Team Dynamics and the Impact on an Organization
In business management, it is important for teams to be formed so as to ensure input from various quarters of the business. A team is a group of individuals who have come together so as to accomplish a common goal. We have seen organizations which use team work as their strategy in business at the workplace but the same firms have not come out as strong as expected and this is because the strength of the team is compromised and also the functionality of the team is not there. For a team to be effective, there are certain characteristics it should exhibit. These characteristics not only apply to management teams but all kinds of teams in general especially in business.
As much as the composition of a team is comprised of people from different backgrounds, all the team members should come up with values for the team they belong in. In this way, the team members will always be happy to be associated with the team and would always be careful so as not to take the team down. Managers are to engage their team members in the process of coming up with the values of the team. In this way, they own them and it is natural for a human being to protect and stand for whatever they came up with. It is also advantageous in that employees do not feel like they are being pushed around and harassed into something they were not party to.
McShane (2006) argues that team members have to trust each other. Without this, then team members will never work together. This is because in a team, one person does one thing and the other people do the other but all their work is to accomplish one thing. If one team member does not trust the other to do a good job then the team members will not value their team's work in totality. Apart from a team having its values, it is also paramount that a team has an inspiring vision and also an alignment that is strategic. Encouraging the diversity that is in a team is very important as it gives rise to innovation as there are many ways in which different people from different background will choose to deal with an issue. When a team capitalizes on the team members in terms of their strengths and competencies so as to nurture synergies among the individuals which is the essence of team work; making people stronger when they tackle something as a team as opposed to when they tackle things on an independent basis. The last point a good team should have is a reward system. If a manager wants to get the work done then he or she should have a reward system. Most reward would take the form of awards and/or money.
Duane (2008) postulates that Maxwell wrote a book outlining and explaining 17 Laws associated with Teamwork which he writes to be indisputable and asserts that:
- In order to get greatness in anything then one person is never enough to get to greatness. He calls this a law that has a lot of significance.
- It is very important to look at the task ahead not just as it stands on its own but also when in place with other things. It is always good to focus on the end result but not so much on the role.
- In the third law, it is important to identify a niche for each team member. In other words, it is good to appreciate that every person has areas that they are very good at and execute the task before them without any strain.
- In the fourth rule, it is important for the spirit of team work to be present and at work as the task comes to an end as it gets tougher when it is about to end.
- It is the weakest in a team that bring huge consequences.
- There are people in teams who just have the hunger to get things done.
- It is important for a team to have their own mini vision as this directs their actions and gives then confidence as well.
- It is very important for team players to have a good attitude.
- Members of a team must be in a position to rely on each other when it's worth it.
- Whenever a team compromises on what it needs to do to achieve something that is put before them, then they will never realize what they are made of and to what lengths they can stretch just to get something done.
- It is easy for a team to realign itself when it is aware of where to make the necessary adjustments.
- The definition of the team lies in the values they share.
- The fuel to surge a team forward in terms of action is communication.
- The leadership of a team gives it the cutting age. It does not matter how much talent is in a team but for as long as the leadership of the team is questionable then the team is as good as dead.
- It does not hurt to win. This gives morale to the team members.
- The more one puts into a team, the more a person gets out of it. One just has to be patient with time.
Team Dynamics and how to recognize them
Before getting into the team we already have a rift between the led and the leader who in this case is the manager. Majority of people do not like to be told what to do so already there is some resentment between the manager and the team he is managing. Howard-Sarin asserted that:
It does not matter the extent to which what the team is working on or what the team has to accomplish their task, if there is no solidarity in the team then he good project is in big trouble.
Team dynamics refer to the process in which the various different personalities and characters represented in a team interact with each other under different circumstances.
The influence that team dynamics can have can be very complex. Team dynamics affect the reactions a team will have to certain things. For example, the organizational structure in an organization, will highly affect the way the team will react to tasks. If the organizational structure is one that limits the team then the way the team would react to a task given will highly depend on the jurisdiction they have in order to accomplish the task. They also influence the way the team will behave. The performance of the team has been seen to be affected by team dynamics. The overall effects of team dynamics may be very difficult to understand. A team dynamic may be something that is present in the team or also the absence of something. In management, if the managers are always absent, then this forms a team dynamic (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2004). This means there is a void in the team and this void created has an impact on the team and also the organization as a whole.
A team leader may wonder how to recognize team dynamics. The simplest way is to check the forces whether natural or not that have an impact on team behavior. Some of the forces that may influence team behavior include the layout if the office, communication within an organization, the distinct roles in a team, the organizational structure, the different personalities within the team, the technology available for the team to accomplish tasks delegated to them and also the processes or procedures or methodologies available to solve problems that come up in the event that they are tackling a task delegated to them.
