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The Diversity Of Skills And Personalities Management Essay

4052 words (16 pages) Essay in Management

5/12/16 Management Reference this

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Abstract

A team has a strong synergy of individual contributions, as first of all in team effectiveness is the diversity of skills and personalities. When people use their strengths in full, but can compensate for each other’s weaknesses. When different personality types balance and complement each other.

As a basis for this paper John Adair leadership task-team-individual model is taken, as he developed his three circles approach to leadership through observation of what effective leaders did to gain the support and commitment of the followers. Action Centered Leadership is so-called because it highlights the key actions that leaders have to take when managing their teams. His model is important for two reasons: it’s simple, so is easy to understand and apply, and he was one of the first to look at effective leadership from the point of view of those being led.

Team building skills are critical for effectiveness as a leader while working on a project and managing it successfully. Thus, the second part will discuss the task allocation, how responsibilities are shared and the importance to recognize individual differences while giving out responsibilities. This essay also recognizes the importance of the motivational aspect of team members and the importance in the achieving and managing a project successfully.

The other critical element of team work success is that all the team efforts are directed towards the same clear goals, the team goals. This relies heavily on good communication in the team and the harmony in member relationships.

In real life, team work success rarely happens by itself, without focused team building efforts and activities. There is simply too much space for problems. For example, different personalities, instead of complementing and balancing each other, may build up conflicts. Or even worse, some people with similar personalities may start fighting for authority and dominance in certain areas of expertise. Even if the team goals are clear and accepted by everyone, there may be no team commitment to the group goals or no consensus on the means of achieving those goals: individuals in the team just follow their personal opinions and move in conflicting directions. There may be a lack of trust and openness that blocks the critical communication and leads to loss of coordination in the individual efforts. And on and on. This is why every team needs a good leader who is able to deal with all such team work issues.

Critical evaluation of the dynamic between Task, Team and Individual as related to managing a project successfully.

Introduction

The way a department within any workplace works on a common project has evolved through the years. Recent changes include an increased focus on the project tasks and their accomplishments by the teams of involved individuals participating together. To produce a group outcome team members require sharing information, collaboration, and communication. Individuals may play a large or small role in the team process as well as bare individual responsibilities.

Additionally, individuals may serve more than one team. Therefore, it is vital to realize, that despite teamwork is used throughout, individual work is what lies behind each task and team.

Discussion

Team-based work has become a popular model of organizations and projects. John Adair found that successful project leaders should ideally pay attention to three following areas: relating to the task, to the team, and to individual members of the team. The emphasis on the above may change but because they are interdependent the leader must watch all three.

So what do three areas include? Task includes setting clear SMART goals and team’s objectives. Leaders should ensure team interacts effectively, shares work and communicates with other teams. Personal need differ from employer to employer, but the effective leader will observe how each person behaves/feels and will help individuals develop to their full potential.

Good leaders should have full command of three areas of the model, and be able to use each of the elements according to the situation. Being capable to control those elements, and keep them in balance, will not only mark a successful project leader, it will produce positive results, build morale, develop teams and improve productivity.

An environment of a project is never the same, inevitably leaders need to think about the aspects of performance necessary for success, and incorporate unique relevant factors to create needed interpretation of the model. Thus leaders should be balancing their actions across all three key areas if they want their group to succeed.

Despite the above challenges, leadership task-team-individual model seems to be useful and adapts extremely well for the demands of modern projects. Furthermore, the model emphasizes the vital point that leaders are not necessarily great managers, but the best leaders will possess good management skills.

Knowing all positive aspects of the model, the three circles (J. Adair, Action Centered Leadership) could be seen as fairly basic, mainly because three-circle diagram simplifies the variety of human interaction. However, it is a good approach to learn as a foundation for more complex human relations and quite useful tool for thinking about what constitutes an effective leader in relation to the job.

This being said, an effective leader carries out the functions according to circumstantial elements that require different responses. Hence, the circles in the model may be bigger or smaller depending on the circumstances, thus the difficulty is to recognize and to give more/less emphasis to a particular part of the model. Despite the interdependence of the areas, if the leader focuses too much on one area and neglects the other two, the group will experience problems.

Another important aspect to consider in looking at dynamics between three elements (task, team and individual) for successful project completion is how the team members are appointed. The selection process involves deciding the position for each team member based on the individual’s skill, ability to perform well and the likely difficulties that the team might encounter during the project. Leaders’ challenge is to select the suitable people for particular jobs, and assign them tasks that fit with their proficiencies and skills.

