“When teams work, there’s nothing like them for turbo charging productivityforget all the swooning over teams for a moment. Listen carefully and you’ll sense a growing unease, a worry that these things are more hassle than their fan let on-that they might even turn around and bite youthe most common trouble with teams: Many companies rush out and form the wrong kind for the job.”(Dumaine, pg. 1)An effective team is the most productive force in an organization. The potential of the team is greater than the sum of its independent parts. Although teams are a common management strategy, it is important to recognize that not all situations are suited to the team approach. A team is best used when there is a situation that calls for a fix of a complex issue, and when there is no one person with all the expertise needed to solve the problem.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that the definition of a Team is, “A number of persons associated together in work or activity: as a: a group on one side.” (Morse & Mish, 2003) In Tools for Teams they define team as; “A group of people who are interdependent with respect to information resources and skills and who seek to combine their efforts to achieve a common goal.”(Thompson, Aranda &, Robbins, 2000, pgs. 9-10 chap. 1) In a team, members are fully committed to a common goal and mission they have developed, members are accountable to each other, and members all share in the leadership.
Teams have become popular because they tend to produce quality solutions. If team members have a vested interest on a solution, the project is more likely to be implemented as planned. Peer pressure often makes team members more accountable than if they performed alone. Also being a member of a team benefits the individual by giving them an opportunity to learn from the other members.
Teams may also present problems; the team rivalry. Everyone thinks that their specific task is the primary objective. The overall task can then become drastically delayed and progress reduced. This slows down the team’s effectiveness.
Teams are mostly task oriented; members often fail to make time to examine how to team on the whole operates. As a result, negative, non-productive behaviors, and attitudes come into play and have an adverse effect on the team’s productivity.
Types of Teams Organizations
There are four types of team organizations. Manage-led, this is the most common type of team organization. In the manage-led team, there is only one leader; leadership is not shared. They define the goals and function of the team. The advantage of this team is that the defined goals are managed by one person and the only task that the team has is to execute the goals that are outlined by the manager. This team is very efficient because everything is outlined for them and they know what their expectations are. There is also a very low start-up cost with this type of organization. The only disadvantage to this team is that everyone in the team must conform to the manager. There is no democracy; whatever the manager says goes. Morale can be low at times and member can turn on the manager. (Thompson et al., 2000, p. 15 chap. 1) This is the type of team that I am in. I like this type of organization because I am the type of person that likes to have defined goals. Everything is spelled out for me and I know what is expected.
Self-managing team or self-regulating is another type of organization. There is only one manager or leader and they decided the focus or goal of the team and then team manage themselves but must achieve the goal according to the outline of what the manager wants. There are many pluses to this type of organization. For one there is more loyalty because people have more freedom to express themselves, and there is higher morale. The disadvantage is that it is harder to asses the progress of the team and less control. It might also take longer to achieve the final goal because of the freedom issue. (Thompson et al., 2000, pg. 16 chap. 1)
Self-directing or self-designing is the third type team organization. They determine their own goals and how to achieve them. The only part that a manager plays is the organizational contexts. The advantage of this type of organization is that this team has the most potential for innovation, morale, and motivation. The disadvantage of this team is that there is a high start up cost and there is a big potential for conflict. The progress is near impossible to monitor and there is a possibility of loathing and slacking. (Thompson et al., 2000, pgs.16-17 chap. 1)
Self-governing team is the fourth organizational team. They are the ones that execute the goals; they manage their own performance process. They are the ones that give the guidelines for they come up with the organizational context. The control and responsibilities are well defined and are taken to the extreme. This team organization requires total commitment and full participation. The major disadvantage of this type of organization is that it is at the greatest risk of misdirection because they call all the shots. (Thompson et al., 2000, pgs. 17-18 chap. 1)
Types of Teams
There are three types of teams that most organizations use. Work teams, task teams, and management teams. Each has its specific task and takes care and attention to become successful. The first team that I am going to talk about is the work team.
Problems and Solutions
Various problems can upset team dynamics. It is virtually impossible to predict every potential problem, and even if we could, it would be just as impossible to anticipate every solution. Here are some problems that typically occur with a team; and some suggested solutions.
1.Problem-some members dominate.
Solution- assign them to take notes.
2.Problem-there is side conversation.
Solution-ask those members to tell the team what they are discussing.
3.Problem-non-participating team members.
Solution-ask them for their input.
4.Problem-too much rambling.
Solution-follow the meeting agenda more closely.
5.Problem-people loathing or slacking.
Solution-publicly call attention to each person’s responsibility.
6.Problem-members not doing what were assigned.
Solution-assign those people to non-critical tasks.
Solutions-explain how it hurts the team, have a mediator, or have them problem individual(s) removed from the team.
Clemmer, J. (). Matching Team Types and Focus. Retrieved May 20, 2003, http://www.clemmer.net
Dumaine, B. (). The Trouble with Teams. Retrieved May 20, 2003,
Morse, J. ; Mish, F. C. (2003, 2003). Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, Online, Retrieved May 19, 2003, http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary
Thompson, L. Aranda, E. ; Robbins, S. P. (2000). What is a Team? In C. Swenson (Ed.), Tools for Teams (Special Edition ed., pp. 9-10). Boston, MA. Pearson Custom Publishing.