Teamwork Case Study Essay Sample
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Teamwork Case Study Essay Sample
People are not generally solitary beings; people often associate in groups and teams in and outside of work. This can be for many reasons; here are some of the principal reasons why groups are formed:
* To satisfy social needs for love and belonging
* To establish relationships
* To gain recognition as a member of an identifiable group
* To exert influence, either within the group , or as a group on outside events or circumstances
* To gain help in carrying out objectives
* To share in an activity
In the workplace, teams are often formed to complete a task or project. Although there can be other groups in a business which are less formalised, and some may take on a permanent aspect. For example, DC Foods work together everyday as a team in which each member contributes to the overall work of the department. Each member of the team is constantly reporting directly back to different area managers. DC Foods believe that; “Working Together is important, the work of the finance department is essential to the efficient running of the company. We rely on each other for information, and for the support in the work we do. If we didn’t pull together as a team, none of us could carry out our function.”
There are several reasons why a business may organise their staff into teams. Working as a team can be a motivator with every member having support as teams are formed to undertake tasks and procedures which cannot be successfully undertaken by one person alone. Teams can also increase commitment as people in a group are likely to feel a commitment to that group and want to work for the success of the group. Many teams are organised to complete a certain project, as the workforce will contain people with a range of sills and experience, and the team can be managed more easily and effectively than individuals doing their own thing and working alone. Teams also make it easier for a business to disseminate information to all employees.
How Teams are formed
Teams go through a fairly defined pattern of development. There are 4 main stages to team formation; Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. I will discuss these stages in more detail:
The team members come together as a collection of individuals. At the outset, there is likely to be some discussion of the objectives and composition of the group. At this stage and members begin to establish their roles within the team, to seek recognition and position.
Conflict between group members can occur in the early stages of team formation as members’ personal agenda come to the fore. There is often a degree of jostling for position within the group. During this storming phase team objectives and roles identified during the forming stage are refined. The division of roles within the group becomes established.
The team attempts to establish norms and standards of behaviour and practice. Some team members may “test the water” to see how far they can get away with not conforming to team norms.
A team can only be fully effective when the team has come through the pervious stages-of forming, storming and norming, successfully! At this stage, a team will have fully developed its approach to achieving is objectives. It now needs to deliver results.
These are the main stages, although there is a fifth stage; adjourning. This is the final stage, where the group separates. Although this could have previously happened if members had left for other reasons, such as conflict.
Generally, team members fall into 2 main categories: Leaders and followers. However, within these 2 broad categories, there are many other roles that members fulfil which are essential to the successful performance of the team. R M Belbin has developed a computer program to identify 9 basic roles which must be fulfilled for a group to be fully effective. I have completed and attached a copy of Belbin’s questionnaire and placed it in the appendix. The questionnaire showed me that my role in a team is a chairman whose role in the team is to welcome and treat all members of the team equally, and to understand and ensure the team understands the objectives at hand. This surprised me, as I would think that my role would be something more of a team worker, as I wouldn’t particularly consider myself as a leader. A team workers role is to respond to the people and situations and promote a sense of team spirit.
The other role Belbin believes make up a team are a completer finisher, who has their mind set on the task and perfects to finish it. A monitor evaluator monitors other members’ progress and passes judgement throughout the team. A resource investigator is extroverted and enthusiastic, explores new ideas and responds well to a challenge. The Plant member of the team is imaginative, knowledgeable and serious, whereas the shaper is highly strung, outgoing and dynamic. The company worker is conservative and predictable, being able to organise well and work hard with self discipline. As I mentioned earlier, when working in a team I feel most comfortable working as a team member, as I don’t enjoy leading or delegating the tasks.
I have to work in teams regularly throughout both school and work. In school, there have been times where I have worked as a team to prepare a presentation or complete a project. When working as a team, I play the role of the ‘Team Member’, and let another member delegate the tasks. Although, I do become frustrated if the work isn’t being complete or no decisions are being made, and then I will to delegate tasks so that progress is being made.
So although I see myself in a role, I will at times depending on the circumstances take on other roles, which challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone. I am sure this must be the same in all environments so it is important to maintain some flexibility when using Belbin’s Model.
Benefits of working within a team
An organisation will enjoy significant benefits if the team is well-structured.
* Boosts Morale- The social interaction between team members will make individuals feel part of a close-knit circle. Membership of a well-structured team, particularly if individuals have been chosen for certain roles, will make workers feel they are playing an integral part of the whole process and have the confidence that they can influence decision making. This will boost the individuals’ self esteem and motivation; meaning good results for the organisation.
* Mutual Support- Members of an effective team will have an understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and will give each other support where needed. This means that there will be minimal competition between team members, as there will be a good understanding of the destructive effect that internal conflict will have on the teams’ performance. This creates a good working environment for the individual who will feel comfortable about asking for help from other members of the team. The business will also benefit as there will be fewer issues and conflict to be presented to management, as the team is likely to have already discussed any problems and propose potential solutions alone.