Understanding the task that has to be delivered and the skills, and abilities required to achieve it are essential in the beginning of any project. By placing the member of the team in the correct position will be the first step towards the future success. It is a mere common sense, but often proves to be difficult to understand the individual behind the team member.

There are aspects of our personality that people are open about, and other elements that individuals prefer to keep to themselves. (Luft and Ingham). At the same time, there are qualities that others see in us, which one can be not aware of possessing. Despite being more than 50 years old Johari Window model still can be quite reliable to access personal qualities of a team member. However, the problem with this model is that it requires people to regularly share personal feelings.

Despite the model potential, by describing the person using list of adjectives, then asking colleagues to describe their coworker, differences might occur. Additional flaws of the model include, first of all, negative characteristics of some descriptive adjectives. Secondly, those filling in the table reveal themselves thus might not always be open in their judgments to avoid confrontations with their fellow employees. The fact that observers can also review the profiles and see who else has contributed could be affecting employee’s motivation.

Some of the later studies by Adair cover such aspects as six principles for motivating others. Leaders should be motivated themselves and choose highly motivated people, while setting realistic but challenging targets, providing rewards, and recognizing effort. Although these principals are valid, it is important to be aware that for successful project management, having acquired motivated team leader has to keep motivation going. While for some individuals within a team the use of Johari Window could be acceptable, for others, it might be a very de-motivational, especially considering multicultural environment of today’s business world.

The Equity theory supports the above argument. It explains an important problem at an ethic and moral level of the motivational process. It speaks about the people’s perceptions of the way they are treated in comparison with others: people are highly motivated when they are fairly treated and vice versa. Much like the five levels of needs (A. Maslow) and the two factors of motivation (Herzberg) the Equity theory states that high levels of motivation is achieved only when individuals perceive their treatment to be fair. This includes not only financial rewards, but also some intangible characteristics – Recognition, Responsibility, Praise, Sense of Achievement and one, that completely contradicts the Johari Window is – Reputation. Openly discussing people’s attributes might drastically redound of individual’s performance within a team, thus hinder overall project success.

Project based work that involves teams achieving developed rapidly across worldwide organizations in recent yeas. Considering this, it is vital to realize, that despite recognizing individuals within a team, leaders must find a way to motivate the entire team and not only some of the individuals. Despite the fact that every member has their own motivational factors, to successfully manage the project the group as a whole should work towards one common objective. Setting a clear goal before the team members, leader will encourage a culture of togetherness that should ideally prevail over competitiveness. Hence, task might be achieved much faster and with better results.

Conclusion

Leaders have many commitments when it comes to managing their teams. And, it’s easy to get focused on one area and neglect the other, leading to a badly functioning and unbalanced team. Using tools available for managers, for example Action Centered Leadership can prove helpful to any leader in order to be on top of their responsibilities and keep the groups working efficiently, productively, and, most importantly, happily towards successful task completion.

Part II

Summary

Thorough applications of project management methodologies are responsible for project success. This paper will argue, that project success is only partially due to the use of project management methodologies, and that a significant driver of project management success is effective and intelligent leadership. Leadership forms a significant body of knowledge, but this paper is only focusing on a very small but important area of this discipline due to limitations of the scope of this paper. This paper examines the stages of team formation and how it relates to the success or failure of project leadership.

A skilled leader is essential to development and performance of a team and recognition of capabilities of each individual member. The leader matches the team’s challenges with the individuals’ skills and the team’s potential.

Critical evaluation of how the stages of team formation relate to the success or failure of project leadership.

Introduction

It has become a recent trend to talk about building a team and team work, but not every manager understands how to develop an effective team. “Belonging to a team … has a lot to do with understanding of the mission and objectives” of the project and a desire to achieve a common goal.

In order to build an effective and efficient team, the leader has to ensure the objective is clear to their team members. A team leader with significant characteristics can build a successful team that works towards achieving common objective, meanwhile reducing conflicts. Team leader tells about the context and describes specific goal to all team members, appoints particular task and guides through the features related to it.

Discussion

In today’s world of an increasingly complex business environment every successful business solves a great variety of issues. With all the trends that affect businesses, i.e. globalization, the IT explosion, increased mergers/acquisitions, competition and strategic alliances, it is essential to form teams in order to achieve a common goal. Bringing in other people on board with different sets of skills and expertise is an absolute necessity for company’s survival.

