By Ranjit Singh Malhi, Ph.D.
Organizations are increasingly becoming team-oriented in structure; teams are the waves of the future. Envisioning tomorrow’s organizations, Peter F. Drucker mentions three characteristics: fewer layers, information-based, and structured around teams.1 Teams typically outperform individuals when the tasks being done require multiple skills, judgement, and experience.2 The most popular types of teams are cross-functional and self-managed teams.
Effective managers demonstrate team leadership. As defined by William G. Dyer, “Team leadership is the welding of individuals of diverse backgrounds, experience, and personalities into a productive working group.”3
What is a Team?
A team is essentially a group of two or more individuals who work together to attain a common goal. The two major elements of teams are interdependence and shared goals. In the words of Glen M. Parker, “A team is a group of people with a high degree of interdependence geared toward the achievement of a goal or completion of a task.”4
Benefits of Teamwork
Types of Organizational Teams
10 Distinctive Attributes of a Productive Team
Trust: A Key to Team Effectiveness
Teamwork is greatly dependent on trust. As stated by Dale E. Zand, trust is the key to establishing productive interpersonal relationships.7 Trust is essentially a belief in the integrity, character, or ability of others. The key dimensions of trust are integrity, competence, predictability (consistency), loyalty, and openness. Managers play a critical role in creating a climate of mutual trust.
10 Tips on Building Trust
12 Guidelines on Building Effective Teams
1. Cited in Robert Kreitner, Management, 7th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), p. 308
2. Cited in Stephen P. Robbins, Organizational Behavior, 9th ed. (Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2001), p. 257.
3. Cited in William D. Hitt, The Leader-Manager: Guidelines for Action (Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Press, 1988), p. 68.
4. Glen M. Parker, Team Players and Teamwork: The New Competitive Business Strategy (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990), p. 16.
5. Dave Francis and Don Young, Improving Work Groups: A Practical Manual for Team Building (San Diego, California: Pfeiffer & Co., 1992), p. 47.
7. Cited in Kreitner, Management, p. 437.
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