* Team Accountability- In many team projects, the short-term objectives are likely to have been set by the whole team itself. As a result, individuals in that team will feel ownership of the goals and targets. They will see failure to meet those as a whole-team failure, rather than 1 individual failing. This will motivate the individuals as they will be more confident to work, and feel less pressure if they know they are working together.
* Reduced Supervision- As mentioned earlier, the setting up of its goals by the team itself will mean the team will feel ownership of them and strive to achieve them. Furthermore, individuals will have a good understating of the importance of their own contribution. Individuals within a well-structured team will be self-motivated and will need minimal supervision. This clearly is an advantage to management, whilst at the same time raising the self-esteem and feeling of personal fulfilment amongst individual employees.
For Example, at RWE npower, teamwork is essential for effective decision-making. RWE npower is an integrated energy company. It is the third largest supplier of electricity and gas in the UK, through its npower brand, and one of the largest electricity generators. Groups of engineers with different skills come together to shed light on problems and issues and to come up with improvements. In a team there will be engineers with different technical knowledge and experience. These will include mechanical, electrical and civil engineers, and computer specialists.
Teamwork involves good communication skills, particularly the ability to listen to others’ ideas. Being able to identify the route cause of the problem and understand the symptoms is essential. Working in teams creates a buzz of excitement.
Engineers enjoy solving problems. They like to be creative. Working together allows them to bounce ideas off each other. Some of the solutions RWE npower engineers have come up with have saved the company millions of pounds.
Limitations of Teamwork
* Conflicts can Arise- As there will be many different types of people with different ideas and opinions in the team , conflicts can arise which can cause the work to be incomplete, team members leaving, and more time spent resolving problems rather than working. I can relate to this problem, as when working in a team in school to compete a presentation, there was a lot of conflict about who wanted to do what part, and everyone not wanting to do certain parts such as talking in the presentation. This caused us to fall behind in the work as we were not discussing the project at hand, but more what we didn’t / did want to do! If I had to do a task I didn’t really want to do, motivation was effected, as I became de-motivated and didn’t want to work as hard to achieve it, as I wasn’t enjoying it.
* Planning can be difficult- It can take a lot of time to plan the structure and the size correctly of team, as the roles of each person need to be worked out, and the size of the team needs to be right, which can take a lot of time, without even having started the project. For Example, In Belbin’s model he identifies 9 different roles which are needed to create an effective team. It would take time researching these roles and finding people who fit them exactly. Also , if there are less than 9 people , they will have to fit into more than 1 role.
* Communication needs to be Co-ordinated- Members of the team will all have different schedules, and especially in a large team, it can make it difficult to contact and arrange meetings which everyone can attend to. Also, quieter members in the team need the chance to speak, and without the right balance of personalities, some members of the team may not be able to communicate and get their point across. I can also relate to this, as when working to complete the project at school, we found that we didn’t have a lot of time to meet up out of lessons as we all had different schedules, and this caused problems as it resulted in us all doing the same bits of work, as we weren’t communicating and getting regular updates.
* Imbalance of tasks- Some team members may cause competition and be after different things, such as recognition or promotion, and may take on a heavier work load. In some cases this can be good, as it ensures the project will be complete, but they have to make sure they have been realistic with the amount of work taken on. Also, lazier members of the team may not do as much as the others which will lead to the team being de-motivated with conflict arising, and feel de-valued in the team.
Theories of Effective Teamwork
I am now going to look at 4 management theorists whose work on teamwork has been significant, and explain how their ideas can affect the approach of businesses to the management of human resources.
The first theorist I will look at is Belbin.
Dr Meredith Belbin defined a role in a team as;
“A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.”
Belbin’s research shows us that there are 9 types of behaviours or team roles which are naturally taken on by various personality types found among the people at work. These are shown in the table below.
As shown below, Belbin identified 3 personality groups:
* Action Orientated- People who like to get on with thing and enjoy seeing projects through to completion.
* People Orientated- People who aware of their actions towards others and have good communication skills.
* Cerebral- The definition of cerebral is; “relating to the mind”. People who are cerebral are less likely to be affected by emotions and will understand he requirements of the task at hand.
While everybody is likely to show characteristics of all these groups, Belbin suggests that most people will predominately fall into 1 particular group. Within these groups, Belbin then identified 3 personality types all of whom are needed for a successful team.
Action Orientated Roles
People Orientated Roles
SHAPER-Enjoys pressure and a challenge. Is able to overcome obstacles
CO-ORDINATOR- A good chairperson, identifies goals and encourages
PLANT- Creative, imaginative, solves problems
IMPLEMENTER- Reliable and efficient. Enjoys seeing things through
TEAMWORKER- Avoids conflict, co-operative, good listener
MONITOR EVALUATOR- Sees the whole picture, judges accurately.
COMPLETER FINISHER- keeps to schedule and pays attention.
RESOUCE INVESTIGATOR- Seeks out opportunities and contacts. Enthusiastic.
SPECIALIST- Self-motivated and self minded. Has the relevant skills for the project.
The accurate categorising of individuals against these team roles and ensuring representation of all job types within the team is critical in success of any management or work team.