In a team-oriented environment, workers contribute to the overall success of the project, thus produce results. Even though members may belong to different departments and has precise job functions, they are unified with other project members to serve the bigger picture in order to accomplish the overall objectives.

Choosing the most skilled employees for a particular project is exceedingly important at planning stage to maximize members’ contribution to the team, further gaining commitment from members for that project is crucial to the quality of work and the easy manageability of the team. The above argument can be supported by Jim Collins in “Good to Great” book, where he studies companies that made a dramatic transition and level five leaders behind their success. Collins’ point out that assembling the right team is not a new idea, but the first step towards success is to get the right people “on the bus and the wrong people off the bus before you figure out where to drive it”. Secondly, the firm dedication required from people in order to take a company from good to great.

Another article that I came across by Arthur Cooper, “Building Your Project Team” insists that great leader should not be focused on qualifications of chosen team members, but rather on their versatile abilities and skills, and contribution they may bring in.

It is important to stress that despite term team is often used interchangeably with a term group there is a distinction and conditions when one is more suitable than the other. Team formation takes time, from being a group of strangers to becoming united team with a common goal, which is vital for any leader to recognize while planning the project. A new team does not start to perform exceptionally right away, but understanding of the stages of team formation can help to make a work of a team more productive quicker.

The Tuckman’s model of team development is an old and simple, but is still considered by some leaders very useful. I will not go through all stages of team formation, as for the purpose of this paper it is not fundamental, but rather critically look at the model, outline the types of leader interventions that will move the team forward and influence the outcome of the project to bring it to its success.

Though Tuckman’s four-stage model has been found to be useful, I feel his description is over-generalizes team development. The stage of team development in which a team operates depends on length of time that team members have worked together, levels of trust and confidence among the members, and on a history of successful decisions, to name a few factors. Thus group work is not so straightforward. Moreover, there’s usually overlap between stages, so they are not that easily distinguished, accordingly may prove difficult for the leader to manipulate member’s behavior.

Next criticism is that not every team go through every stage of the team formation, some might never reach, for example, the “norming” stage. At any time team could revert back to a previous stage, for example if another individual joins the team – the team will revert back to the “forming” stage as they adapt to the new member. The needs of the team are ever-changing and complex no matter how big the project is, thus a good leader ideally anticipates for those needs depending on team dynamics. Saying that Tuckman’s model most useful as a starting point for small project groups, as there is generally a predictable development process.

An understanding of the stages by the leader can help group reach effectiveness more quickly and leaders’ ability to recognize the stages helps them to make appropriate interventions that move the team forward. However, despite leaders intervention is usually regarded as essential attribute for team success, the wrong type of intervention can be ineffective or potentially even destroy any good teamwork that already exists. Successful leaders, therefore, should recognize the importance of using the right approach.

At the stage of team formation, leader may need to guide the team in order to accomplish all that needs to be done to form an effective team. At the second stage – “storming”, good leadership is essential to set structure and rules that will help to prevent any conflict. When team comes to “norming” stage, the leader may not be as involved in decision making and problem solving since the team has greater self-direction and is able to resolve issues jointly. However, on occasions, the team leader may be required to step in to move things along if the work gets stuck. The leader should always ensure that the team members collaborate and may function as a coach to the members of its team.

Not every team makes it to this stage. A successful leader needs to guide its project team, help them to overcome differences, explain the goal and show the directions. It is the job of the team leader to lead the team through these stages to bring them to the point where they work as effectively as possible toward the single goal. It is a great deal and an enormous job for a leader to delegate the thinking, so that people in a team are so motivated, that they do not require step by step guidance, but rather understand and jointly move towards project succession. Moreover, to quote Jim Collins, the purpose of a leader is not to motivate the required behaviors from the wrong employees, but to get and keep the suitable people in the first place.

A project vision can be an artifact that defines the project’s soul; therefore it is clear that this task requires intelligence and wisdom on the part of project leaders. Creating an effective project vision requires excellent communication skills and a deep understanding of organizational culture that create underlying assumptions of individuals within a team. Talented team leader may use Dr Meredith Belbin model, while developing teams, to help create more balanced teams, as people in teams tend to assume different team roles and by understanding one’s role within a particular team, the person can develop its own strengths and manage weaknesses as a team member. Therefore, ones own contribution to the team is improved.

