INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND
Man has enormous potentials. What individuals cannot accomplish alone is possible through organization. Human resource is the critical factor to achieve competitive advantage and strategic Human Resource Management (SHRM) focuses on proactive management of people. Aligning physical and mental orientation of employees towards common goals is best accomplished by creating conducive environment. Teamwork is an attribute which provides impetus and added traction to group of employees in its march towards excellence. Leadership improves individual and team focus and adds energy and passion to pursuits. Virtually all stakeholders agree to need of team work implying unanimity and complete agreement on intention. But good teamwork is not common implying problems in action and not intention. There is no dearth of literature or knowhow on teamwork and some lip service to teamwork is common in most enterprises. While large number of factors is measured and tracked but there is no measure of teamwork in CEOs dashboard of Key performance Indicators (KPIs).
1.1.1 CENTRAL IDEA
Absence of teamwork shall be a limiting factor inhibiting teams march towards excellence. The objective of this study is to develop a model or framework to evaluate perception about leadership and teamwork in target organization. The aim of framework is to find out what is holding the team from continually improving and striving to be the best (from where it stands) as the best can also improve. The diagnostic can help focus on finding out few vital factors effecting development of teamwork in a given setting and require improvement.
1.1.2 TARGET AUDIENCE AND DATA COLLECTION
The report shall be of interest for Academicians, Leaders, managers and team members and other stake holders who understand high value and potential of human resource (HR), with teamwork attributes, in performance outcome of any organization. The study seeks to explore avenues for improvement based on employee perception. Problem is likely to be encountered in data collection as managers may disallow survey that may in anyway effect reputation and prestige of organization. Confidentiality and reputation of student undertaking study or OD specialists applying diagnostic is crucial for grant of access to administer test. Leadership with high self esteem and self confidence shall not hesitate in exploring effectiveness of the tool and shall try to accrue benefit from it. Here we shall immediately see the difference in approach of a manager and a leader.
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
Many organizations are functioning in routine manner but the energy or spark has been lost while others are constantly exploring new methods to improve. The excitement of challenges and uncertainty has been replaced by bureaucratic entangle and passing the buck. Initiatives are non-starter due to vested interests and status quos is the order of the day. The zeal while creating the organization has gone missing and the huge loss is unnoticed. For organizations to become live again from robotic movements there is a need to infuse energy of team spirit. Leaders and professionals hold an array of divergent views about external challenges but ignore the problem within; importance of involved and aligned manpower.
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
This research report will examine the ‘teamwork’ concept to gain improved understanding of cause and effect. The leadership role will also be reviewed, as leader is responsible to create the right environment. Based on the study, a framework shall be developed to examine employee’s perceptions about key areas effecting leadership and teamwork. While examining the selected areas in reasonable depth, the framework shall briefly touch upon other HR areas, which could impact teamwork including recruitment and selection, training and development, reward and compensation etc.
This study focuses on Leadership and Teamwork and might ignore some external factors that affect development of enabling environment. Future study may improve upon the framework as usage can bring out additional points.
The research is quantitative. Qualitative research is carried out to collect data on factors that impact teamwork. Other factors that affect organizations working are also included as these can cast effect on working of organization. The research has been made as quantitative by collecting employee perception on the issues in the selected organization. The ease in collecting data through modern surveying and analysis software was not adopted as the forum does not provide sufficient data on a particular organization. This tool cannot be easily applied on broader areas.
Traditionally teamwork is realized as a good and desirable attribute but what is hampering and helping develop teamwork is rarely addressed formally in an organization. This research will attempt to develop framework and technique to explore the environment and find out impediments to team climate which shall lead to development and application of remedy.