Organisations, who want to carry out Belbins’ theory, can carry out a behavioural test, to assess what type of role each fits into. This will ensure there is a balance between roles in the team. A behavioural test, which would usually be in he form of a questionnaire, measures the way the person behaves in numerous situations. Tests can be self-assessment or may be completed by an observer. Once the results are analysed, a team can be set up with the ideal mix.
People are unlikely to change between categories, as their roles are based on personality, not job roles. Businesses which are frequently changing the structure of their teams, perhaps to design different marketing strategies, or fulfil different projects, may therefore find it difficult to apply Belbin’s theory unless they have a large number of people to move around. Small workforces would only have a limited number of behavioural types with the knowledge and skill required for the job.
I will now discuss the managerial theory of The Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid.
Team leader ship styles are examined through the ideas of Robert R Blake and Janse S Mouton. The Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid (shown below) plots leadership style along 2 axes. The attitudes of an individual manager towards people and towards the task are assessed on a scale of 0-9 on each axis.
* ‘Concern for Task,’ is scored from 0-9 along the horizontal axis.
* ‘Concern for People’ is scored from 0-9 along on the vertical axis.
Most people’s style of leadership will be plotted around the middle of the 2 axes. Blake & Mouton’s Team ‘Leader Type’ was their perception of the most appropriate style for managing teams. The Team Leader scores 9, 9 on the scale and shows commitment both to the task and to the people he/she is leading.
However, no two businesses situations are the same and team’s behaviour will differ under different styles. The table opposite also shows 3 other extreme types of roles.
1.) Country Club Style; which are generally not perceived as being appropriate for a team leader. As, they have a high concern for people, but a low concern for production and although the atmosphere is friendly there will be low production and profit.
2.) Impoverished; Managers have low concern for both their employees and production. Managers use this style to avoid getting in to trouble as their main concern is not to be held responsible for anything, which results in less innovative decisions.
3.) Produce or Perish; With a high concern for production and a low concern for people, these managers find employee needs unimportant. Managers using this style also pressure their employees through rules and punishments to achieve company goals. This would lead to employee de-motivation. This is similar to McGregor’s Theory X manager as its an autocratic style leader. Although , there is a time and place for this type of leader, for example , in the army or police force.
I have also researched, Adair’s Action-Centre red Leadership Model. John Adair’s Model, identifies 3 functions for a leader-
1. Achieving the task- setting aims, identifying resources, planning, reporting, and reviewing.
2. Managing the team- Setting the standards of behaviour and work, maintaining discipline, boosting morale, keeping the communication between the team.
3. Managing individuals- Giving Support, training, praise, responsibility, status, opportunities to reach potential.
Adair believes an effective team leader has to achieve these functions-
* Controlling- Monitor progress, Identify reporting schedules.
* Supporting- Monitor and maintain discipline, Resolve conflict, Assess/ Change balance of the group, give recognition and praise, Identify training needs.
* Evaluating- Review, re-assess and adjust plans, methods and targets
* Planning- Set time line; determine strategies and tactics establish individual responsibilities.
* Information- Report on progress, Give feedback. Seek Feedback.
* Initiating- Define the Task, Identify aims and objectives of group.
Many organisations make use of Adair’s concepts and practical philosophy as the foundation of their leadership development; including the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Police Service and so on. This leadership style will be successful in these industries as it is expected to be led under a very autocratic leader. However this style of management would not be successful in other industries such as retail or office work as employees would be highly de-motivated by an authoritarian leader.
And Finally, I have studied the theory of McGregor.
McGregor believes that there are 2 types of management styles, which he has put into the 2 categories of the Theory Y manager, and the Theory X manager.
He argued that the Theory X manager believes that:
* Employees are essentially lay and will avoid work if left to their own devices
* Workers need to be closely supervised and directed, and threatened with punishments
* Employees will show little ambition and dislike responsibility
* Workers dislike work and are only motivated by money
This shows that Theory X managers are likely to conduct the autocratic leadership style.
Alternatively, the Theory Y managers tend to take a more human relations view on employees. They argue that many factors, not just money can motivate workers.
McGregor argued that the Theory Y manager believes:
* Employees are ambitious and self-motivated
* Workers are anxious to accept greater responsibility and are able to exercise self-control
* Workers enjoy work and will be imaginative
* Workers want to be trusted
* Workers can organise themselves
* Workers should be awarded properly
Theory Y managers will develop a democratic leadership style.
Some argue that successful teams will be led by theory Y managers, who follow a democratic leadership style; allowing involvement in decision making, and assuming that employees will be self-motivated and give opportunities for creativity and imaginative output. This management style would help to lead an effective team as it will motivate the employees, giving them a sense of responsibility and recognition.
An example of when management has de-motivated its staff is at Principality. The leadership was originally Autocratic, which caused a lot of employees to leave the company. However, the new chief executive is a democratic leader who is less traditional in his approach and has turned the company into a far more moden, informal culture. This resulted in the return of employees who had previously left the company to work with competitors.
