At Pinnacle Performance we are dedicated to ensuring we help; people, teams and organisations to achieve their goals.  These articles will give you the knowledge you need to develop sustainable and winning teams.  

These articles will be particularly helpful for; Teachers, Lecturers, Training Providers, owners of businesses or students who needs help in studying; Public Service, Business Studies, ILM, CIPD or Leadership qualifications.  

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Click on the links below to find out information on the following areas: 

When Is It Better To Use Individuals Or Groups As Opposed To Teamwork

Benefits And Costs Of Teams 

Stages Of Team Development

Types of Teams 

 How To Avoid Team Failure

Team Size

Group Development And Group Dynamics

How To Improve Your Team Membership Skills

When Is It Better to Use Individuals Or Groups As Opposed To Team Work? 

There is not always a need to develop fully cohesive team, where individual or group work has greater benefits.

The need to evolve to teamwork will be in response to internal or and external drivers and from the need for greater benefits weighted against the cost and weaknesses.

To help you understand whether individual group or team approaches would be beneficial I have listed the relative advantages/benefits and weaknesses of each approach.

Individual Working:

Best used for work, which is not complicated, has short processes, is within the ability of one person to perform and does not require a variety of inputs.

Benefit/Strengths:

Independence, flexibility, freedom, no personality clashes and total knowledge of task.

Weaknesses:

No one to turn to for help, advice and support.

No exposure to new ideas.

Working individually sometimes creates a sense of isolation.

Group working:

Best used for more complicated tasks where lots of processes exist and the skills, efforts and ideas of more than one person are needed to complete the task. Where small numbers (2-3) exist within the group

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members’ work quite efficiently as groups as individual work is easily accountable.

Benefit/Strengths - of group work to the company and individual:

Easier to develop than teams as group work is a more natural process. Only need to carry out basic teambuilding to start to see benefits over individual working. Easy to spot individual talent: the highly competitive group environments allow those with more ability to shine over less able members, this situation is possibly encouraged by competitive appraisal systems.

Shared Experience and Knowledge: The pooled experience, skills and knowledge found in a group make it possible to complete more difficult tasks. Information about tasks may be broken down into separate areas of responsibility, which are easily managed. The group will work within roles, processes, procedures and targets given by the management. In a group, if members are willing, it is possible to call on the expertise and help of colleagues and knowledge may be shared.

Idea Generation: The group environment necessitates members talking about the task. Ideas are generated as a result and this should encourage future involvement if members are willing to listen to each other.

Support and Encouragement: Group encouragement and support from team members may motivate individual members to try to achieve more than they would by themselves.

Weakness:

Groups can be challenging when you have different personalities in them. Stronger personalities can dominate conversation and form cliques. This situation will exclude less confident members or stifle idea generation and help available.

Failure may e seen as the responsibility of individuals not the group.

Less flexible than individual working.

In highly competitive, fast moving economic conditions or crisis

situations less effective than cohesive teams.

Less cohesion and open communication than team working.

More competition between members for position or power, cliques can form, blame culture can exist and there is more risk of misinformation.

Risk of high turnover from members who do not perform well in less supportive and developmental environments.

Team working:

Best used for tasks where complicated processes exist and the skills, efforts and ideas of all members are needed to complete the task. In addition, highly competitive or dangerous environments will require a more coordinated and cohesive effort than groups can provide.

Benefit/Strengths - of team work to the company and individual:

Teams have all the above advantages but in they are developed to a higher degree. Clear and accepted rules of behavior, procedure, protocol exist that can be developed to meet evolving environments. Members report higher motivation levels from belonging to the more challenging supportive and developmental conditions found in teams.

Cohesive teams achieve more than the sum of their parts due to the greater motivation, effort and mutual support. Help employees feel empowered through greater ownership and control of their work. There is also a continual drive to improve their working relationships and processes.