Leadership plays crucial role in setting the tone and determining the destiny of organization. A Leader is typically seen as a man with vibrant personality, charisma, stamina, energy, head, heart, and soul and what not. What qualities distinguish leader from common mortals is a subject of interest but literature on subject is often biased as the success of leader comes first and research on causes of success follows and attributes and tails get attached to it. An example is an story attributed to Gandhi on about successfully advising a child to change his behavior is attributed to other great leaders before Gandhi (Drea Zigrami and others; ‘The Leader Within, 2005). Brutal dictators try to project soft image. Victors exert influence to paint a favorable picture to help their image in form of biographies or other means. For similar acts and dispositions the winner may be painted as man with strong self-belief, persistence and perseverance while the looser may be termed as stubborn, obstinate and adamant. Jack Welch is highly acclaimed while Rick Wagoner, chairman and CEO, General Motors was shown the door because of results and not the leadership qualities. The later got title of the worst CEO’s of the year with charges like corporate insensitivity, avarice and callousness and without regards to their past achievements. An objective comparison of the two may be a good research on outcome bias or hindsight bias. Never the less hero worshipping and study of leadership shall continue to attract attention and only the successful shall be acclaimed.
2.2 UNDERSTANDING LEADER AND LEADERSHIP
Historically muscles, horse riding skills, sword and marksmanship skills and public speaking skills were essential leadership traits but as more and more people start mastering these skills a leader had to have more than these to distinguish themselves to command followership and allegiance. Conventional leadership toolkit consists of three categories namely 1) What they are [Be] (such as beliefs and character), ‘ 2) what they [know] (such as job, tasks, and human nature) and 3) what they [Do] (such as implementing, motivating, and providing direction). US Army’s Be-Know-Do list is placed Appendix ‘A’ and comprehensive links to leadership dimensions are placed as Appendix ‘B’. Many styles of leadership are practiced and work and are listed in literature including Autocratic Leadership, Bureaucratic Leadership, Charismatic Leadership, Democratic Leadership or Participative Leadership, Laissez-Faire Leadership, People-Oriented Leadership or Relations-Oriented Leadership, Servant Leadership, Task-Oriented Leadership, Transactional Leadership and Transformational Leadership. The list is not exhaustive and some other types are also listed which includes Strategic Leadership, Team Leadership, Facilitative Leadership. Leadership Influence Styles include Cross-Cultural Leadership, Coaching, Level 5 Leadership and Servant Leadership etc. Situational leadership is about choosing the appropriate leadership style to match situation and subordinates skill and commitment level. ‘It makes no difference whether your organization is a corporation, a nonprofit, a school, or an athletic team’: Heroic Leadership is crucial (Cohen, 2010). Attributes such as initiative, trust, openness, helpfulness, flexibility and support are ‘ desirable leadership traits, Micheal J Stevens and Micheal A Campion cited (Kinlaw, 1991; Vainey, 1989).
2.2.1 NATURE OR NURTURE
Leadership is nature or nurture is often discussed and while leaders are born (nature) they are also developed (nurtured) as per pre transformational leadership theory. The Trait Theory explains that some personality traits may propel people gradually into leadership roles. The Great Events Theory explains that challenging situation or important event may cause an ordinary person to rise to the occasion and respond in such a way that brings out extraordinary leadership qualities and instantaneously propel him to leadership position. Transformational or Process Leadership theory applies where people choose to become leaders by learning leadership skills. Supportive leadership is essential requirement for teamwork to exist and flourish. In organizational settings, leadership entails aligning and striking balance between organizational interests, followers interests and leaders own interests and have to be based on solid principles and fairness (Transformational Leadership books.google.com.pk Bernard M. Bass, Ronald E. Riggio ‘ Table 8, page 198).
2.3 LEADER VERSUS MANAGER
While we need managers to maintain order, we need leaders to create future. Dera Zegarmi and others in ‘The Leader Within’ has done synthesis of literature on the difference between manager and leader (Table 6.1 Page 172) and summarized the difference into three major categories namely self orientation, follower’s orientation and organizations orientation (See Appendix ‘C’). While the manager is too involved in ‘doing the things right’, leader focuses on ‘doing the right things’. The manager is focusing on improving bottom line while leader has eyes on horizon. Managers like us to be compliant and rob us of the excitement in facing challenges and innovating and experimenting. We surely need managers to run the show but we need leaders to lead the way to carve out future. When a person is a manager and also leader then whenever he is trying to influence the behavior of someone he is putting on the leadership hat. Leadership has been defined as ‘the act of arousing, engaging, and satisfying the motives of followers’in an environment of conflict, competition, or change’that results in the follower taking a course of action toward a mutually shared vision'(Drea Zigrami et al, 2005-p174). Leadership is not about manipulating or exploiting followers. It cannot be faked. It is not about oration and making a historic speech. Such gimmicks can be short-lived and cannot provide durable and enduring relationship. Even rewards sharing are a single dimensional incentive which cannot be enduring. As W C H Prentice opined in his article articulates about longevity of such approach. (Understanding Leadership; W C H Prentice, 1964).