Factors which affect Performance
If a team is going to be successful it needs to consider the following 5 factors:
o Quality of Team Members
o The Stage Of development
o The Task
o Leadership Style
The optimum size of a team is 3-7 members. I am going to talk about the advantages and problems which both a small team or large team can create.
o A small team means that is easier to talk to each other and share ideas, so that everyone’s opinion is heard, in comparison to a large team where people will be fighting for the chance to speak , and may not have time for their idea to be heard.
o A team with less members means that it’s easier to arrange meetings as there will be less people to fit one schedule around, and have one time where everyone is able to attend.
o It will also be easier to communicate after the meetings are held as there will only be a small number of other people to talk to.
o The meetings will also tend to be more motivating as the leader can afford to use a more democratic/laissez faire style of leadership as there are less people to control, and the meeting will have a more relaxed, informal atmosphere.
o The drawback of being in a small team is that the task ahead may not be completed as quickly, as there is more for each member to do individually. Although, this can be an advantage as individuals will have a variety of tasks to complete, rather than just sticking to one job and being bore/de-motivated. The extra pressure from having more work can also be motivating for some people as they will be motivated to complete the task, knowing that they have a deadline, rather than just working at a slow pace for months. To overcome these disadvantages, the team chairperson would have to ensure that deadlines are checked regularly so that progress is in place, frequent meetings can be held to discuss any problems that have occurred and assistance can be given to each other on tasks when deadlines are fast approaching.
o A team with many members means that there are more people to get things done, meaning the task could be completed faster, with the work load spread between everyone, as long as the team is organised.
o In a large team, there is also more brainstorming, with lots of ideas to be heard, which should mean meetings will be more innovative and successful. Although, it can be hard to interact in a large team as there are so many voices to be heard, and there may not be time for your opinion or, louder members of the group may over power the other members.
o There can also be a lot of competition between members in a large team, as they will be fighting for the best roles, for their opinions to be heard and could have hidden agendas e.g. promotions; again causing conflict.
o In a large team there will be many different types of people and personalities clashes and this can cause conflict between the team members, and it will be difficult to carry out relevant tasks such as delegating roles, and it will make it very hard to come to a final decision on anything.
o Because of this, a large team will need an autocratic leader who ensures everyone has the time to talk; making the meetings more formal which could de-motivate the team members if they are intimidated or uncomfortable in this kind of situation.
The Qualities of the Team Members
The group needs to contain team members who are able to complete the task set. They must have all the relevant skills needed to complete the project ahead.
If the team members have similar personalities and attitudes then the team will have stability and work harmoniously. Whereas, if there are personality clashes in the team and there are differing attitudes and behaviours it will cause conflict , and make the task ahead much harder to complete. Although , the benefit of having different ideas and attitudes is that more alternative ideas and opinions are explored which could create a better final result , rather than people who all have the same ideas and agree , and are unable to brainstorm.
Everyone in the team must harbour the same objectives, and these need to be known to the group to avoid conflict, as members of the team may have hidden agendas and try to out perform other members and work harder towards promotions, or fight for the managers’ attention etc. And, finally everyone in the team must give equal commitment to avoid conflict, so everyone feels they are giving equal contributions and have equal amounts of work to complete.
The 5 Stages of Development
Throughout the life of a team 5 stages are progressed through:
1. Forming – Team members need to come together and establish the task ahead and the individuals’ roles within the team, this could cause conflict if individuals are left with roles they don’t want to do and will de-motivate them on the task ahead.
2. Storming- This is the time to resolve and conflicts between team members, and establish where any changes need to be made within the team, this will motivate individuals again if they are now given a role they want to do, and will motivate the team to the task ahead.
3. Norming- This is when standards are set and the team establish what they expect as the standards of behaviour and practice. Although, this could cause conflict within the team if some members decide to ‘test the water’, and see how much they can get away with.
4. Performing- At this stage the team should now be working together effectively and achieving their objectives, which will be motivating for everyone, and means they will get the task completed!
5. Adjourning- This is the final stage; the disbanding of the group when the task is complete. Although, this could happen when team members leave because of various reasons such as conflict, this would de-motivate the team if they have more work to do as individuals, although it can also motivate if a team member who caused the conflict leaves and harmony is reunited.
There are 4 key aspects of The Task which can affect the team’s performance.
o Clear Objectives must be established at the beginning of the group , this is very important to the performance of the team , to ensure that they’re all working towards the same goal, and so that no conflicts are caused, if objectives are set up in the first instance.
o Criteria of Success must be established so that everyone knows the standards which they must work to, and what they will achieve at the end, this will motivate the staff to work hard and complete the task.
o The importance of the task must be known in the team because if they know their task is important they will all work hard and be motivated to complete the task and do a good job, whereas if they thought the project was of low importance, they wouldn’t bother to work as hard.
o The Timescale of the task must be known to all the team, as having a deadline which they will work to will motivate the team to complete the project on time. This needs to be realistic as if it is considered unachievable at the outset the team will be de-motivated from the start. The leader needs to negotiate his with the management so that team members feel that they can work successfully within the timescales.
Leadership styles may also affect performance, and I have researched into 4 of these to examine the impact they may have on the team.
