Running head: TEAM DEVELOPMENT
Team Development in an Organization
March, 11, 2017
Team Development in an Organization
Overview of Teams
The basic definition of a team is a group of players coming together to achieve a common goal.
These people should possess different skills to fulfill their allocated tasks, with a meshing of
functions and mutual support. However, only capable teams manage to accomplish set goals.
Common characteristics of active teams are; open, direct and honest communication, members
understand purpose, mission, or primary objective, sufficient leadership and organizational
structure, adequate resources to permit members to execute tasks. Synergy is essential such that
members perform in a way that is greater than the sum of its parts, and backed up with regular
reviews of the team’s performance. The latter is an essential practice that goes towards team
development by building upon strengths and identifying areas of weakness.
Building Blocks of Effective Teams
Aside from the above characteristics of active teams, Woodcock (year) derived that effective
teams are based on the following nine components:
Clear objectives and agreed goals
This is the initial step and is seen as the building block that energizes and focuses the team. The
team needs to know what it is aiming to achieve and for better results, members should be
involved in decision-making. By doing so, teams take a results-orientated outlook, any channel
their efforts to fulfilling agreed upon goals.
Openness and confrontation
A healthy group dynamic promotes sharing ideas and even expressing feelings towards one
another. Members can express their differences freely without fear of reproach. In instances
where conflict is not entirely resolved, members can move forward without holding grudges.
Additionally, active teams do not reprimand people for what they think or feel, and this fosters a
Support and trust
Members actively seek opportunities to help each other and accept help whenever it is accorded
to them. Furthermore, teams are willing to own up to their mistakes since they will not be
blamed for them. Effective teams recognize each other’s values and good intentions and are
confident that if they encounter a hurdle, someone will be on hand to assist them.
Co-operation and conflict
It is common for teams to shy away from uncomfortable situations that may trigger conflict, and
possibly stall a project. Research derives that effective teams have mastery of handling conflict
and not letting it interfere with tasks at hand. To accomplish this feat, teams must pay careful
attention to internal communications and distinguish between personal attacks and problemsolving. This implies that differences should be embraced and explored, rather than fought over.
Sound working and decision-making procedures
Effective teams are good at self-managing and including members in the decision-making
process. Applying the most appropriate methods allows for the inclusion of everyone’s input and
therefore little or no resistance. Therefore, the team must continuously ask themselves if their
decision-making approach is the most appropriate for a particular situation.
Leadership is a core element in the development and survival of teams in any setting. Effective
teams adopt a style of leadership that is suitable for the team’s development, culture, essential
skills, and set objectives. While most leaders tend to associate with one type of leadership or
another, great leaders must adopt their leadership styles to suit the situation at hand.
Performance needs to be regularly evaluated so that teams can gauge how well, or not; they are
doing. By doing so, members can adjust their input accordingly to ensure that they remain on
track to achieving set objectives. In an organization setting, the performance of individual teams
has an impact on the overall performance. Therefore, teams must be prepared to listen to
outsiders' views either lauding their delivery or criticizing it.
Effective teams urge members to develop their skills and forge ahead even though this means
they transition to bigger roles within the organization or seek growth opportunities elsewhere.
Leadership pays attention to the aspirations of team members and pursues appropriate ways of
helping members grow regarding skills and experiences that will propel them to future success.
Sound inter-group relations
This final building block pays attention to the external environment where a team thrives. How
does the team interact with other teams? How about the rest of the organization? While
competition is healthy and pushes teams to go extra lengths, too much focus on ‘beating out’ the
other teams can disrupt cohesiveness. A more practical approach would be collaborating with
other teams when necessary and actively seek ways of adding value to the organization.
Team Development in Organizations
According to Perkins (1991), team development follows these main dimensions; participation,
communication, roles, norms, cohesion, and conflict avoidance. Implicit theories of leadership
influence perception and evaluation of leadership behavior, and they have potential to either
constrain or guide behavior. Teams are expected to deliver and work without supervision. Selfdirected or self-managed work teams may call for the major restructuring of an organization, a
shift from traditional, hierarchical workforce. The former approach has been deemed obsolete as
newer and younger generations of workers enter the workplace. This implies workers must make
a cognitive shift from individual worker schemata to team schemata. In the latter approach, team
members make decisions together and are responsible for their teams' productivity. Teams also
share rewards from a job well done and discipline for unsatisfactory performance.