2.3.1 PERCEPTION ABOUT LEADER
‘Human beings are not machines with a single set of push buttons. When their complex responses to love, prestige, independence, achievement and group membership are not recognized on the job, they perform at best as robots who bring far less than their maximum efficiency to the task, and at worst as rebellious slaves who consciously or unconsciously sabotage the activities they are supposed to be furthering” (ibid). Conventional managers lack skill or capacity to remove the deep-rooted mistrust between management and employees. Perceptions and suspicions are two-way and a serious baggage to carry. While explaining pitfalls of perception W C H Prentice argues that ‘for followers to recognize their leader as he really is may be as difficult for him to understand them completely’ (ibid).
2.4 LEADERSHIP COMPETENCIES AND ITS APPLICATION ON TEAMWORK
‘Good leaders don’t ask more than their constituents can give, but they often ask’and get’more than their constituents intended to give or thought it was possible to give.’
(John W. Gardner, Excellence, 1984). A good leader is aware of the background of mutual suspicion between management and workers and recognizes need of regaining trust and is aware of ways of doing so. Leader is a promoter of the group’s aims and advocate of the values of the organization and is always exploring for ways of carving out better techniques for reaching organizational goals efficiently while encouraging and supporting others in similar pursuit. ‘Slick use of social or psychological tricks can indeed persuade others to do your bidding, but they are unfit for continuing relationship’ (ibid). Leader has a task at hand.
2.4.1 COMPETENCIES MATRICES
Many organizations are drawing up competency matrices for the challenging position of leader. The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) focuses on leadership education and research on competencies essential for leaders and recommends 20 competencies for leaders (Appendix ‘B’). Leadership competencies are important to exploit organizations HR potentials. CCL leadership competency model is believed to be closely matching to the competencies uncovered by the worthy ‘Hay Group’ study of leadership values in Indian leaders. While organizations are undertaking gap analysis to develop and groom present and future leaders, skeptics are critical of the approach of breaking up of leadership into unmanageable list of leadership competencies. The main objections of skeptics are that in trying to summarize leadership into distinct competencies the classic art of leadership loses its anchor as discussed below.
2.4.2 COMPETENCIES MATRICES CRITICIZED
While one can have a list of endless attributes for leader but leadership shall remain an art and shall not become a science. The auditor like approach is rightly criticized for being overly reductionist: An accountant’s style balance sheet approach is being applied to leadership which is (not mathematics/science, but) human behavior issue. It has been extensively criticized for weaknesses in its ability to take into account occupations which are characterized by a ‘high degree of uncertainty, unpredictability and discretion, and it’s arguable tendency ‘ contrary to the aims of the model on which it is based to atomize work roles rather than represent them holistically’ Richard Bolden and Jonathan Gasling (2004) cited (Lester, 1994). The main argument of the skeptics to this approach is that in trying to split the leadership role into constituent elements, it is losing the big picture of the integrated whole. It is articulated that standards tend to fragment the leaders role into its elements rather than representing it as a unique whole with overlapping effects of components not as tangible as being presented. While this simplification is indeed the main beauty of the competency approach, the representation is not close to representing leader’s real time situation cited ibid, (Lester, 1994; Grugulis, 1997).
2.4.3 SIZE OF ORGANIZATION
Another objection pertains to the failure to distinguish between size of organization or position in the organization, or the variation in situations etc. ‘Standards are criticized for being overly universalistic’. A quote from the Management Standards Centre ‘whatever the size of your organization, you will find the standards have been written to meet your needs’ (MSC website, 2003), All issues individually seems OK but ‘manner in which standards may actually reinforce rather than challenge traditional ways of thinking about management or leadership’ cited ibid (Lester, 1994) is a cause of concern. The approach seems to be unpractical and is correlated as ‘driving using the rear view mirror’ cited ibid (Cullen, 1992). Little discretion or flexibility is available to adopt and adjust according to subtle differences in situations, individuals, impact of new technologies and globalization etc. The standards excessive focus on observable behaviors and indicators ‘to the exclusion of less overt aspects such as values, beliefs and relationships’ could be counterproductive and become a cause of discord, cited ibid (Bell et al., 2002). The warmth of relationships and spirit de corps, the common cause seems to be put on back burner.