Shared Experience and Knowledge: In a team, members are trained and expected to draw on the expertise of other members. As a result knowledge is shared willingly and individual skills are developed quicker as a result. Members are cross trained and multi skilled to help share ideas and support more effectively. Teams increase the need for regular contact and reliance on each other. This leads to deeper individual understanding, which develops individual understanding and motivation. Teams increase individual creativity through shared ownership of task or goal.

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Teams will; share experience from training courses, training to cover each other’s role and jointly solve problems.

Idea Generation: The team environment encourages members to talk, plan and improve allocated tasks. This expectation and encouragement generates ideas from all members. More interconnected working leads to more effective communication between members. Greater levels of creativity and risk taking are encouraged because of the more supportive environment.

Support and Encouragement: The team environment trains and expects all members to encourage and support each other in the event of difficulty. This situation drives individual members to try to achieve more than they would by themselves. Clear roles, processes, procedures, targets are developed and owned by the team. Less rivalry between members, support and encouragement leads to higher motivation and sense of belonging than group working. Team environments that are supportive develop more commitment and confidence in each other. Failure is seen as a lesson and expected. The team jointly owns failure and success. Team conditions lead to less absenteeism and decrease in turnover.

Reduction of Alienation: Increased levels of open communication allow for a deeper understanding of each team member. Team culture and norms will ensure everyone is valued, trusted, treated fairly and knows what is expected of him.

Implementing Change: Open communication, shared problem solving and clear goals help teams to; evaluate any proposed changes, explore how to implement change and accept change.

Identification of Talent: Teams use increased group work to expose hidden talent within all members. Teams use psychometric tools to identify people abilities more effectively and toughly than groups.

Weakness:

Training will need to be invested in the team to encourage them to work in new ways confidently.

Team building takes time encouragement and effort form all parties.

Different reward systems and appraisal systems need to be put in place for team development to be encouraged. 

The Benefits And Costs of Teams 

Benefits - of team work to the company and individual:

Clear and accepted rules of behavior, procedure, protocol exist that can be developed to meet evolving environments.   Members report higher motivation levels from belonging to the more challenging supportive and developmental conditions found in teams.

Cohesive teams achieve more than the sum of their parts due to the greater motivation, effort and mutual support.  Help employees feel empowered through greater ownership and control of their work.  There is also a continual drive to improve their working relationships and processes.

Shared Experience and Knowledge:  In a team, members are trained and expected to draw on the expertise of other members.  As a result knowledge is shared willingly and individual skills are developed quicker as a result.  Members are cross trained and multi skilled to help share ideas and support more effectively.  Teams increase the need for regular contact and reliance on each other.  This leads to deeper individual understanding, which develops individual understanding and motivation.  Teams increase individual creativity through shared ownership of task or goal.  Teams will; share experience from training courses, training to cover each other’s role and jointly solve problems.

Idea Generation:  The team environment encourages members to talk, plan and improve allocated tasks.  This expectation and encouragement generates ideas from all members.  More interconnected working leads to more effective communication between members.  Greater levels of creativity and risk taking are encouraged because of the more supportive environment.

Support and Encouragement:  The team environment trains and expects all members to encourage and support each other in the event of difficulty.  This situation drives individual members to try to achieve more than they would by themselves.  Clear roles, processes, procedures, targets are developed and owned by the team.  Less rivalry between members, support and encouragement leads to higher motivation and sense of belonging than group working.  Team environments that are supportive develop more commitment and confidence in each other.  Failure is seen as a lesson and expected. The team jointly owns failure and success.  Team conditions lead to less absenteeism and decrease in turnover.

Reduction of Alienation:  Increased levels of open communication allow for a deeper understanding of each team member.  Team culture and norms will ensure everyone is valued, trusted, treated fairly and knows what is expected of him.

Implementing Change:  Open communication, shared problem solving and clear goals help teams to; evaluate any proposed changes, explore how to implement change and accept change.

Identification of Talent:  Teams use increased group work to expose hidden talent within all members.  Teams use psychometric tools to identify people abilities more effectively and toughly than groups.

