Ingredients of Effective Teams

  1. Supportive Environment
    Teamwork is most likely to develop when management builds a supportive environment for it. Creating such an environment involves encouraging members to think like a team, providing adequate time for meetings, and starting faith in member’s capacity to achieve. Supportive measures such as these help the group take the necessary first steps towards teamwork. Since these steps contribute to further co-operation, trust and compatibility, supervisors need to develop an organizational culture that builds these conditions.
  2. Skills and Role Clarity
    Team members must be reasonably qualified to perform their jobs and have the desire to co-operate. Beyond these requirements, members can work together as a team only after all the members of the group know the roles of all the others with whom they will be interacting. When this understanding exists, members can act immediately as a team on the basis of the requirements of that situations, without waiting for someone to give an order. In other words, team members respond voluntarily to the demands of the job and take appropriate actions to accomplish team goals. An example is a hospital surgical team, whose all members respond to a crisis during an operation. Their mutual recognition of the emergency alerts them to the need for simultaneous action and co-ordinated response. Each knows what the others can do, and trusts them to perform capably. The result is a highly efficient level of co-operation characteristic of a team. If one member of a surgical team fails to perform in the right way at the right time, a person’s life may be endangered. In more ordinary work situations, a life may not be in danger, but product quality or customer service may suffer by the failure of just one member. All the members are needed for effective teamwork.
  3. Super-ordinate Goals
    A major responsibility of mangers is to try to keep the team members oriented towards their overall task. Sometimes, unfortunately, an organization’s policies, record keeping requirements, and reward systems may fragment individual efforts and discourage teamwork. A district supervisor for a petroleum company tells the effect on sales representatives of below-quota reports: Sales representatives are expected to make quotas in their individual territories in the same way that the Eastern district as a whole is expected to make its quota in certain products – or e.g.. Motor oil. It is a known practice for some of the sales representatives in the field to delay a delivery in their territories until the next month, if they already have their quotas made. The focus of the sales representatives is on their on quotas. not on the district quota. Any sales representative who is below quota in a product for a month must report the reason for the reduction. A sales representative who makes a large sale of several hundred gallons of motor oil to a customer knows that the next month the customer may not buy any oil, causing the representative to be below quota that month and to have to file a report. The supervisor in the case just described might consider the creation of a superordinate goal, which is a higher goal that integrates the efforts of two or more persons. Super- ordinate goals can be attained only if all parties carry their quota. Such goals serve to focus attention, unity efforts and stimulate cohesive teams.
  4. Team Rewards
    Another element that can stimulate teamwork is the presence of team rewards. These may he financial, or they may be in the form of recognition. Rewards are most powerful if they are valued by the team members, perceived as possible to earn and administered contingent on the group’s task performance. In addition, organizations need to achieve a careful balance between encouraging and rewarding individual initiative and growth and stimulating full contributions to team success. Innovative (non-financial) team rewards for responsible behaviour may include the authority to select new members of the group, make recommendations regarding a supervisor, or propose discipline for team members.
Read More Topics
Organizational behaviour models
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