A work team is a small group of employees who constantly interact and coordinate their efforts to achieve a common goal.
The frequency of interaction between team members and a fairly long period of «life» determine their significant differences both from temporary groups (committees) for decision-making and from project teams in matrix structures.
In the event that the members of the work team are aware of common goals, show responsibility and enthusiasm, and support each other’s efforts, we can speak of teamwork.
Achieving this high level of interaction requires a supportive work environment, people with the necessary skills to perform teamwork, a challenging goal, and team rewards.
Types of work team
The 4 types of work teams that are most frequently found in organizations:
- Problem Solving Teams – Groups of 5 to 12 employees from the same department who meet for several hours a week to discuss ways to improve quality, efficiency, and the work environment. In these teams, team members share ideas with each other and make suggestions to improve workflows. However, teams of this type are rarely empowered to independently and unilaterally implement the proposals they have formed.
- Self- Managed Teams – Groups of 10 to 15 employees performing interrelated and interdependent activities. These groups are themselves responsible for what their former leader was responsible for: planning and distribution of tasks among the participants, collective control, and working with suppliers and customers. As a result, the importance of the coordinating position (chief, supervisor) is rapidly diminishing, and ultimately this position may be abolished.
- Cross- functional teams – Groups of employees of roughly the same hierarchical level, but from different functional areas, who come together to solve any problem. A cross-functional team is an effective vehicle for allowing people from different areas of the company (or even across companies) to exchange information, generate new ideas and solve problems, and coordinate complex projects. However, managing such a team is not easy due to the diversity of experience, responsibilities and functional tasks, thinking and vision of the team members.
- Virtual Teams – Associations of people who are physically distant from each other, have a common goal, and use computer technology to communicate and interact with each other. The main differences between virtual and real teams are: 1) the absence of paraverbal signals (voice volume, intonation, pauses) and non-verbal signals (facial expressions, gestures, body movements).
STAGES TO FORM A WORK TEAM
The process of converting multiple employees performing interrelated work tasks into a single team involves going through several stages:
- Training. Team members exchange information, get to know and accept each other, formulate group tasks. The aura of courtesy prevails, the relations of group members are distinguished by caution.
- Confusion. Group members compete for higher status, for relative influence, and discuss directions of development. The group is experiencing external pressures; quite tense relations develop between its members.
- Rationing. The group begins a joint movement towards common goals, a balance of competing forces is established and group norms are established that determine the behavior of its members, the cooperation of team members becomes more and more effective.
- End of work. The group is entering a stage of maturity, it is capable of solving the most complex problems, each of its members plays various functional roles.
- Dispersion. Sooner or later, the most successful groups, committees, and project teams dissolve, the intense social relationships of their members gradually fading away.
The main conditions for effective work team include:
Fostering a supportive external environment means that management provides all possible assistance to work groups in formulating common goals.
It is also essential to allocate the necessary time for teamwork and show faith in the abilities of team members.
Qualifications and a clear understanding of the roles performed.
Team members must have the necessary qualifications and a willingness to participate in the work process together. But teamwork assumes that each of them is clearly aware of the roles of all members of the group. The team then acts according to the situation, without waiting for orders from above.
One of the main tasks of the company’s management is to keep the team members on the path that leads to the achievement of a common goal.
Each team must have a super task, or its highest goal, the pursuit of which unites the efforts of the employees, which can be achieved when both the group and the company’s management bear its “burden.”
One of the main incentives for teamwork is material and moral reward, which must be valuable to group members, perceived as deserved, and encourage employees to complete common tasks.
The management of the organization must find a balance between rewarding and rewarding the initiative of each employee and encouraging their increase in their contribution to the success of the organization.
Work team problems
Since teamwork is complex and dynamic, the group is highly sensitive to all aspects of the organizational environment.
Team efficiency grows slowly and can crash almost instantly. Unjustified changes in team composition and employee transfers have a very negative effect on team performance indicators.
Often, in teams, there are problems of rejection by employees of a deviation from the classic forms of leadership, since real participation in management requires a very significant additional investment of time on their part.
The problems that arise in the management of the equipment reduce labor productivity, for which the management is forced to carefully analyze the feasibility of using them in a specific situation, for which it is convenient to assess the tasks proposed, the qualification of the employees , time and price restrictions.