delivering a presentation, a report time after time is important.

Despite all the best planning and time spent on process, teams will likely experience conflict. Working on a team in not easy, but the benefits can be very rewarding. Therefore, obtaining the best result can depend on the team’s ability to mange conflict. Conflict includes analytical conflict when team’s constructive disagreement over a project issue or problem; team conflict concerns Tasks, goal, work process, or deliverables; Interpersonal conflict involves members’ personality, diversity, and communication styles; Role conflict can occur if the teams gets off course, or individuals start intruding into one another’s task area.

Therefore, a team leader always has to be prepared to handle team conflict. There are three approaches to manage conflict. One-on-one approach is a resolution procedure that will let the two individuals work out the issues alone. Facilitation approach is to have a third person work with the clashing individuals apart from the team. For this approach, the facilitator should be skilled in managing conflict. Team approach seems to be the best resolution when a team decides all members should meet to solve the problem. All members should have a very specific approach in mind and should select one person to facilitate the discussion.

At last, this chapter has discussed the best approach to ensuring that all team activities run smoothly so that the team achieves its objectives. However, teams can prevent most team conflict by clarifying and agreeing on their project purposes and goals, defining team members roles and responsibilities and establishing and following team and meeting ground rules, developing a communication protocol and devoting time to improving their group emotional intelligence. Team leader needs to well plan and be prepared for the conflict. Leading a team presents some challenges, but with the right approach, a team can work through the challenges, achieve high performance, and outperform other groups and individual. This is why a team is better than an individual. 


1. What are the types of team conflicts and how to handle them?

  •        Analytical – usually constructive disagreement over issue or problem
  •        Task – goal, work process, deliverables
  •        Interpersonal – personality, culture, communication styles
  •        Roles – leadership, responsibilities, power struggles

Approaches to Handling Team Conflict
  •       One-on-one – individuals work it out between themselves
  •       Facilitation – individuals work with a facilitator
  •       Team – Individuals discuss it with the entire team

Keeping Teams out of Trouble
  •       Have an official team launch
  •       Obtain any needed training in team management
  •       Develop and post team ground rules and expectations in team behavior
  •       Educate team members on what to expect in team development

2. Compare Traditional team vs. Virtual team?

Traditional team
  •         Face-to-face
  •         Communication primarily in person
  •         Limited by time and distance
Virtual team
  •        Geographically dispersed
  •        Communicating through technology
  •        Unrestrained by distance and time
It needs:
  •        An in-person meeting to launch the team
  •        More structure than a co-located team
  •        More time allowed for team processes
  •        Frequent communication and electronic meetings
  •        More attention to the people issues and a high-sensitivity to cultural differences

3. How to establish teamwork processes?

Create a team charter: A charter should include the following:

1.      Project purpose/objectives
2.      Guiding principles (ground rules)
3.      Major tasks or action items
4.      Team members with role definitions
5.      Communication protocol

Establish a team communication protocol: Why? Who? What? Whom? How? When?

Create action and work plans:

1.      Establish your overall project goal.
2.      Break the project down into phases:
-   Research Current Image
-   Determine Value Proposition
-   Develop Marketing Plan

3.      Specify your team action steps for each phase.
4.      Determine timing for each phase.
5.      Create work plan actions linked to each phase.
-   Conduct effective meetings
-   Use common team problem-solving methods.

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