Teams usually have preconceptions of what constitutes an efficient team, and these determine the
behaviors that members will adopt when performing tasks. Implicit theories of team
development can relate to team outcomes on an individual level or a team level. Implicit theories
of team development can affect team viability and team performance; the level of convergence of
implicit theories is directly related to outcomes. Teams that have the similar understanding of
situations tend to make faster decisions and have less conflict. Cognitive structures are related to
individual goals and can be easily applied to new experiences. These structures allow members
to implement different paths to attaining goals.
Team Development in the Military
The model view controller (MVC) helps to separate concerns within teams where the system is
divided into different parts with independent concerns. Smaller teams work on each separate
aspect in parallel and integrate individual pieces of the puzzle at a later stage. Team members are
assigned tasks based on their expertise (Samisa, 2009). This approach is effectively used when
forming and developing teams in the military. Based on the complexity of the assignment, one or
more soldiers can be assigned a territory. Conversely, if the task is easy is small or medium
scale, one military officer could handle multiple regions. Therefore, understanding the system
complexity is pivotal to allocating resources as it indicates the amount of work involved. Just
like developing software, military teams need frameworks to simplify their tasks. The framework
dictates the overall flow of control, and this allows officers to focus on the most important tasks.
However, if these frameworks are not designed with performance in mind, or optimized for
performance, they can potentially lead to bottlenecks.
The size of the framework has an impact on performance but size alone does not govern
performance. The chosen framework builds on cumulative years of experience among officers
and performance gets better over time. Given the nature of military teams, security is a hotbutton issue that needs proper attention and critical thinking. The guiding framework needs to be
free of vulnerabilities and safeguard against insecure practices that could lead to dire
consequences. For instance, a security loophole in a military team could trigger spilling of
intelligence to the enemy side and this could tank the entire operation or even mass fatalities.
Military vs. organization team development
In light of the discussion above, it is clear that teams are a necessary part of attaining results in
various settings such as the corporate world or even the military. While these teams have obvious
similarities, there are also elements that distinguish them, as highlighted below:
Witness actions up close
In a military setting, the commander witnesses the action from the comfort of a desk and his
team only interacts with him through video conferencing, whereas, in a corporate environment,
line managers must collaborate with lower ranking employees to provide guidance and direction.
Transfer of trust
Navy SEALs or military officers can actually transfer trust among themselves as they have a
basic understanding of how they operate. However, this may be difficult in organizations as each
company has distinct values and manner of doing things. New hires are expected to quickly
assimilate themselves to the culture of the company and disregard what they knew previously.
Military teams develop their skills through field experience and rigorous practice before
undertaking any mission, even less dangerous missions. On the other hand, most organizations
do not have the time for rehearsals and employees learn through on-the-job (OJT) training. The
latter is attributed to the constant pursuit of attractive bottom lines for business sustainability.
In the military, money is not a factor; remunerations are decided by Congress and not army
commanders. Additionally, leaders cannot promote their direct reports unceremoniously. In
contrast, teams in organizations clamor for promotions raises, and additional benefits and their
managers can develop them based on performance appraisals.
Military teams are guided by simple and compelling mission whereas most corporates have
ambiguous mission statements that employees may not even comprehend or care about.
Abeysinghe, Samisa. Php Team Development: Easy and Effective Team Work Using Mvc, Agile
Development, Source Control, Testing, Bug Tracking, and More. Birmingham, UK: Packt
Pub, 2009. Internet resource.
Perkins, Marilyn A, and Eric D. Sundstrom. Team Member Implicit Theories of Team
Development: Relationships with Team Member Behavior, Team Viability, and Team
Performance. , 1991. Print.
Woodcock, Mike. Team Development Manual. Aldershot, Hants, England: Gower, 1989. Print.
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