2.4.4 FUTURE OF COMPETENCY MATRICES
The approach may one day combine emotional intelligence with artificial intelligence or other leadership models to improve current work to doable dimensions. A compassionate and relationship based approach is considered more appropriate to unify team members from danger of falling into a bureaucratic tangle presently. The aim of this study is not to accept or reject the competency models but to search for a model that brings out the best in a team. Ideas of teamwork, synergy and continuous improvements cannot flourish under environment of suspicion and mistrust. Leadership must play a role to improve organizational climate and trust and communication is important in this regards. The authority vested with leader is most potent when it is not used and there is no obvious threat or intent of using the authority. The workforce and management have to be on the same page to make a winning time. ‘A leader knows thyself’. As leader, we need to appreciate that our values, beliefs, and personality are driving our success — or our failure and we need to lead in ways that reflect our own values and personality and we do not have to put an act. We act relaxed and natural when and connect comfortably in group settings as well as one-to-one contexts. We discover and liberate personal qualities and energies we never knew we had. We can generate team’s spirit and build stronger, more effective, more joyful organizations by liberating the leader inside us and not emulating someone or his set of rules. Only after knowing our inner self we can learn to truly know others and to be leader one has to know followers.
2.5 LEADER’S AWARENESS OF FOLLOWERS
‘Leaders must know their followers well enough to coalesce the followers motives toward a common outcome. This cannot be done for any length of time, unless the follower is offered an opportunity to engage in value based activities. In other words the values and believes of those you wish to influence must be understood, verbalized, and coupled with organizations social purpose’ (Dera Zigrami; The Leader Within, 2005-p 174). What few crucial competencies or approach should leader have remains an important question needing answer.
2.6 ATTRIBUTES OF LEADER
Heroic Leadership, Leading with integrity and honor (William A Cohen, 2010) presents eight principles of leadership, 1) Maintain absolute integrity, 2) Know your stuff, 3) Declare your expectations, 4) Show uncommon commitment, 5) Expect positive results, 6) Take care of your people, 7) Put duty before self and 8) Get out in front. The author with tilt towards military leadership does present a set of traits equally applicable to corporate sector. In the ‘The Leadership Challenge’, 4th Edition, (James M. Kouzes, 2010) has articulated the historically proven and still valid five practices of exemplary leadership namely 1). Model the way; dealing with leading by example, 2) Inspire a shared vision; involving everyone 3). Challenge the process; innovating and exploring 4) Enable others to act; empowerment and involvement 5). Encourage the heart; celebrating and rewarding.
2.7 OUTCOME OF LEADERSHIP
The leader’s unique legacy is the creation of valued institutions that survive over time. The most significant contribution leaders make is not simply to today’s bottom line; it is to the long-term development of people and institutions so they can adapt, change, prosper and grow. et al
The integrity or credibility of leader is the sole basis on which people are ready to be led voluntarily. Credibility is not measureable and until proven guilty leaders integrity cannot be questioned. Subordinates perception about leader’s integrity is crucial and often it is also correct so those who fake can do so for little while. Injustice has adverse effect on employee’s perception about organizational justice especially if the outcome has adverse effect on individual (Brockner and wiesenfield, 1996). When organization treats leader with injustice it gets noticed by employees more so in cases where high quality relationship existed between leaders and followers (Cole and Scott, 1998). Organizations dealing with leader fairly and leaders dealing with followers appropriately thus form important prerequisite for effective leadership. People want to be guided by those with integrity and a clear sense of direction. Leader must possess a clear sense of direction and articulate a strong vision of the future. A person who fakes commitment to values may look good and get promoted but cannot inspire others. Self-serving leaders are less effective because their subordinates only obey them, and they do not follow them. But as the Hawthorne experiments confirmed, perception of genuine concern about workforce shall move team’s productivity graph in only one direction even when management takes opposite actions.