Costs:

Unfortunately these benefits cannot be achieved without an effective organisational leadership which supports teams through; encouragement, training, empowerment and appropriate resource. 

Training will need to be invested in the team to encourage them to work in new ways confidently. 

Team building takes time encouragement and effort form all parties. 

Different reward systems and appraisal systems need to be put in place for team development to be encouraged.

 

Stages Of Team Development (Bruce Tuckman 1965 & 1977)

Bruce W Tuckman is an educational psychologist looked at the behaviour of small groups in a variety of environments and recognised four stages of group development in 1965. He suggested that, groups needed to experience all four stages before they achieve maximum effectiveness. This is a really helpful theory in understanding why team behave the way they do when the are affected by change.

The real value of his theory is in recognising where a group is in the process, and how it can progress into the Performing Stage.

The other valuable lesson is realising groups and teams will experience changes which, could move them to a higher or lower stage. Leaders need to preempt changes and help the group recover as quickly as possible.

To help you after each stage I have highlight what leaders and teams can do to recover ground and progress to the next stage.

For example when the introduction of a new member forces the team back into Storming when they were at the Norming or Performing Stage. An induction process explaining the culture, protocols, processes and aims followed by team introductions should reduce the upset and interruption to normality for all parties

Forming - orientation stage

The group starts to work together as number of individuals but with no clear purpose. They then begin to develop some form of agreement, but individual roles and responsibilities are not defined and their purpose and objectives may not be clear.

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Members may feel anxious and uncomfortable and members behaviour is driven by a desire to be accepted by the others, and avoid serious issues.

Members will gather information about each other and their environment exploring the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. They will begin to communicate about individual likes and dislikes, about the task and how to approach it.
Members will be striving to determine their individual role with the team and how they compare with others.

The following points highlight what leaders and teams can do to progress to the next stage:

  • Outline the task the team has to complete
  • Identify each person’s role in the task by identifying peoples strengths and weaknesses
  • Encourage each team member to perform well
  • Ensure that the team form a set of rules and guidelines •Decide how they are going to give feedback on each other’s performance.
  • The style of leadership could be autocratic if the situation demands. You need to provide positive and constructive direction during this stage.

Storming or conflict stage

The group begin to exchange ideas how to approach the task, but there is little clarity. Members will only remain nice to each other for so long, cliques and factions may form, some people's patience will run out and confrontations will arise. Members may “jockey” for position and communication will be poor, conflicts may begin. These may relate to the work of the group itself, or with roles and responsibilities within the group.

Some members will welcome this conflict thinking, it's good to be getting into the real issues, whilst others will not be comfortable with it.

The following points highlight what leaders and teams can do to stabilise and move to the next stage:

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  • Depending on the culture of the organisation and individuals, the conflict will need to be faced and dealt with so as not to resurface.
  • Look at improving structure if necessary re-negotiate roles, responsibilities and modify rules (norms) to prevent the conflict persisting.
  • Encourage conflict to be managed constructively. Hold meetings with those concerned.
  • Leaders will need to focus members’ attention on goals and targets.
  • The style of leadership could be autocratic when needed and provide positive and constructive direction. A calm approach is essential, to keep the atmosphere workable.

Normng or cohesion stage

As the group evolve, they become established, and the team's tasks or responsibilities are clear and agreed. The team is calm and focused on the goal; members accept the team, its "rules of protocols, norms and their individual role within the team.

Members understand each other better, and can appreciate each other's skills, experience, strengths and weaknesses. Members start to listen to and support each other. The team works cooperatively, begins to share ideas and is a willing to confront issues and solve problems in a constructive way. Members feel they're part of a team and a leadership hierarchy emerges.

However, there is always the possibility that the team will revert to the previous stage.