An autocratic leader expects total obedience and allocates all the tasks for the team to complete. Instructions should never be questioned and there should never be any discussion or argument on the rules set. The advantage of this for a team is that individuals will feel that if anything goes wrong they don’t have to take responsibility as they were told exactly what to do in the tasks. Although, the individuals will feel undervalued in the team, as if their opinion doesn’t count, and meetings will be very formal which could be uncomfortable; de-motivating the team. This leadership style can also generate an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture which can hinder productivity.
This is similar to Autocratic leadership style. Leaders still expect complete control and dictate to its workers what tasks need to be done, which again can de motivate in some cases. Although, unlike autocratic, there will be concern for the social and physical needs of the team members, which will make the staff feel more valued, therefore are highly motivated. However, when there is concern for each individual worker; inconsistencies arise which can cause competition, envy and bad feeling between the workforce, affecting teamwork and performance.
The setting of tasks and objectives is reached by majority consensus where, the leader will consult individuals to find out their opinion. The leader’s skill is to obtain the best information and try to keep the dissenting voices on board. This will improve motivation and good feeling within the organisation, as the team will feel some power of responsibility and recognition. However, this could also affect teamwork and performance as it can lead to some team members forming groups which do not agree with the objectives and tasks set, causing a lot of conflict. These groups are more likely to form in democratic work places as employees are allowed to make their own choices and decisions , and have their own opinions , unlike an autocratic environment.
The Laissez Faire leader will allow staff to develop their own ideas and follow them where they wish to go, but overall the leader will still manage their decisions. The leader must be able to allow the team members to follow their own direction and ensure everyone is pulling in the same direction, and if managed will, this can be very productive for the organisation as team members will be well motivated, work together, and feel as if they have some power/ responsibility. Although, some members who are unable to be self motivated will lose direction.
In my opinion, I believe that a democratic leader is the most effective style of leadership, as it means the employer has a good relationship with employees as well as still having power to ensure that production targets are met. This type of environment would make staff motivated as they would be more happy at work rather than in an autocratic environment, which is very strict. Although , this type of management style can be effective in different circumstances such as the army, which needs strict orders and powerful leaders.
In order to highlight the importance of teamwork within an organisation, I have completed a case study on a team building weekend for the company; Torrey Miller plc. (Attached in the appendix)
Team work is important in companies such as Torrey Miller Plc, as it establishes relationships between employees and employees feel satisfied and needed. Teams are also important so that members can help each other when fulfilling objectives and to exert influence on each other or onto other groups. Team building weekends such as the one carried out in this company, are advantageous to everyone, as they break down the barriers and positions of power with all employees and new roles are established. Managers may not be as good at the task, as their employee, so roles, such as ones set in theories from Belbin, will be reallocated, and it gives everyone a chance to see each other on the same level.
During the weekend, the team will go through the same formation as when teams are formed in the workplace. Firstly the forming stage, when everyone comes together and gets into their groups. Storming, when there is firstly conflict if an individual is unable to carry out the task and needs help. Then, norming, where they work together and they establish what they must do in order to overcome the obstacle. Then, finally, performing, where they are working together and achieving their objectives. Good relationships will be formed which would not normally have been possible within their normal working environment as they would not have had the contact to allow them to be established.
This will improve motivation which means good results for the company, as everyone will show a more positive attitude to work. Employees, such as Katrina in this case study, shouldn’t have negative attitude towards the team building weekend. However she has quite a powerful position in the company and she doesn’t want to lose her managerial status. She initially feels that the weekend will be unprofessional and ‘playing’ which is not suitable between herself and work colleagues. Although, when she actually goes on the weekend she realises that its fun and she learned a lot from her colleagues and has firmed new relationships.
At the company The Principality, fun activities and nights out are used successfully to bring the employees closer together. Social events are highly encouraged within the company. It erodes the barriers which exist within the hierarchy of managers and employees, meaning they can communicate on the same level which is not always possible in the workplace. New bonds are forged and people become more accessible to each other as a result which means greater co-operation and teamwork.
Activities such as dance groups and tasks unrelated to work are held to show the different sides of peoples; and to show the different skills that they have which wouldn’t be achieved in the confines of their job. This will indicate characteristics which could be developed in a work scenario and lead to promotion prospects.
The atmosphere of the work place is also changed when fundraising and charity events are held, such as Dress Down Day, Halloween and Easter Bonnet Parade. This would make the work place more relaxed and fun, and make everyone more motivated if they have occasional days like this which take a break from the normal routine. It allows management the opportunity to integrate more with their staff and to build on the relationships that have already been fostered.
As I work in a retail environment in o2, I constantly have to work as part of a team. We work as team to achieve our targets as a store, and to get simple tasks done such as cleaning at the end of the day where we all have a task to do, such as cashing up, mopping etc.