2.8 INTEGRITY OF MANAGERS
Integrity of managers is important to determine but is a tough ask as it is easy to wear integrity on sleeve through deception. (Robert B. Kaiser and Robert Hogan, 2010) in research, ‘HOW TO (AND HOW NOT TO) ASSESS THE INTEGRITY OF MANAGERS’ also emphasizes integrity as a leadership competency for managers and cites previous research showing that subordinates performance gets affected due to low integrity of managers. Deceitful behavior of managers of Enron and Tyco in 2001was cited as cause of demise of firm but the discovery after the fact is of less value and there is need to preempt such events. The research found that subordinates may not express their true reservations about integrity of managers while we know that their perception degrades their performance as already discussed. The low performing managers scored well on integrity issues along with high performing managers. The researchers then devised an alternative method and inquired on subordinate expectations about the likelihood that their boss could behave unethically responded differently. This method suggested that a much larger segment of subordinates perceive their managers to be having integrity issues and this had correlation with low-performing managers. The manager with integrity is better placed to get results from team members by learning about team dynamics. Simply stated teamwork is about splitting task into constituents and hiring individuals to undertake individual constituents for the task to be completed with leader undertaking function of coordination and control. Studies reveal those effective and efficient teams are rare and minor problems can cause dysfunction to teamwork.
Leaders play an important role in the establishment of a teamwork. The leadership role is comprehensive and apart from creating a vision and engaging employees, leaders have to ensure that systems are effectively implemented and opportunities are created for employees to actively get involved and deliver. Leaders need to set a positive example and encourage teamwork by rewarding enabling behavior..
Common goal is best achieved when individual contributions are synchronized. Delivery of a letter by post-office involves separate actions by various players like acquiring postage stamps, dropping and collection from letterbox, sorting, dispatch to destinations and delivery. The actions are undertaken by individuals separately but failure of one component effects outcome while individual is not dependent on support of others in accomplishing individual role or task. While a surgeon is undertaking a complex surgery or a manufacturing plant is making a complex part, underperformance of one casts effect on effectiveness of others. The interdependence augments need of teamwork which requires understanding how my part of job effects the person and the ultimate goal. Individuals have to look beyond their unique activities and understand the bigger picture for organizational effectiveness. Team and teamwork is no panacea for all ills. Teamwork is no guarantee for success and ‘social scientists have found it much easier to prove process losses rather than synergy gains due to teamwork’ and limits its size to 20 with smaller the better. (Teamwork’ By C. H. Antoni, ABO-Psychologie, Fachbereich I) Cooperation, coordination, and satisfied employees are essential teamwork requirements, including some conditions given as Appendix ‘E’. ‘
3.1.1 ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF TEAMWORK
While autonomy or participation in decision making has long been discussed from a motivational perspective’ only its more useful benefits include ‘advantages of shared mental model and broader input base’ at the time of planning. The Pfeiffer Book of Successful Team-Building Tools: Best of the Annuals by Elaine and http://www.scribd.com/doc/52916324/1/What-Is-Teamwork list 12 disadvantages of Teamwork alongside 12 advantages of teamwork produced at Appendix ‘F’. The list depicts how complexity increases due to increased need of coordination, communication and cooperation. Advantages occur due to more brains and physical resources. To make Team successful, environment may be made conducive to exploit the advantages and safeguards be erected against disadvantages. This shall require individual members to be trained looking forward to contribute towards group objectives. Intrinsically satisfied employees can think and act in this direction and managements must focus on having satisfied employees.
3.1.2 COMPETENCIES FOR TEAMWORK
Literature is littered with competencies required for teamwork as well as Leadership .Like Be-Know-Do model for leadership (App ‘A’), a Think-Do-Feel model is presented by J A Canon-Bowers and E Salas (2010) reflecting ‘what team members’ Think-Do-Feel. The competencies required are broken down into Knowledge, Skills and Attitude or KSA. While discussing leadership competencies and Hay groups 75 or CCL’s 20 leadership competencies we cited critics questioning the wisdom of breaking down into constituents as overly simplistic. As leadership is part of teamwork, 130 competencies list are drawn for effective teamwork, and divided these into 8 skill dimensions including adaptability, shared situational awareness, interpersonal skills, and communication skills, citing Cannon-Bowers (1995) in Team Effectiveness and Competencies (2010).