The following points highlight what leaders and teams can do to progress to the next stage:

  • Encourage conflict to be managed constructively.
  • Focus members’ attention on goals and targets.
  • Facilitate and enable members to do job.
  • The style of leadership should be diplomatic and discuss. You need to provide positive and constructive direction. Your job is to facilitate, encourage rather than direct the team.
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Performing stage

Not all groups can reach and maintain this stage, which is characterised by interdependence, flexibility, trust, effective performance, high productivity, a belief in the importance of team goals over personal goals and efficient working practices.

Everyone knows each other and is able to work well together trusting each other to carry out their independent jobs. Everyone makes best possible contribution to the team effort. Loyalty to the team members, identity, aims and morale are high. Everyone is equally task, team and member orientated.

Team members really concentrate on the team goals; there is a good deal of sharing of experiences, feelings and ideas. Team members have a clear understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. A clear organised pattern of work is established based on mutual respect, the sharing of ideas and proposals from all team members.

However, because of the difficulty in maintaining this level of expertise cut to constantly changing environments there is a high probability that the possibility that the team will revert to the previous stage.

The following points highlight what leaders and teams can do to progress to the next stage:

  • Encourage conflict to be managed constructively.
  • Focus members’ attention on goals and targets.
  • Facilitate and enable members to do job.
  • Encourage team member development and promotion
  • Encourage team to take responsibility of target setting and performance
  • Delegate jobs.
  • The style of leadership could be diplomatic, facilitate or delegate. You need to provide positive and constructive direction. You should celebrate the success of the team.

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Adjourning or dispersal stage

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This stage is entered as the team complete the purpose they were engaged to complete. The team disbands to move on to new things. Individuals will be proud of what they have achieved and will be glad to have been part of a cohesive team.

Leaders and teams need to recognise what they have achieved and be willing to move on. Some feel a sense of loss felt by the parting and may not be happy.

The style of leadership should be honest and facilitative.

I hope you have found this brief insight into developing the right size of team informative.

Want more detail? my e- book “Effective Team Leadership Skills” is available for download. 


                                                                Team Size -

                              What Is The Right Number Of Members To Have In A Team? 


Have you a choice over team size? 

Is your team too big or small? 

These are difficult questions to answer because optimum size depends on lots of factors including:

• Purpose and function of the team

• Team, roles that the team members have and the cohesiveness that is necessary to do the task

• Activities of the team and the area of operation

From experience and study, the optimum team size for tightly knit cohesive teams to form is 3-12 members. Where large projects and lengthy operations is necessary the optimal team size may be many hundreds of members, but in these numbers individuals find it difficult to form cohesive teams.

In many cases the formation of teams is already decided and the ability to increase or decrease numbers depends on lots of factors. If however, you are in the position where you need to form a new team then this article will be of interest to you. So if this is the case what sized team should you form? The answer to this question is to weigh up the relative advantages of the larger and smaller teams and decide which best fits the role of the new team.

Smaller teams

As I have already said, team size should be related to the task and its complexity, in my opinion where teams are established to deal with narrow, specialist roles and smaller tasking they should ideally contain fewer than 10 members.

Advantages of smaller teams:

Spend more time with each other, interact more easily and gain a greater sense of their commitment, work more efficiently and cohesively. Agreements are more easily reached

Have a clear awareness of the teams efforts, progress, each members’ strengths and weaknesses. There is less re-alignment of effort needed

Have a greater chance to be more cohesive and find it easier to discuss and communicate in general. Less drift and distortion of communication makes small teams more effective

Have less need for regulation or administration and can therefore spend more time on task and be more reactive to situations in work

Drawbacks of small teams:

Teams are very dependent on a few peoples ability to do the job, if individuals fail there is little to fall back on
    Have little internal documentation or procedure that is produced, and what is, is only understood by
                                                                    the original author

                                            The team has a hard time replacing team members

                           Small teams are limited in the size of projects or task they can attempt

                                      It is harder to learn from mistakes and generate ideas

    Examples can be found in:

    • Ambulance Crews where teams of two deal with emergency calls

    • RAF Station Technical Teams where up to five personnel work on maintaining complex computer equipment

    • Army catering teams where up to seven personnel prepare the food for hundreds of soldiers 

    • Royal Marines Unarmed Combat Display Teams of up to 10 personnel who provide displays to aid recruiting

    Large teams

    Are best established to deal with large complex tasks consisting of lots of elements. Usually these and other factors such as history have taken control in the development of large teams.