We especially worked as a team, on the release day of the Iphone. We all had our separate roles, which we had trained for in advance to be done on the day. I was ‘Till Hero’, and was operating the tills for the night while other members had roles such as Concierge and Business As Usual. To understand what roles we had , and what we must achieve, beforehand we had a meeting. The manager is democratic, and although is laid back, he can still delegate well. He also allows us to give our own inputs into the meetings. The meeting was actually very informal which made everyone feel relaxed; as we were allowed to wear ordinary clothes and snacks were provided.
The advantage of us working in a team was that all the tasks were completed efficiently rather than one person trying to do everything at once. The drawback was that as you were in charge of one whole task to yourself, there was pressure on you encase you went wrong as you had to work by yourself., and I didn’t want the team to fail because of me so this motivated me to keep going and do my best.
However, I do not think that all of the roles identified by Belbin were covered, the ‘Completer Finisher’ role I believe was not as effective as it should have been as the leader has not delegated this role, no one was allocated to come around and ‘chivvy’ us along. Therefore I believe that outcomes of the task were not as successful as they could have been.
This could have been improved if there was one person whose role was to help anyone who was struggling or needed help with something, as there was a lot of reliability on yourself to do well.
It was also apparent that some members of the team were only interested I their particular group-whilst I was concerned about the overall team performance it was apparent that others were not. Those who were working on ‘Business As Usual’ seemed to exclude themselves from the activities- their role was to deal with normal enquiries but if they did not have any, they still did not come and help those who were busy with the promotion. This again was due to the leader not explaining their responsibilities fully.
Overall, from studying teamwork, I can see that there are many different aspects, which need to be thought about when forming a team, such as the size and roles within the team. I have also seen how different types of leadership styles can motivate or de-motivate a team, although I believe that the leadership style depends on the people and task that needs to be completed. As, for example individuals may have objectives and needs different from those of the team as a whole, which can cause conflict unless planned efficiently. I am now going to look at leadership in some more detail.
An essential factor for the success of any business or team is the effectiveness of its management.
Mintzberg identified 10 roles which all managers fulfil. They fall into 3 general categories;
The interpersonal roles of a manager are those concerned with dealing with other people; acting as a figurehead, leading and liaising with others.
The informational roles of a manager are concerned with gathering and distributing information about specific tasks and the general work of the managers’ department or organisation. The tasks may be routine, and part of the day-to-day running of the department, or one off events such as the manufacture and delivery of a special consignment. The 3 informational roles which Mintzberg identifies are; monitory the progress of the task, disseminating information, and acting as a spokesman for the department or people for whom the manager is responsible.
The decisional roles of a manager are concerned with planning for the work of his or her department and taking decisions to ensure this work is carried out successfully. Mintzberg identifies 4 decisional roles; Acting as an entrepreneur in order to get the task started, acting as a ‘disturbance handler’, allocating resources and negotiating with others to get the best from the people.
Managers must take into account the factors which influence peoples behaviour at work, these factors include;
All these factors are important to people at work as they affect peoples attitudes and willingness to work. Managers must take into account their employees opinions, views and needs. Managers are also responsible for their employees morale and motivation , ensuring that they have a good environment to work in. Meaning, that the are also responsible for the welfare of their employees and health and safety in the workplace. Above all, a manager must be an effective leader, someone whom others wish to follow.
The style of leadership has a huge influence on the performance of the team and can be defined as Autocratic/Democratic/ laissez faire/ Reactive/Proactive.
In Autocratic management style, power and authority are exercised by the manager without reference to others within his or her team. The autocratic manager plans and controls the activities of the team, dictating what id to be done , leaving nothing open for discussion. Autocratic management is task-centred and more focused on the completion of the task rather than welfare or motivation of the employees, whom it will obviously have a bad effect on. It is effectively used in the army and police force as they require a strong powerful leader, and strict rules.
Democratic management style on the other hand; while power and authority still are led by the manager, plans and decisions are made by the team as a whole. A democratic manager may even delegate some power and authority to team members, and encourage some independent action. Democratic management is more employee-centred, being based on the theory that employees will be more motivated and better when they are involved when they receive recognition. Examples of a democratic leader is at The Principality, as it was firstly run by an autocratic leader causing employees to be unhappy, de-motivated and leave. When a democratic leader was put in place, it meant those employees returned back to The Principality to work.
A manager who uses the laissez-faire approach of management allows members of the team to carry out all tasks and functions by themselves. This type of manager will remain in the background, co-ordinating and supporting the work if the team members, and representing them at management meetings. This style of leadership is appropriate with a workforce who are highly motivated to work themselves without any instruction, and can continue and progress with tasks without being instructed to.
A proactive manager works closely with staff to identify their needs, and anticipates problems before they occur, and puts plans in place to prevent them from occurring. This would make a more motivated workplace , as all plans would be In place , and prevents problems happening , or if so vary rarely. Therefore , workers will be more motivated working If there are no problems to make it more difficult and overcome.
However, the disadvantage of this is the amount of time it will take to plan and prepare for everything, means valuable time will be lost being spent elsewhere.
A reactive manager is not very innovative and only responds to problems after they have occurred, however the benefit of this is that no time is wasted on planning events that my not occur. This could be de-motivating for the workplace as if problems occurred often it would make the environment stressful , and take more time to overcome the problems which were not planned for.