126.96.36.199 KNOWLEDGE, SKILL AND ABILITIES FOR TEAMWORK
Attitude of members and leader is important for teamwork. Winston Churchill said ‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference’. Mutual respect and trust creates cohesion which is important for Teamwork. Skills required for team members may broadly be integrated into three categories namely 1) Job specific KSAs; beyond scope of this study, 2) Team Interpersonal KSAs which include conflict management KSAs, Collaborative problem solving KSAs and Communication KSAs 3) Self Management KSAs which include Goal setting and Performance Management KSAs and Planning and Task Coordination KSAs. People bring individual needs, requirements and aspirations to an organization where the leader helps individuals in their pursuits and align these with organizational objectives. Some characteristic like interpersonal skills play crucial role in team development and team functioning. When people join to accomplish common goals team is formed. Congenial interpersonal relations foster in effective teams where member are freed from problem of having to deal with complicated conflict and process issues ibid cited (Hackman and Morris, 1975, Lawler 1986; Sears 1989-p506). These also lead to active, willing and productive participation on the part of all team members. In the team environment, interpersonal demands are much greater than in individual based environment, Lawler, (1986).
3.1.3 CONFLICT IN TEAMWORK
Team effectiveness depends upon ability of individual members to successfully manage interpersonal relations with one another Perkins and Abramis, (1990-p506). Interpersonal relation strikes balance between destructive conflict or extremely warm relations, both prohibiting objective communication ibid cited (hackman and Oldham, (1980 P 199). Interpersonal skills do not evade or ignore conflicts. Skills are required to reach optimum solution from divergent views emerging during day to day functioning. Realization that conflict is important for improvement is well recognized yet not extensively practiced. The ability to effectively manage and resolve conflicts has been recognized by many authors as an important interpersonal attribute for team members, Micheal J Stevens and Micheal A Campion cites (Gladstien, 1984; and many more Page 507). Early organizational thinkers felt all conflicts was negative ibid cite Derr (1972) and saw it as managements failure to streamline processes and went about improving job descriptions and procedures. ‘Conflict is essential ingredient of teamwork’. It leads to improvements. Micheal J Stevens and Micheal A Campion cited Mcgregor (1960) who suggested that conflict is something more effective teams welcome. Ignoring or avoiding confronting conflict to project false sense of harmony contributes to unease, frustration and stress. Positive effects from conflicts include airing opinions and dissatisfactions, reducing stress, fostering innovations and stabilizing relationships by removing discord. Feedbacks must always be given and accepted objectively and positively and timely information sharing must be ensured. Conflicts can have negative as well as positive outcome, depending upon its nature and amount and how it is addressed ibid cites Gersick and Davis-Sacks (1990). Members must contribute in creating environment of trust, appreciating differences and conflicts as legitimate and natural occurrence and encourage dialogue and seek to explore reaching best solution from organizational perspective. Individual team members must see conflict as a natural and positive outcome and encourage positive conflict and discourage negative conflict. Sources of conflict include simple misunderstanding or miscommunication, structural or situational factors, incompatible performance goals or rewards, requirements of joint decision making, differences in values, orientations, or objectives, or physical design of workplace area ibid cites Thomas (1977). Understanding of differences is necessary to apply correct remedy. Conflict originating from misunderstanding and miscommunication requires questioning and listening techniques while conflict arising due to members feeling of discrimination due to distasteful task can be resolved through rotating task assignment schedule (Deutsch et al, 1973-p 508).