    The advantages of larger teams:


    Greater experience is normally available within the team


    Greater ability to manage increases in demand for service or diversification


    The workload can be more evenly distributed according to members strengths and weaknesses


    Staffing levels can be matched more closely to demand


    High overhead costs such as utilities, rent, and telecommunications equipment can be dramatically reduced if large teams are in the same location


    Supervision requirements can also be reduced


    Drawbacks of large teams:


    Large Teams are less resilient to fast or unplanned changes


    Large Team environments require a sophisticated level of skill to manage

                                                                       and work in successfully

                                                 Individuals will find it difficult to form cohesive teams

    Thought has to be put in to the control of behaviour and effort to keep the team working efficiently and cohesively. As a result more regulation, discipline, checks and balances need to exist in larger teams

    Examples can be found in:

    • A large Multi National organization for example TESCO which operates in different markets around the world

    • A military Task Force established to deal with a threat to UK security this would consist of: Royal Naval, Royal Air Force and British Army elements

    • City of London Police Economic Crime Department consists of: Fraud Squad, Cheque and Credit Card, Unit, Money Laundering Investigation Unit, Fraud Desk, Financial Intelligence Development Team

    • Police Operational Support Service consists of: Road Policing Group, Tactical Support Group, Firearms Support Group, Mounted Section, Dog Training Section, Underwater Search Unit and Air Support Unit


    The key point to remember is to keep the team as small as possible.  Where teams become too large, split them into smaller more manageable teams with elements of control in- between.


    I hope you have found this brief insight into developing the right size of team informative.

    Want more detail? my e- book “Effective Team Leadership Skills” is available for download.

    Types Of Teams

     

    Teams exist at all levels in the world of work; most teams are identified by their role. They are usually formed to meet the individual requirements of tasks. As a result they develop specific characteristics that help define them. This article lists the common the types of teams that are found, examines their characteristics and lists examples where the team operates: 

    Sports - A team sport is an activity in which a group of individuals, on the same team, work together to accomplish a win against the opposition. For example: football, teams mountaineering teams baseball teams, basketball teams and rugby teams. 

    Organization or Work – This is the most common team type, formed where team members work together on tasks under a leader to achieve a common goal. These are permanent teams who share a common mission and collectively manage their own affairs within pre-defined boundaries and team norms. Most of the times the members manage and direct themselves independently. The team leader will brief, direct and update members on the team aims and targets. For example: Police Constables on shifts who respond and react to calls from the public, a team of Teachers in a History Department, a team of Accountants. 

    Self Managed - Self Managed Teams consist of individuals who work together for a common purpose but without the supervision of any leader. Members must respect each other to take their own responsibility. Individuals act on their own initiative. For example: A group of nurses in a doctor’s practice who all have equal status and shared responsibilities in completing the task. 

    Permanent - work together all the time, as a result know each other well, they use this knowledge to help them achieve task. The allocate roles based on strengths and suitability to task. These teams are not dissolved once the task is accomplished they always function through out the year and hence are permanent teams. They can be set in their ways and be bound by history or etiquette; therefore they may be show to react to change. Members’ feelings and task completion are of concern because of the length of time spent together. For example: Army Regiments, Watches in the Fire & Rescue Service, Human Resources, Operations or Administration teams in a business. 

    Temporary - Unlike permanent teams, temporary teams loose their importance, once the task is accomplished. Such teams are usually created for a specific project, to assist the permanent team or to deal with an excess of work. Members do not tend to know each other well this can effect speed of achieving aim. They are not bound by etiquette can evolve faster to changes than permanent teams. Completion of task is the main concern. For example: Gold Command for flood disaster response (Police, Fire, MRT, Met Office, NHS) working together to deal with disaster once the disaster is over the team disbands. 

