Analysis of the Methods Used to Manage Groups & Teams
The effective management of teams and groups can be problematic, especially when one lacks the appropriate skills and knowledge. It makes it pertinent for every group leader or manager to acquire the necessary dexterity that would transform any group into a team with high results in the long run. The core differences occur between groups and teams with the former being less efficient, calling for the leaders to transform them into the latter. The paper discusses the process of turning groups into teams while drawing a sharp contrast between the two. Additionally, it will unveil the most appropriate leadership method that can be used to groom capable teams. Another concept within the discussion is the benefits and drawbacks of groups and teams.
One fundamental difference between groups and teams is that in groups, individuals tend to work independently, as they imagine they are only placed together for the administrative purposes. Conversely, the people in organizations recognize them to be interdependent and understand that they should support each other mutually to achieve personal and group goals. As a result, time and energy is not wasted seeking personal advantages and enhancement, as they clearly understand they are a unit. Based on that fact, a team leader should ensure that they clearly make the group a unit to achieve a more functional and comprehensive structure.
Another difference is that members in a group focus more on their interests and approach the task as hired hands since they are not involved in the planning and decision-making processes, while in teams the members focus not only on their personal objectives but also on the group mandate and are committed to both (Maddux, 1994). Another key difference is that in groups people are told what they have to do, and the notion of them providing suggestions is not entertained. It is different in teams as the individuals are encouraged to offer suggestions and be sufficiently innovative to improve the organization.
Another disadvantage of the group approach is that its members mistrust each other, as they do not comprehend the others’ roles and their opinions are considered as divisive. This causes more conflicts in groups as opposed to teams where members trust each other, and views and ideas are taken as growth enhancers. Moreover, questions are encouraged to ensure that all members understand all the processes in the project, and it results in the better outcome. Groups are also disadvantageous because traps may be set to make some feel like total failures while in team’s open communication and honesty are core values as members try to understand each other. The conflicts in groups are most times addressed with punitive measures while in teams they are taken as opportunities for growth creativity, and new ideas. Based on this fact, teams resolve conflicts in a constructive manner while the opposite is true for groups.
To transform groups into teams, several steps are followed. Firstly, the team context, which refers to the organizational environment in which, the team works is vital. The manager ought to ensure that the internal environment in the firm is conducive. To achieve it, they should understand that effective teamwork is fundamental for accomplishing the corporate goals, and as a result, put in place measurable team performance goals around which they organize the team. Secondly, the organization’s entities such as senior managers, reward systems, and culture should all support teamwork, failure to which it will be difficult to develop the effective teams (Dyer, Dyer, & Dyer, 2013).
Another key factor in ensuring that a team is efficient is making certain that the people who compose it have the appropriate skills and knowledge. It would be through ascertaining that the human resource team only selects and recruits the most qualified applicants who in turn add value to the firm. Additionally, the firm management team should encourage a learning culture either through offering incentives to all those who further their studies or ensuring there is a learning environment where workers are regularly taught and enlightened on new technology and developments in their field. There should also be the enhancement of creativity, which is achieved by allowing members some level of autonomy in their decision-making. Furthermore, they are permitted to be innovative in the development of new products, as this makes them more participative in the group. Moreover, a leader should ensure that they cultivate a positive attitude in all their members because it breeds harmony and cuts off conflicts that would slow down productivity within the team.
Moreover, the right attitude makes members receptive of the contributions and amendments made by their leaders and the rest of the team members, leading to more productivity. The manager should also instill the spirit of commitment by communicating the roles and assignments of each member, for this will create a higher sense of responsibility and direction among them all (Kippenberger, 2002. Moreover, they should communicate the overall mission and vision of the team to auger the feeling. The leader should also communicate the common goal and pool the talents within the team to attain them.
Based on the above discussion, it is clear that the optimal leadership style to apply in team leadership is the transformational approach. Bass and Avolio (1994) state that transformational leaders motivate the followers to do more than they planned originally to do or even thought possible. The authors also posit that the leaders set the expectations that are more challenging and attain higher performances from the teams. The first characteristic of these leaders is idealized influence whereby they serve as role models for the followers (Bass & Avolio, 1994). They are trusted, admired, and respected, seeing that the people identify with them and desire to emulate them. It is earned as they consider others’ needs above their wants and are ethical in all their dealings and projects. They are also consistent and share the risks of the projects with the followers. They, in addition, do not use power for personal gain, making them more loved and trusted by the team members.
The second characteristic displayed by the transformational leaders is inspirational motivation as they inspire and motivate all those who come around them by providing challenges and meaning to the roles they play. Moreover, they achieve it through arousing team spirit and raising enthusiasm and optimism to all the followers (Adeniyi, 2007). They make certain that the members of the team envision the attractive future that the group will attain, and this makes the followers desire to achieve the objectives and raise their motivation. Moreover, they communicate clearly the expectations, making all people have a clear view of what they should attain.
Thirdly, the intellectual stimulation is displayed by transformational leaders, as they stimulate the followers’ desires and efforts to be creative and innovative. They attain it through questioning any arising assumptions and reframing the problems in ways that followers quickly understand. They also approach old problems using new tactics as a way of making them more solvable. Another concept is that they establish a culture where public criticism is not condoned, giving members more confidence while tackling problems. It also encourages them to ask question or offer new ideas openly. Similarly, the leaders solicit new thoughts and concepts from followers, a factor that keeps them on their toes researching on every new possibility. More importantly, leaders do not criticize members who develop new ideas that differ from those they offer. Instead, they encourage them and even try to learn these new possibilities.
The last vital concept that is exhibited by transformational leaders is individualized consideration whereby they pay attention to each member’s need through being coaches and mentors to them (Iqbal, 2011). Furthermore, the leaders ensure that they develop them to a higher potential through offering them a learning environment in a supportive climate. The leader also identifies the individual desires and needs and accepts the individuals with their differences. They also encourage two away communications making all the people feel free in the group.
In conclusion, groups ought to be developed into teams to attain higher results and become more effective. Teams have fewer conflicts as members understand clearly their individual roles and responsibilities as well as the importance of all the members. Furthermore, they work as a unit and use their differences to improve their performance, unlike the groups where conflicts are treated punitively. Moreover, the leader ought to take on the transformational leadership style to be effective and contribute to the team’s sustainable development.
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