3.1.4 DECISIONMAKING IN TEAMWORK
Similarly joint decision making has roots in differences between member’s objectives, needs and perceptions. There must be tolerance to allow members to express feelings and ideas. Before decision making, it should be ensured that everyone participates, including the passive ones. ‘Leadership must show that speaking up is not just safe but mandatory.’ People do not speak because they think it is waste of time. They think decision has been made and meetings are a show. It is not suggested that all decisions have to undergo same process of deliberations. Decisions could be made on the run but then in meetings we brief how decision was reached and examine pros and cons of the decision instead of faking a discussion to ratify decision. The importance of hearing critical information must be reiterated over and over again to remove misconceptions and misperceptions. Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman and James O’Toole ‘Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor’. Individuals shall be biased towards solutions that serve their respective goals better than the organizational goals and they have to acquire skills of Collaborative Problem Solving Skills Team members require skills to ‘plan, design and execute a project or task’ with shared objectives. They need to understand that plans rarely work as envisaged and they must also plan to seek feedbacks to test and revise plans while implementing and adhering to ‘agreed quality standards and specifications’. Members require ability to ‘select and use appropriate tools and technology’ and quickly ‘adapt to changing requirements and information’. This requires continuous monitoring the progress of project or task and identifying ways to improve. Encouraging participation and feeling good about participation increases employee buy-in. Besides professional job skills members need to develop Thinking and problem solving skills to aptly ‘assess situations and identify problems’ and elicit different points of view and undertake fact based unbiased analysis. This requires skills to distinguish and differentiate between ‘human, interpersonal, technical, scientific and mathematical dimensions of problem’ and ‘identifying its root cause’. Identifying actual root cause and not symptoms require deep pondering and devising solution may require out of box thinking along with use of conventional tools. To examine, observe and ‘share knowledge, solve problems’ and select probable options or solutions. Finally decide in favor of most feasible option by progressively rejecting other options and implementing the selected option and seeking continual improvements.
3.2 COMMUNICATION OBSTACLES IN TEAMWORK
All these appear good in books and lectures but in real time there are barriers to open and frank exchange of views. There are coalitions, sub-teams lobbying for favorable decisions and objectivity is compromised. The situation calls for special Team Communication Skills where issue is debated on merits. A strange phenomenon is said to exist that ‘higher the leaders rise, the less honest feedback they get from followers about their leadership, due to this group think of limiting information. Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman and James O’Toole (2008); Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor. Bottom up communication is like moving against gravity and a high power motor of trust and support is required to encourage flow of information upwards. Pre-requisite of correct decision making is smooth upwards flow of information. Lack of candor can be very disastrous. The book recalls the ill-fated Challenger which exploded in mid-air in 1987. NASA did not learn its lesson: In 2003, the events were recreated in shape of the Columbia shuttle disaster. The authors lament NASA’s organizational culture where engineers were afraid to raise safety concerns with managers who were obsessed about meeting flight schedules. The book is emphasizing on need to nurturing the culture of candor.
3.3 MEDIA AGE AND ITS IMPACT ON TEAMWORK
Transparency is enhanced when an organization’s leaders are committed to it. Actually, the authors cited a sobering fact: ‘Even when leaders resist it, transparency is inescapable in the digital age.’ Google has it impossible for any candidate to deny past actions or statements. YouTube has changed America’s political discourse. In this idea-packed book, leaders and managers will have a roadmap toward transparency’or culture of candor. They speak of three elements to achieve this: Transparency, trust, and speaking truth to power. ‘Speaking truth to power’ is a new phrase in our leadership vocabulary. It means speaking the truth to your superior even if he is ‘ to shoot the messenger’meaning, you. Communication hinges upon mutual trust between team members. Communication plays crucial role in team effectiveness and lack of communication appears as a frequently emerging factor contributing to deviation and non-compliance. Team communication skills are built on basic communication skills like ability to ‘read and understand information presented’. Importance of listening is often lost and seniors find it appropriate to be reading while listening to a reportee. Not only this is discourteous but it discourages the speaker and listener also looses in grasping content and intentions. Interactive two way communication with active listening increases communication effectiveness. Active listening includes attention to non-verbal communication and helps in grasping the intent and intensity of situation along with content. Ability to gain attention of team members, by undertaking coordinated speaking and writing, while asking questions and listening to answers and appreciating unexpected and opposing points of view of others is important. Encouraging silent members to participate can be achieved by seeking to hear about agreements or expression of their reservations. This requires intelligent handling of situation and it is important to see that members are not embarrassed while seeking their involvement. People do not openly oppose popular views and privately share their disagreements with selected course of action.