In my opinion, Autocratic leadership styles will cause staff to resent their manager and discourages teamwork and initiative, as people aren’t allowed to think for themselves. Whereas, democratic and laissez-faire approaches enable decision making and relations to grow between employees and managers, with a less stressful working environment, with everyone working together. From my experience in o2 and also through my research into business I feel that this is the most poplar style of leadership, however I do recognise tat in certain working environments other style are better suited.
Theorists who have explored theories on management styles include Renis Likert, Fred Fiedler and Victor Vroom. I will now go onto explore each of thee individually.
Renis Likert believed there are four basic styles of management; Benevolent Authoritarian, Participative, Consultative and Exploitive Authoritarian.
Benevolent Authoritarian managers have some trust in employees but are seen as condescending.
Participative managers trust employees completely and teamwork is used to help make decisions.
Consultative managers show more confidence in employees and teamwork is used to help make decisions, but overall decisions are mad by managers.
Exploitive Authoritarian managers have no trust in employees and all decisions are made by managers.
Fred Fiedler in his studies suggested that 3 factors need to be considered when deciding what management style to use;
* Power of the leader
* Clarity of the task and
* The relationship with team members.
If the management power is high, the task is well defined and there are good relations with employees and the management style most suitable will be Authoritarian.
If management power is relatively low, task is well not defined and good relations with employees, the management style can be Democratic.
However, if management power is low, task is not well defined and there are poor relation with employees; again Authoritarian style will need to be used.
He is therefore suggesting that the leadership style has to change according to circumstances which exist in the workplace, and it is therefore necessary for management to consider these when deciding the best style to use.
Victor Vroom identified 5 different styles which managers can chose again depending on the situation;
* Managers make all decision alone
* Managers obtain information from team and then makes all decisions
* Manager consults team members individually asking for suggestions and then makes all the decisions.
* Manager consults team members as a group asking for suggestions and then makes all the decisions.
* Manager consults team members asking for suggestions and then they all make the decisions as a whole.
Today, modern theorists suggest that there is no right style of management to be used all the time, as it will always depend on the circumstances, therefore this is an extension of Fred Fiedlers’ Contingency Theory. The circumstances and employee relationships need to be considered before carrying out the task and the style adopted needs to reflect these factors. Managers also need to be both proactive & reactive if they are going to lead a team successfully to task completion.
For example, in The Principality a new democratic leader meant that employees could return to work and be happy and motivated , as that was a more suited management style rather than the pervious autocratic leader.
In order to convene with team members, meetings need to be organised.
A meeting is a gathering of people called together to discuss and investigate problems, give information, make decisions, when more than one person is involved. Meetings have an important part to play in motivation allowing employees to communicate their opinions, and are therefore, an important management tool, with the manager needing to have the skills and experience to lead effective meetings.
At The Principality, focus’ meetings are held each month. This is when members from each department have the opportunity to meet with the chief executive and raise concerns that have been made evident from other employees. This is both a positive experience as employees feel that they have a voice, and this type of democratic leadership can be very motivating especially when held by senior management to discuss matters with lower levels within the workplace.
Meetings are important in the management of any business and they can be called on several levels, which are:
* At director level, meetings are called to discuss and take decisions on the future strategy of the business and to set aims and objectives.
* At senior management level, meetings are called to decide on plans of action to implement strategy and achieve objectives.
* At department or team level, meetings are called to disseminate or give information, investigate problems or ways of doing things, consult the views of team members, and plan the work of the team to achieve its targets.
Many organisations spend too much money and time on unproductive meetings, running an effective meeting requires a degree of discipline and structure. There are seven steps, which are used to organise an effective meeting;
1. Define the purpose of the meeting and be sure that its necessary.
2. Prepare an agenda, and stick to it.
3. Circulate the agenda and any other papers for the meeting in advance, so that the attendees are prepared.
4. Start promptly and finish within allocated time
5. Let people have their say, and summaries a consensus of opinion
6. Get a full range of views and make sure hesitant/quieter people have their say as well.
7. Make sure that all decisions are noted down in the ‘minutes’ so that everybody involved can have a formal record of the meeting as soon as possible afterwards. This can then act as a reminder on the action, which was agreed to take place.
Leadership style will affect the meeting, as strict autocratic leadership will cause the meeting to become more formal, and people may be more nervous to voice their opinion, if they think it will not even be listened to.
A democratic/ laissez faire leadership style of a meeting will cause it to be informal, so that people will be more relaxed and quicker to make decisions, although it could lead to people not working, or going off topic , without a decision being reached at the end of the meeting , as there will be no authority. These are more effective when a range of ideas need to be heard , and there is no rush to make a decision straight away. Both leadership styles can be suitable for different types of meeting for example; a meeting called to resolve a problem or consult on a specific issue may require a higher degree of control than a meeting concerning just a general discussion.
In O2, every Saturday morning, we have a breakfast meeting to talk about the figures achieved within the week, and what our targets are for the day, as Saturday is the busiest day. The purpose of the meeting is to ensure everyone understands what they are doing before the day starts, and so that we are all motivated and want to sell to achieve our goals. The meeting is very informal, and breakfast and snacks provided at the meeting motivate all of us also, as we feel valued and that the management are looking after us.
