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Understanding Team Role in an Organisation

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Teams are important because they can achieve more than any other individual can achieve. Working in a team enable us to understand different aspect of every individual. Abilities like skills, personality and traits is no similarity. Be it small, medium or large sized organization, working in the team gives good results. Working in a team requires a person to enact and lead the team. This role requires a person who is clear in his or her thoughts, attitudes and actions. The person needs to perform the role clearly with the clear objective and work together for the team. This gives an appeal to members to perform efficiently and effectively. This does not guarantee success, as each member behavior are different. Every team member strength and weakness must be identified to work in the team. Diverse skills, personality, and behaviors must be aligned properly to achieve a common goal. Each member role describes the way he or she behaves, contributes to and interacts with other team members, this can be seen in the workplace and within a team. Working in the team not only means performing together but also sharing, caring and understanding each other. This develops a sense of expectations and adds trust among the team. As behaviors keep changing so do performance also changes.

Depending on the situation and environmental factors. Performance of the team keeps changing, at times it would be par and may be below average. This may happen due to poor decision making or due to the poor performance of team members. In such cases, it is essential to understand the team dynamics and communicate the same to team members. Over time, working in the team may develop a sense of maturity and develop an aspirational attitude to follow a new role. This can be in terms of changing a new team or pursuing new habits to become a new leader. This often happens quite naturally, because of experience, or as per the situational demands. You may also choose to focus on a role that you would like to try. While developing such actions keeping your team informed about your intentions gives a positive remark about your performance and actions. Modern corporations are often defined by matrix structures, a trend that has emerged in response to the need for leaner organizations. The objective is to avoid duplicate roles and unnecessary costs.

According to Dr. Meredith Belbin definition of a team, a role is as “a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way” and he named nine team roles which are given below. Work teams have been formed in many organisations (Devine et al. 1999; Ilgen 1999) to improve productivity and worker satisfaction (Banker et al. 1996; Cohen and Ledford 1994). The roles within such teams promote team cohesion and responsibility (Mudrack and Farrell 1995) foster positive interdependence and individual accountability (Brush 1998) and stimulate members awareness of the overall group performance and of each member’s contribution (Strijbos et al, 2004). For these reasons, roles are a fundamental element of teams (Hackman 1990). Indeed, many researchers have noted the importance of team roles (Cf. Hackman 1987; McGrath 1984; Sundstrom et al. 1990). In teams, group discussions are important to social activities. Miller (1978) claimed that groups should be perceived as systems in which individual interact. Social interactions and communication plays a vital. Roles have been conceptually defined as clusters of relationship or goal oriented behaviors (Belbin 1981, 1993; Forsyth 1990; Stewart et al, 2005), suggesting that the first problem is a gap between the conceptual definitions and the operational definitions.

A series of behaviors may be expressed by the same person with a particular intention. Therefore, we should try to understand not individual behaviors but rather a person’s series of behaviors, which reflect his or her role and intent. Benne and Sheats (1948) grouped 27 roles into three broader categories: Task roles, Maintenance roles and individual roles. Mumford et al. (2006) classified 10 unique roles into three categories: Task category, social category and boundary spanning roles. Many studies on leadership behaviour after the 1950s have consistently identified just two role categories: Task and socioemotion (Bass 1981; Fisher et al. 1998). This two-factor structure has been empirically supported (Forsyth 1990; Hare 1974); however, a universally accepted taxonomy of team roles does not yet exist (Stewart et al. 2005). A simple structure of two categories based solely on function is insufficient for classifying the various team roles. The structure is one dimensional, as demonstrated by the fact that, for example, Leadership roles and membership roles remain undifferentiated in this system. Even in the 1940’s Benne and Sheats (1948) noted that role studies have unduly emphasized leaders, and this overemphasis remains even today (e.g Morgeson et al. 2010). Although Benne and Sheats added “individual roles” as membership roles, almost all these roles were non- contributively and selfish.

Team work in India A team is a cluster of individuals working together to attain a mutual goal. Cluster of individuals doesn’t essentially mean a team. Team involves people with natural talent, skills, abilities and a coordinated effort that enables each member to maximize their strengths and reduce their weakness. Naresh Jain (2009) claims: Team members need to learn how to help one another, help other team members realize their true potential, and create an environment that allows everyone to go beyond his or her limitations. Teams can be broken down into from a huge team or one big group of people, even if these smaller secondary teams are temporary. A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members. While academic research on teams and teamwork has grown consistently and has shown a sharp increase over the past recent 40 years, the societal diffusion of teams and teamwork followed a volatile trend in the 20th century.

The concept was introduced in business in the late 20th century, which was followed by a popularization of the concept of forming teams. Differing opinions exist on the efficacy of this new management. Some see “team” as a 04-letter word: overused and under-useful. Others see it as a panacea that realizes the human relation movement desire to integrate what that movement perceives as best for workers and as best for managers. Still others believe in the effectiveness of teams, but also see them as dangerous because of the potential for exploiting workers — in that team effectiveness can rely on friends and friend’s surveillance. However, Hackman argued that team effectiveness should not be viewed only in terms of performance. While performance is an important outcome, a truly effective team will contribute to the personal well-being and adaptive growth of its members.

Team size, Composition and Formation Team size and team composition affect team processes and team outcomes. The optimal size (and composition) of teams is debated and will vary depending on the task at hand. At least one study of problem-solving in groups showed an optimal size of groups at four members. Other works estimate the optimal size between 5-12 members or several members that can consume two pizzas. The following extract is taken from Chong (2007). The interest in teams gained momentum in the 1980s with the publication of Belbin’s (1981) work on successful teams.