3.4 MUTUAL TRUST AND ITS IMPACT ON TEAMWORK
Team Formation and Functioning hinges and sustains on trusting. For team members to trust in the team, they must feel that (a) the team is competent enough to accomplish their task and (b) that the team will not harm the individual or his or her interests (Daniel R. Ilgen, John R. Hollenbeck, Michael Johnson and Dustin Jundt, 2005). Team formation often follows the sequence of storming, norming and performing. A team is made up of individuals who have required professional skills to undertake variety of jobs to be undertaken like in a surgery procedure we have surgeon, anesthetist, nurses and etc who all contribute to effective and efficient outcome. While individual responsibilities vary, every member is committed to contribute to group goal of successful procedure and is willing to support and help each other. The group may have a leader appointed or mutually selected who coordinates and leads as required. There is enabling culture where members openly discuss ideas and express their views in a positive and supportive manner. This includes expressing disagreements and ability to resolve conflicts in constructive fashion. Everyone actively participates in decision making process by giving their inputs and carefully listening to inputs of others. The team critically reviews and monitors its performance and explores new avenues for improvements to continually learn and improve. Members do not hesitate to challenge or question each other’s actions in pursuit of team goals maintaining positivity, (http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sk/leadership.htm).
3.5 INDICATORS OF DYSFUNCTIONAL TEAMTEAMWORK
Indicators and symptoms of dysfunctional team must be known to team leaders and members so that they can apply remedy and treat the team. Some common symptoms include every member not participating and few members dominating agenda leading others to withdraw into oblivion or silence. Member’s participation gets reduced and only few people contribute ideas because attention is not given to all members. Majority passively participates and do not contribute and could be ‘indifferent, bored or afraid to contribute’. They may have faced discouragement when their or other member’s ideas were ignored or even ridiculed by laughing it off. Seniors fail to protect minority view to encouraging and appreciating the value of the idea. Members lack the skills to constructively resolve difference of opinion through objective analysis and end up personalizing differences. Ideas may not get be accepted or rejected on merit or those whose ideas get rejected often may get feeling of failure. Members may fake consensus and privately complain about decisions and actions. Instead of undertaking thorough examination of pros and cons of alternative options, voting may be done to reach decisions, leaving members discontented and uncommitted. Deadlines may get flouted and members focus about their tasks, roles and goals get blurred everyone feeling helpless and members evade discussing how the groups working can be improved. To be able to treat such teams we need to develop Understanding of root causes of Dysfunctions of Team. The issue is explained nicely in fable; five dysfunctions of a team, where problem stems from lack of trust among team members. When team members have hidden agenda and prefer individual goals over team goals they find it difficult to openly discuss their own difficulties, mistakes and weaknesses and are busy justifying their actions and contributions. This defensive framework makes it impossible to built trust which leads to second dysfunction which is fear of conflict. The fear of conflict prohibits members from getting into meaningful and passionate discussion over differences and presenting new and meetings and discussions produce little outcome. Avoidance of conflict gives birth to third dysfunction: lack of commitment. When decision making, performance review etc are conducted with fear of conflict and members do not participate openly, they intrinsically do not buy-in to the decisions on team goals and focus on individual goal. This lack of commitment to team goal lead to fourth dysfunction: avoidance of accountability. When team is not passionately committed to organizational goal or to a clear action plan it lacks the ability of thorough introspection and specially it lacks the ability to examine behaviors and actions of peers. Only through strong commitment can one get rid of avoidance of accountability by thrashing all avenues including challenging peers disregarding fears of conflict. The avoidance of accountability leads to fifth dysfunction: Inattention to results. Team members forge their departments, divisions or personal agenda and while pretending to participate in deliberations they remain reserved and committed to their personal goals. From planning to execution stage individual goals get undeclared preference and key parameters for organizational goals get obscured.
The five dysfunctions can be avoided when team goals have clear preference over individual goals and members trust each other. They shun fear of conflict and communicate objectively exploring all options to before committing to the appropriate one. Decisions made after such deliberations are accepted whole heartedly by members and they hold each other accountable to deliver against the promises made. The members focus on achieving group goals over sub-groups goals and keep monitoring results/outcomes. An understanding of teams functioning and dysfunction can help in diagnosing problems and improving team efficiency and effectiveness.
Leaders play an important role in the establishment of a safety culture. The leadership role is comprehensive and apart from creating a vision and engaging employees, leaders have to ensure that systems are effectively implemented and opportunities created for employees to actively participate. Leaders need to set a positive example and not engage in behaviour that may deteriorate trust and adversely affect their credibility.