    Formal – Teams created for specific purpose they have defined structures, procedures and roles. Teams are monitored to ensure they achieve the objectives set. They are bound by etiquette, established rules, norms and history. These are not flexible in the way tasks are managed and little creativity is allowed. For example: Police Traffic Teams dealing with traffic problems. RAF Police Dog Teams to provide assistance in search and arrest. Army Catering Teams to provide food. RAF Mountain Rescue Teams to locate aircraft crashes and assist in Search And Rescue. 

    Informal – Less structured teams, roles can be interchangeable and the team is flexible, goals are less defined allowing for creativity in the way they approach the task. Members tend to be volunteer for these roles and enjoy working in these teams because it represents a change from more formal teams. For example: Charity event teams established within recruit training and Best Practice Working Groups finding solutions to work problems. 

    Project – These are temporary teams used for a defined purpose; as soon as this is achieved they disband. They are usually made of specialists and controlled by project manager. Members are borrowed from permanent teams because they have skills that the project needs. They are less structured than formal teams, roles can be interchangeable based on members’ skills, the team is allowed flexibility in its approach and goals are less defined allowing for creativity. The aim of the project is the main concern. The project team may be full or part – time. For example: A number of police forces providing manpower to form a task force to solve a murder enquiry. A team of experts (Police, Fire & Rescue, Met Office, Local NHS Trust) joining together to look at the problems experienced with freak weather patterns. Project teams introducing new working procedures, or items of new technology into service eg “Airwaves” radio system in police service. 

    Cross Functional Team - Individuals from different areas or functions who work together for a common objective to. In such teams, people from different areas, interests come together to successfully complete a task. These are similar to project teams. However, they are more permanent, working on longer term projects. For example: Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships which are a combination of police, local authorities and other agencies who work together to implement strategies for tackling crime. 

    Geographical – this is a team that restricts its operation within a geographical area. The task is limited to that area and members are mainly recruited from the same area. For example: South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service or Sheffield County Council. 

    Divisional, Departmental or Sectional – These teams are sub sets of larger teams they are usually permanent and specialised in their work, skills or areas of operation. For example: an Army Armoured Division, Reconnaissance Section or a Local Health Department within a council. 

    Multi-disciplinary – Teams which use different skills in order to carry out the task. They are bound by procedures and how members interact is usually critical to the completion of the task. They are usually enjoyable places to work because of the vision of other members’ roles and sharing of best practice. For example: An Aircraft Servicing Team contains members with responsibilities for electrical, radar, airframes and refuelling systems. 

    Inter- service or Multi-agency - (multiple public services working together) These are temporary teams that work independently of each other but rely on each working toward the same aim. For example: When there has been a Major Incident such as Flooding to a residential area there will be a coordinated Response by the Coastguard, Royal Air Force, Navy, Police, Fire & Rescue and Mountain Rescue Teams to control and return the situation to normal. 

    Interdependent - These are permanent specialist teams which need the help of all members to accomplish the task. Members usually have interchangeable roles and accompany each other for support. The tasking is as important as relationships and members benefit from knowing and trusting in one another. There is a good knowledge of the strengths of each member and individual tasking within the team can reflect this. For example: A number of fire engines and their crews working to put out a large blaze, rescue civilians and deal with a chemical hazard. 

    Independent - These are permanent teams where each member performs their own role and only their role. They may offer advice or support to colleagues but ultimately work by them self's. For example: A paramedic going to an incident and dealing with a patient. 

    Advisory -These are temporary teams who are responsible for providing support and guidance on a task. They often have part time members who are loaned to other teams because of the specialist skills or knowledge they possess. For example: A Forensic Officer or Fire Investigator loaned to the Police to help solve a case. 

