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Building Groups Into Teams

People working on teams such as quality circles, project groups, or autonomous production teals accomplish the majority of an organization's work. However, some groups work like a dream team, appearing to accomplish miracles, while others generate nightmares. What makes the difference? The answer lies in appropriate group membership, structures, processes and training. If group members with appropriate skills and attitudes are trained to understand their own and other' role requirements, they can develop to collaborate without dysfunctional conflicts to achieve common objectives. However, firms have several paradoxes to manage.

One is that the cohesiveness that groups develop, when members value their association with one another and their common goals can promote enhanced satisfaction and extra synergy, but it can also reinforce resistance to change and underachievement if members need to relinquish behaviors that are accepted as group norms.

Also, the very conformity that standardizes behavior and makes life comfortably predictable may also serve to stifle constructive conflict and creativity. In striving for group acceptance, many members show far less initiative and independent thought than they are capable of demonstrating as individuals. Deviates who intentionally violate group norms are often resented and forced back in line, but at times their behaviors can be breakthroughs for productive change.

To transform groups into high-performing teams, the business needs to develop high degrees of trust, open communication, participation, and constructive confrontation skills. Group members must perform all of the key work functions of advising, innovating, promoting, developing, organizing, producing, inspecting, maintaining, and linking. Also, individuals with appropriate skills and interests need to be matched to their preferred work function, by organization's leaders. Finally, high performance teams need to apply team-building techniques aimed at improved working relationships. The process of improving team effectiveness includes continual data gathering and analysis to assessment areas needing improvement. Also, problem solving to determine sources and solutions to problems and training accompanied by exercises to build the skills and processes necessary for continual high performance.

Submitted by:

Jonathon Hardcastle

Jonathon Hardcastle writes articles on many topics including Society, Investing, and Arts




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