Teams can become unbalanced if all team members have similar styles of behavior or team roles. If team members have similar weakness, the team as a whole may tend to have that weakness. If team members have similar team-work strengths, they may tend to compete (rather than co-operate) for the team tasks and responsibilities that best suit their natural styles. Knowing this, you can use the model with your team to help ensure that necessary team roles are covered, and that potential behavioral tensions or weaknesses among the team member are addressed.

An extension of Tuckman’s stages – “6 C’s”, is a tool for the leader to engage the group into situations, discussions, interactions, and activities that enhance its current stage of development as well as help it progress to higher levels of performance. The full description of this theory is in the Appendix, as for the purpose of this work the mere description of the theory is less important than the leadership involvement at each of the stages.

Conclusion

One of the principal tasks that a project management leader needs to effectively perform is ensuring alignment of goals and resultant commitment to project goals. Successful project managers must lead courageously and be able to influence others.

One of the most important aims of a great leader is to bring together people with different experiences and knowledge, that every member of a team compliments the skills of others. It is vital to make sure that everyone knows their own goals and objectives and those of the team as a whole. Leaders should encourage and foster co-operation, not competition within the group. As a result communication will come naturally if it is in everyone’s interest. The guidelines on how to be successful leader on their own, however, are certainly not enough to guarantee a fully functional and successful team. On the other hand, if a leader doesn’t follow them the chances of success will be minimal.

Bibliography

“Action centred leadership”, London: McGrawHill, 1984

“Great leaders”, Guildford: Talbot Adair Press, 1989

“Leadership and motivation. The fifty-fifty rule and the eight key principles of motivating others”, Kogan Page, London and Philadelphia. Adair, J. (2006),

http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/smart-goals.html

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/John+Adair%3A+Action-Centred+Leadership.-a099932512, COPYRIGHT 1999 Chartered Management Institute,

http://www.bnet.com/cp/motivating-team-members/68798,

Motivating Team Members,

http://cefeindo.wordpress.com/2008/03/13/john-adairs-action-centred-leadership-a-model-for-team-leadership-and-management/, “John Adair’s Action Centred Leadership – a Model for Team Leadership and Management”, by Jide ,13 March 2008

http://www.personalitypage.com/html/personal.html, “Personal Growth”, Copyright 2010 BSM Consulting, Inc.

http://steconomice.uoradea.ro/anale/volume/2009/v4-management-and-marketing/54.pdf, Employees Motivation Theories Development at an International Levelby Lefter Viorel

http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_48.htm, Action Centered Leadership, Mind Tools Ltd, 1995-2010

http://www2.fcsh.unl.pt/apsociedade/Liderança.pdf, “A review of Leadership theory and competency frameworks”, Bolden, R., Gosling, J., Marturano, A. and Dennison, P., June 2003

http://www.chimaeraconsulting.com/models.htm, “Famous Models”, Chimaera Consulting Limited 1999

http://www.lifeofthespirit.com/johari_window, Johari Window

http://www.leader-values.com/Content/detail.asp?ContentDetailID=1004, Copyright Ron Armstrong, 2005

Appendix

John Adair  three-circle model of Action Centered Leadership

The three parts of Adair’s Action-Centred Leadership model are commonly represented by three overlapping circles, which is a trademark belonging to John Adair, and used here with his permission. Adair’s famous ‘three circles’ model is one of the most recognizable and iconic symbols within management theory. When you refer to this diagram for teaching and training purposes please attribute it to John Adair, and help preserve the integrity and origins of this excellent model.

John Adair’s Action-Centred Leadership model is represented by Adair’s ‘three circles’ diagram, which illustrates Adair’s three core management responsibilities:

achieving the task

managing the team or group

managing individuals

2. Johari Window

Joe Luft and Harry Ingham were researching human personality at the University of California in the 1950’s when they devised their Johari Window. Luft and Ingham observed that there are aspects of our personality that we’re open about, and other elements that we keep to ourselves. At the same time, there are things that others see in us that we’re not aware of. As a result, you can draw up a four-box grid, shown here.

Self-assessment questionnaires can be used to indicate the size of your public window, but any measure is purely subjective.

The public area contains things that are openly known and talked about – and which may be seen as strengths or weaknesses. This is the self that we choose to share with others

The hidden area contains things that others observe that we don’t know about. Again, they could be positive or negative behaviors, and will affect the way that others act towards us.

The unknown area contains things that nobody knows about us – including ourselves. This may be because we’ve never exposed those areas of our personality, or because they’re buried deep in the subconscious.

The private area contains aspects of our self that we know about and keep hidden from others.

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