This is a good way to manage the meeting, as it’s more of a discussion, rather than someone dictating to us before the day starts and telling us what we can and cannot do and not listening to our feedback. This would defiantly de-motivate staff as they would not feel as positive or have such a good relationship with the leader.
There is a democratic leadership used, as although it is relaxed we are still instructed on what we must do. There is a sales leader target sheet drawn up which all employees must sign to ensure they are going to try and achieve those goals in the day. As our manager decides our targets for the day , I think the meeting could be improved by employees being able to chose their own targets in what they want to achieve.
I am now going to look at the management style of, England’s football team manager; Sven-Goran Eriksson to illustrate the elements of management previously discussed in this section.
Sven-Goran Eriksson is an effective team leader, as he displays Mintzberg’s 10 managerial roles:
1. Acting as a figurehead: Sven is calm and controlled, and has trust within his team; meaning they will look up to him and respect him. He also represents the team at key events.
2. Leading: Sven lead England into the 2006 world cup, he respects his team and the team feel that, he ‘knows what he needs to do.’ He has an intuitive outlook. He has a democratic leadership style as he delegates, but at the same time can relate to his team members.
3. Liaising with others: Sven liases with his team members, press and the public, and although has been criticised by the press; doesn’t respond negatively.
4. Monitoring the progress of the task: He has attended more league matches than any other England manager in living memory. He does this to identify new talent and to be well informed. Also, he will need to monitor the teams progress regularly, by attending games and practices so he can see how each player progresses.
5. Disseminating Information: He feeds information to his fans and public through the use of the media , and disseminates information to his team through meetings.
6. Acting as spokesperson: He constantly has to deal with being in the public eye and the press. After games he will have to talk about his team members to the press, and admit his failings, their achievements and what he is responsible for. He also represents the team at events and will speak on their behalf.
7. Acting as an entrepreneur/obtaining the necessary resources: See Part 4; talent spotting at league matches. Sven work tremendously had and when first took on the role as England manager, he visited other clubs to see how they operate to see what to do / not to do. These are both relevant to him as an entrepreneur as he needs to be up to date on the talent, and have the best on the team, as well as viewing other clubs to be aware of the competition.
8. Acting as a ‘disturbance handler’: He emphasises the need for team spirit, and drops members of the team whom may have a negative influence on others. He also handles managers ‘bad press’ at press conferences with a cool and calm manner which diffuses situations.
9. Allocating resources: He manages finance and both busy and sells players within a budget. It is also in his role to ensure resources are available for fans and facilities are suitable at home and away games; as if fans cannot attend away games it means that there is no support for the team.
10. Negotiating with others: Sven made this statement to his critics; “I know there are people who don’t want me here, and I am sorry for them. But if people have an opinion about me, I try not to respond.” Here Sven is showing his calm attitude by not responding to the negative opinions and showing he is not an argumentative person. He also has to negotiate on the finance side of thing, and negotiate prices for players.
Football managers responsibilities in relation to people, is with the press, public and between the team. They must ensure that their team has respect for them; the public believe they are a good leader, and they must talk to the press about issues constantly to present a good image for the team. Although Sven is seen as quite an introverted, quiet person, I believe this is a good thing as he is never seen shouting at his players in public, telling them what they are doing wrong, but instead is motivating them by putting trust in them and encouraging teamwork in a calm and controlled way.
He is also seen as a very concerned, caring manager who is very hardworking, and his diligence can be extremely motivational. Also, I can see that Sven can be both a proactive and reactive type of manager. Proactive in the way that he attends to watch other teams play , and reactive in the way that he is a very laid back manager.
Related to Renis Likert’s theory, Sven would be a participative manager, as he allows his team members to make their own decisions, and trusts them completely. This is highly motivation for his team, and a very good quality as a leader.
I think that Sven could improve his leadership skills by improving his social skills with people outside of the team, as it seems he has a good relationship with the team, but not with the press and public. This could increase his teams’ motivation; as if everyone saw him in a more, positive, enthusiastic light, they’d look up to him more and he’d be able to speak about them more in public.
Also, his style of management seems to be rather Autocratic on times, as he seems to be very authourative, and they describe him as ‘calm’ and ‘mysterious’, which keeps the players on their toes.
However, from studying Sven’s style of management, I think that he is very effective as a manager, as he takes into consideration the team members feelings, opinions etc., and ensures that they are highly motivated, and he has a good effect on the teams morale and never responds to the negative publicity with negative comments.
Overall, I can see that, different leadership styles are needed for different situations. As in different types of meetings different types of authority need to be formed. Leadership can affect teamwork as it can de-motivate or motivate workers, although every team member will react differently to different leadership styles. I have also learnt that the management can affect teamwork greatly, as people need to be happy and motivated in order to work hard for their company. If the style leadership is adapted to match the characteristics of the workforce then teamwork will be highly productive and objectives achieved.