One of the factors to consider in team dynamics is communication. When there is a communication barrier between one member and the other either because of the cultures or the people not liking each other or even because of the structures in place in the organization, then the team cannot function properly. As a result, there would be formation of groups within the team. This is the worst enemy a team can have; groups within the team. This would affect the dynamics of the team. When the management of a team is changed, depending on whether the person to replace the manager will blend into the team or not may be a good or a bad idea and this eats into the team dynamics again either in a positive way or negative way.
Wherever humans are found, there will always be politics. Organizations suffer from organizational politics as well. Humans always look at how to survive when politics hit them so that they can remain sane and also so that. Work politics within the team is detrimental to the performance of the team and will be reflected on the organization as a whole (Means & Adams, 2005). The team manager need be a keen person to notice politics within his or her team in order to mitigate the same.
There are characteristics in team members that can assist in weeding out the traits that are easy to recognize in team dynamics. Firstly, the type of personality that is represented in a team could be assist in recognizing the characteristics in team dynamics. Secondly, in a team, each and every team member will have a distinct and defined role and this range from being in the back office to being a leader of the team.
The instruments the team has put in place in order to accomplish their tasks also form part of the team dynamics. The technology employed also forms part of the team dynamics. To make the point clearer or closer to home, the use of websites, websites, bulletin, boards just to mention but a few, can be the technology or the tools that a team uses in order to get things accomplished.
The way the office has been laid out is also a part of the team dynamics as it forms the environment within which the team operates from. This implies that the organizational structure of a company or firm also forms part of the team dynamic. The way the team will react to certain situations will be dependent how the organization is organized. How the organization is planned shows the protocol one needs to follow in order to get something done. In other words, it shows the status of different people. The organizational structure is mostly influenced by the mission and vision of the organization and if it qualifies to be a team dynamic this means that the mission and vision of the teams are most of the time rather than not in line with the mission and vision of the organization. Problem solving processes together with the steps undertaken in order to get something complete qualify to be under team dynamics.
Impact of Team Dynamics on the Organization
A team dynamic may have a positive or negative effect on the team whose impact is felt at the organizational level. For example, let's take friendship as "natural cause" that contributes to the friends within the team to talk a lot that means the communication between the two friends will not have any barriers. If the two are working on something that needs constant communication, then this becomes a positive influence to the organization in that the task to be accomplished is accomplished faster and in an environment in which the people doing the work have no barriers.
Still on the friendship example, when the two friends communicate within the team with no barriers, it makes the other team members to be interested in the conversation. It is just natural human behavior. It is very hard to isolate converse within a group of people who can hear the conversation. They will join in. To make this point clear, try to imagine a bus carrying about thirty passengers. When the driver of the bus over speeds and only one passenger complains, the rest of the passengers will have something to say. It is human to want to respond to the environment that surrounds the human (Means & Adams, 2005). In team dynamics, the outcome of other members being interested into the friend's conversation has a positive influence as the team will be in communication with each other. This impacts the organization in that a free communication atmosphere is created within the organization which enables it to get more done in time.
As a result of the free communication created within the team, the team would feel like they have some sense of belonging. This leads to the team members to enjoy being in their teams and doing whatever they do in the same team. It also leads to the change of perception of teams for some team members and they now see team work as a positive thing rather than a negative thing. An organization would like all its employees to enjoy were being in teams as the organization would not even having the sky as a limit. When team members enjoy being in their team, then they are bound to show commitment and motivation. This is an invaluable asset an organization can have. This ensures that the organization is always in a position to create anything they deem possible.
Friendships formed within a team can also be disadvantageous. They can easily make the rest of the team members to feel like they are not part of the team. This means that whenever the team would need to make decisions, it would feel inclined to exclude the friends. This means that there will be groups formed that is, the friends then the rest of the team. This already is a problem as the information that will be passed on from the management to the friends may or may not reach the rest of the team and if the rest of the team is in possession of the information then it would hardly reach the friends. In an organization this is not allowed. It is unacceptable. For business to go on in an efficient way then information should reach each and every person. It impacts the organization negatively when information is only available to a sub groups and not the whole employee group. Lack of communication has a negative impact. The performance of the whole group is greatly affected and the organization will realize collective poor performance.
In summary, we have seen that the friendship is a team dynamic and it does affect the organization. The positive influence or negative aspect is all dependent on many other factors that the team dynamics would affect. It is important to look at the performance of a team and from there also look at the team dynamics. As we have seen in this relationship, the team dynamic friendship was a positive when its effects were positive and negative when the effects caused by it were negative. In the first positive effect, free communication is enhanced and in the negative effect, communication is stifled. The extent to which a team dynamic is negative or positive is dependent on the effects it creates in the overall performance of the team hence organization.