    Task Force - Such teams are formed for a special purpose of working on any specific project or finding a solution to a very critical problem. The government generally appoints special teams to investigate critical issues like bomb blasts, terrorist attacks and so on. The task force contains more than one service or organization joined for the duration of the task. For example: Royal Navy Task Force sent to a war zone. A task force set up to eliminate excessive government spending. 

    Committee – These teams are generally formed to work on a particular assignment either permanently or on a temporary basis. Individuals with common interests, more or less from the same background, attitude and come together on a common platform to form a committee. The members work together to successfully accomplish the task. For example: Committees, who organize an event, raise funds or Health and Safety Committees. 

    Virtual Teams - Virtual teams consist of individuals who are separated by distances and connected through computer. Here individuals communicate with each other online through the internet but all work for a common objective. The communication is totally digital through the internet. Such teams are helpful when employees need to connect with each other and are located at different places. For example: Social networking sites such as facebook or international Interest groups. 

    The key point to remember is there are lots of different types of teams, each with its own characteristics. Individuals need to work in teams that suite their individual ways of working. 

    I hope you have found this brief insight into the different types of teams and their characteristics. Want more detail? my e- book “Effective Team Leadership Skills” is available for download.  

    Group Development And Group Dynamics

     Group Development and Group Dynamics

    Working as part of a team is an integral aspect of sport, business and any performance environment (education, military and performing arts). If we can function effectively as  team then we will maximise our chances of winning and being successful.

    The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” - Aristotle

    The difference between a group and a team is the interaction between the members of the team who depend on each other to achieve the goals they collectively have. A group will interact with each and communicate over a period of time to develop a collective identity that is different from other groups.

    So a group could be a supporters group of a football team and a team could be any sports team.

    Teams can be further split into Interactive and Coactive teams. These are:

    Interactive teams require members to work directly to achieve success.

    Coactive teams achieve success in their respective events/games to achieve overall success.

    Steiners model of group effectiveness

    Steiner proposed a model to demonstrate group effectiveness. If you are involved with a team you can highlight actual productivity against potential productivity against things that can reduce and inhibit group effectiveness.

    So the Steiner’s model looks like this:

    Actual productivity = potential productivity – losses due faulty group processes

    Potential Productivity refers to a team’s best performance when everything in the team is taken into account (e.g. player’s ability, knowledge and skill as well as how difficult the task is) (Weinberg and Gould, 2007).

    “The abilities of individual team members do not always serve as good predictors of how a team will perform” - Weinberg and Gould (2007)

    Faulty group processes can be further spilt in Group Motivational losses where team members may not be putting in 100% effort or Coordination losses where timing between team mates is off or tactics or strategies are inappropriate.

    Ringelman Effect

    The Ringelman effect suggests that as group size increases, the individual productivity of the people within the group decreases. As a result Social Loafing can occur where people may not put in 100% effort in because the group size is big and they feel they can hide away.

    Reference

    Weinberg, R. and Gould, D. (2007)  Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology (4th Ed.).  Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.

    How To Avoid Team Failure

    Despite the best of intentions teams due to various reasons fail. This article examines the five common reasons teams fail and points out how to avoid these problems. Help your teams to succeed by encouraging them to develop these five categories:

    Team members don't understand the business environment they operate in.

    Induction and constant communication is vital in order to ensure members understand the business structure, location of workplaces, work protocols and the challenges experienced by the business.

    Teams are unclear of the reasons behind goals and targets.

    Setting goals and targets without team participation causes a lack of ownership and commitment. Teams need to be clear about the individual targets they are expected to achieve and understand how their efforts fit in with the rest of the team in achieving goals.

    Teams are unclear or confused over roles and responsibilities.

    Roles and responsibilities of teams need to be defined and understood to increase surety of role and commitment. Team roles need to be trained and practiced to ensure members are confident in performing their roles . Teams need to invest in constant training and seek to improve how they carry out their role.