The research into teams and teamwork followed two lines of inquiry. Writers such as Belbin (1981, 1993), Woodcock (1989), Margerison and McCann (1990), Davis et al. (1992), Parker (1990), and Spencer and Pruss (1992) focused on team roles and how these affected team performances. These studies suggested that team performance was a function of the number and type of roles team members played. The number of roles for optimal performance varied from 15 (Davis et al., 1992) to four (Parker, 1990). This variation has been attributed to how roles were defined. Lindgren (1997) believed that, in a social psychological sense, ‘roles’ were behaviours one exhibited within the constraints assigned by the outside world to one’s occupational position e.g. leader, manager, supervisor, worker etc.

Personality traits, on the other hand, were internally driven and relatively stable over time and across situations. These traits affected behavioural patterns in predictable ways (Pervin, 1989) and, in varying degrees, become part of the ‘role’ definition as well. The other line of inquiry focused on measuring the ‘effectiveness’ of teams. Writers such as Deihl and Stroebe (1987), Gersik (1988), Evenden and Anderson (1992), Furnham et al. (1993), Cohen and Ledford (1994) and Katzenbach (1998) were concerned with high performing teams and the objective measurement of their effectiveness. McFadzean (2002) believed that the appearance of a number of models of team effectiveness was indicative of a variety of variables such as personality, group size, work norms, status relationships, group structure etc. that can impact on team ‘effectiveness’ and its measurement.

David Cooperider suggests that the larger the group, the better. This is because a larger group can address concerns of the whole system. So, while a large team may be ineffective at performing a given task, Cooperider says that the relevance of that task should be considered, because determining whether the team is effective first requires identifying what needs to be accomplished. Regarding composition, all teams will have an element of homogeneity and heterogeneity. The more homogeneous the group, the more cohesive it will be. The more heterogeneous the group, the greater the differences in perspective and increased potential for creativity, but also the greater potential for conflict. Team members normally have different roles, like team leader and agents. Large teams can divide into sub teams according to need.

Many teams go through a life-cycle of stages, identified by Bruce Tuckman as: Forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Types Of teams Interdependent and Independent Interdependent teams A rugby team provides a clear example of an interdependent team: No task can be achieved without the help and cooperation of every member. Specializing in different task. The achievement of each member is connected to the success of the whole team. Every all-rounder member is dependent and has never won by paying alone. Independent teams On the other hand, a track and field team is a classic example of an independent team: Students solving maths sums equations. Professionals like Doctors, lawyers and teachers are all individual contributors and wok independently. Though they must be helping each other – perhaps by providing advice or practice time, by providing moral support. These we can say are independent teams.

Coaching differences between interdependent and independent teams Coaching team like a football team necessarily requires a different approach and a gymnastics team requires different approach. Because both games involve costs and benefits and intrinsic incentives differs accordingly. Interdependent teams respond well to collective rewards and independent teams perform better with individual rewards. Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary Teams in areas of work or study such as in the medical field, may be multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary. Multidisciplinary teams involve several professionals who independently treat various issues a patient may have, focusing on the issues in which they specialise. The problems that are being treated may or may not relate to other issues being addressed by individual team members. The interdisciplinary team approach involves all members of the team working together towards the same goal. In an interdisciplinary team approach, members of the core team will often role-blend, taking on tasks usually filled by people in different roles on the team.

Cross functional team It is a bunch of masses with different functions like finance, marketing, operations and Human resource come together for a common goal. This also includes suppliers, customers and stake holders. It often functions as self-directed teams dispensed to a specific task that involves inputs from various departments. This not only increases the level of creativity but also alternative opinions to various problems and potential solutions. In todays world to have competitive advantage is a must and cross functional team provides that. Members of cross functional team are concluded with multitasking and simultaneously responsible for day to day activities. Cross functional team can be viewed as competitive in nature and critical also which affects firms performance. Such teams can be seen in board of directors of a company. A group of individuals from different backgrounds and disciplines are coming together in an efficient manner to provide solution of organisation problems. Some organizations are created keeping in view of cross functional workflows creating a pipeline of working managers.

Most team-building frameworks assume that you get to cherry-pick members and set the direction and tone from day one. But leaders usually don’t have that luxury; they must work with the people they inherit. Leaders who are taking over and transforming a team need guidance on how to navigate the transition and improve performance. Here’s a three-step model that works: First, assess the people you’ve got and the dynamics at play. Second, reshape the team’s membership, sense of purpose and direction, operating model, and behaviors according to the business challenges you face. Third, accelerate the team’s development by scoring some early wins.

A study by Pearce and Sims (2002), published in Group Dynamics, found that shared leadership is a useful predictor of team effectiveness. Other research suggests shared leadership can also lead to greater team interaction, increased collaboration and coordination, as well as novel and more innovative solutions. But while co-leadership can be energizing and rewarding, if the relationship isn’t strong, the arrangement can easily become draining and frustrating. Whether we are recruited or promoted into a role to lead with someone else, we start a new project or venture with a chosen partner, or we actively bring someone on board to lead alongside us, co- leadership is a skill that most of us need to strengthen. There are several keys to making co-leadership effective, enjoyable and sustainable: Divide role and responsibilities but share ownership of the goal. Co leadership affects multiple people. Taking ownership both in case of failures and success. Open to renegotiating your roles based on situations and leadership capacity It’s likely you personally have the greatest impact on your co- leader’s experience of work.

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