Possible Solutions and Preventive Measures to Mitigate
Negative Effects of Team Dynamics
Team dynamics should be managed constructively. The manager may need to have a keen eye for the "natural forces" in action. It is important to establish whether the "natural forces" in action work for the team or against the team. Are they out of innocence or were they premeditated with the intention of causing harm to the team? If the intentions of the team dynamics are negative or if the "natural forces" have a negative influence then steps have to be made by the manager to make the effects of the dynamics to be more to the positive than negative. As much as there may be different personality types in a team, it would help if a manger would abstain from categorizing or labeling the same. It is enough for the manager to be on the-know of each and every team member's weaknesses and strengths.
Solutions are only found where there is understanding of the monster one is dealing with. In this research paper, we have highlighted a few items that amount to team building. Once a manager recognizes the things that amount to his team dynamics, then he or she can easily manipulate the same in order to create a team has more positive impact on the organization than negative.
There are ways in which the organization can navigate its way around organizational politics. The aspect of change for any human being is normally challenging. Employees also will have resistance to change which they see it to mean performing tasks that are different, added responsibilities and learning new skills (McShane, 2006). The manager's work is to ensure that the reason for change is communicated to the people. It is in people to be afraid of failing. The management team should therefore be in a position to explain the benefits of the change made at the organizational level and also to explain the reason the management expects it to succeed where others did not succeed.
One political hurdle that is to be looked into is the policies of the working environment or the office. It is very difficult to get a person to adopt a new way of doing things. It is even more difficult for a company to convince the whole organization to put a policy document aside and compromise in order to get some things done. Most of the times rather than not, it is the executives that have authority to convince the board of directors or to go against the policies of the organization. The management must then inform each and every person working for the organization on the changes being made. Conflicts within the teams will be there. The conflicts within the team are bound to make the team suffer in terms of performance. The way out is to rely on the people to focus on the tasks rather than on being right.
In the process of understanding his or her team, a manager has to take time and learn the people the manager is dealing with. A team manager has to think outside of the box. This is because there is no straight-forward manual on how to deal with a team but there are many common things that have to be in a team for it to be called a team. If a manager is the kind to have a rigid way of approaching issues with team dynamics in place, then the manager is bound to lead a weak team.
Each and every team member will have something to offer the organization knowingly or unknowingly. It is up to the team leader and the managers of the organization to tap into the team diversity and make full use of it. This will assist in building a team that has common goals but with each and every team member building their strengths as they learn to overcome their weaknesses by learning from each other.
In the introductory part of this research paper, we saw that in a team, each team player has defined roles and these roles range from the lowest rank which may be backup to the highest rank in the team which may be a director, manager, board member or Chief Executive Officer. A team leader should use the natural roles so as to witness the growth of the team he leads. It is important also for a team leader not to be pushy but to give the team the direction of the company or organization with authority and then leave it upon the team members on how to work out how they will achieve the goals of the organization and also the steps they would go through to accomplish the same.
In every team, there are people who stand out as hard workers. The team will always have some people who are focused, some not so focused people, some people will be hardworking, and some lazy people and some people who are just in there and do nothing, say nothing and will never have any suggestions. Some team leaders and managers always have a tendency to prefer dealing with the hard workers and the smart ideas team members so in the long run, the same people are used thus overburdened. It is also important to consider the reward system discussed in the introductory part of this research paper, the hard workers have to be rewarded and recognized.
In a team there will also be the player who is consistent. These are very important to have around as they bring the aspect of ensuring that every time they have expectations to meet, they are met. They make the team complete as the people who go to extra lengths to meet expectations and bring out extra ordinary results do not always do this in a consistent manner. They tend to be inconsistent. It is also important to recognize the consistent team players as the key players in a team as they will be a work every single day and also be on time with everything, ranging from going to work and also meeting expectations. When a business does not keep the word it gave to its customers then it will never be taken seriously. The reputation of the organization will not go ahead of it in order to market it. There are businesses that have grown big because of the fact that they do what they said they would do and if they realize that they cannot do it, they immediately notify the client that they will not be able to and even give a few references for the client to try. This implies that the consistent ones are very important. This explains why we need teams so that the combination of the different team players brings spice to the team and also diversity. They however most of the time rather than not, never exceed expectations.
There is no personality, culture, character or sub-culture that is preferred over the other in team dynamics. Without the diversity, we would not have a team. The idea behind forming a team is to use the difference in people to achieve a common goal. In this way, the goal or objective achieved, has different inputs in it rather than coming up with something that does not have the diversity of inputs. The team is an important aspect of everything we want to accomplish in today's world so it better be a team with team dynamics in check to ensure that the team make a big and positive impact in whatever it undertakes.
In management, it is paramount for the team manager to always closely monitor the team. It is however never enough to monitor the team without putting the environment into consideration. The environment in which the team operates is very important. The manager should also look at the tasks the team is meant to get done. After learning the team, evaluating the environment in which the team operates and then looking at the tasks that the team is meant to tackle then the manager has to come up with ideas on how to bring out the positives and get rid or reduce the negatives all in a bid to improve overall team dynamics.
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