    Processes and procedures are not efficient or clear and team members have little control of resources.

    Processes and procedures need clarification and rehearsal for teams to use them efficiently. Sufficient resources need to be available. Team members need autonomy to control resources.

    Poor relations exist between team leader and members. 

    Trusting relationships need to exist at all levels in the team. Discipline and respect need to be expected and practiced. Teams need congratulations when they achieve targets. Good morale needs to be encouraged. Conflict needs to be managed appropriately. Managers and leaders need to be even handed with all team members. 


    The key point to remember is to pay attention to your teams and never assume things are going fine.  Always check with everyone that they feel they have the resource and support they need to do the task you have set them.

    I hope you have found this brief insight into avoiding team failure informative.

    Want more detail? my e- book “Effective Team Leadership Skills” is available for download.  

     How To Improve Your Team Membership Skills

     I believe work should be enjoyable for everyone, but for that to be a reality all members need to develop a good set of team working skills. As you become more practiced in these your confidence will improve, you will win the respect and admiration of your team and look ready for promotion.

    Creating A Positive Work Environment

    A lot of people at work have an “us and them attitude” or they have sides and cliques. This attitude cannot exist in cohesive teams. The first step in creating positive environments is to feel part of the wider team and appreciate all points of view. Positive environments also benefit from developing a team image, making people want to belong and feel part of something that is special. In the same way developing a supportive work environment by helping each other when problems occur helps build a positive environment. Where solutions are found or where learning takes place if this is shared with the team development is also encouraged. All the above suggestions rely on team members accepting and encouraging communication and developing trusting relationships to build more positive environments.

    Controlling Your Behaviour And Reactions

    The challenge if you are to create a positive work environment is to control your behaviour in a way that other team members want to interact with you. To do this practice the following:

    Consider how your expressions, behaviour and body language affect others.

    Be civil, honest and respectful.

    In difficult situations aim to deal with other people in a professional manner.

    Keep an open mind and do not judge others.

    Say things directly, simply and openly.

    Have sense of humour and have fun but not at someone else’s expense.

      Allow other to express their thoughts, perspectives, and feelings. Displaying this behaviour consistently increases the chance of others doing the same. Eventually this will turn into an agreed positive Code Of Conduct.  

      Knowing How To Do The Job

      One of the biggest frustrations and hindrances to teamwork is having an unclear job role. To be effective you need to know your; terms of reference, responsibilities, targets, 

      resources available and deadlines. You also need to be clear on the methods to use to carry out the task, the standards expected and what results you will be accountable for. 

      If roles and expectations are not clear then you need to ask team leaders to make it clear. This effort will be rewarded with clarity of purpose and lack of confusion, which is a motivational factor for team members.

      Ensuring An Appropriate Relationship With The Leader

      If you wait for the leader to earn your respect you may stand out as distant, untrustworthy and reticent. This is not a beneficial light to be seen in, you need to be proactive, respectful and trusting for you to gain a reciprocal effect from the leader. It is always beneficial to be seen as loyal, reliable in meeting goals and professional in performing tasks to increase your promotion prospects. You will be able to strengthen this relationship further, if you communicate using tact, honesty and seek opinion at appropriate times.

      Knowing Pour Personal Profile And That Of Your Team

      Developing your personal profile involves understanding your strengths, weaknesses motivations and how you fit in the people in your team. Finding this information out will help you:

      Identify your areas for development.

      Plan to develop weaknesses.

      Choose the right tasks which suite your skills.

      Achieve balance in the team.

      The whole process involves answering honest questions about all areas of your work life. The process can be made even more effective if you identify your motivations and develop a team motivation profile. There are many physiological tools on the market such as Belbin Team Roles that can help you do this.

      This process will help you to be happier and more productive by identifying areas of work that suite your individual motivations and skills.

      I hope you have found this brief insight into developing cohesive teams through effective team skills revealing. Want more detail? my e- book “Effective Team Skills” is available for download.