Teamwork – Introduction
The definition of Teamwork differs from one organization or business to other or may be even from one individual to another. This difficulty in defining teamwork essentially is because of the numerous facets that it comprises of. Teams are made when people having a common taste, liking, and attitude come forward as a group and work for accomplishment of an overall common goal. The role that teams play within an organization is very important.
According to Henry Ford,
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success-Henry Ford.”
Work organization with the help of teamwork can denote numerous possibilities, like for instance quality circles, cross-functional work teams, self-managed work teams or even virtual work teams. A number of employers today are offering teamwork with varying extents of autonomy.
The kind of teamwork is essentially based on the task specificity. One unique characteristic of teamwork in a manufacturing unit, specifically in assembly line is the uninterrupted work actions in assembling the various product parts together.
On the contrary, in situations where organizations have teams working towards the goal of improving the process of production, the teamwork has a larger connotation wherein it involves features like complexity, communication as well as integrative work.
Teams working together in an organization essentially have a variety of objectives and these multiple objectives together contribute to an overall corporate level strategy. Work teams in organizations have an in charge who normally oversees the activities of the team and that person is called the team leader.
Significance of Teams
The contemporary work place is becoming more and more inclined towards adoption of teamwork. There are a number of reasons why teamwork is so highly important to be efficient and productive at the work place. A few such significant reasons are:
Builds Collaboration – Working in teams results in the creation of a combined effort and the overall accomplishments are very high when compared to individual accomplishments.
Increases multi-tasking (doing more than one task) – Teamwork encourages members of the team to go beyond all sorts of organizational divides and fosters a culture of multi-disciplinary work.
Promotes Flexibility and Alertness – Teamwork helps increase the degree of responsiveness of the team members along with also offering increased flexibility of work.
Fosters better empowerment in terms of work – Working in teams offers increased empowerment to the members of the team as it essentially eradicates all and any sorts of restrictions that an individual might be having in accomplishing a task.
Fosters a feeling of fairness and harmony as well as a feeling of achievement – Motivation is one of the most important aspects in organizations and teamwork fosters a feeling of fairness and solidarity amidst its members, while offering them a feeling of achievement.
Teams, if managed in an appropriate way, are surely a better way of work in the modern day business environment that is filled with high degree of uncertainty (ambiguity) as well as constant challenges.
There are also a number of other benefits of working in teams and encouraging teamwork in organizations. A few of them are:
Increases success – The success rate of teams is definitely higher when compared to individual success. The concept of synergy that exists between teams is the one that leads to increased success.
Eases the job - The industrial revolution initiated the era of mass production along with the division of tasks in the workforce. However, employees today specialize in multiple areas and are helping the team through their individual job roles. By specializing in multiple areas of work, the modern day employees have become more proficient at their tasks and eventually help in effective teamwork. Working in teams also serves as a process of learning wherein the members of the team work together more effectively and often find inventive methods of accomplishing tasks that helps solve a problem easily.
Minimizes weaknesses while Maximizing Strength - People having the best human relations tactics are normally placed in the human resources department and these form the best advertisers in the field of business. Weaknesses can be minimized when the team concentrates on the various areas of strength.
Makes work Fun – The element of fun is high when people work as a team and this eventually reduces the stress levels of the team members, which surely increases the productivity. There is also an opportunity where the team members can build on the ideas offers by the other team members and use such ideas in successfully completing the assigned project as a team. There is a common saying that goes – two brains is always better than one and this aptly fits into the concept of team work because there are more than one brains that works and this ultimately minimizes the chances of errors and flaws in the work process.
Involves Leadership Development – Working in teams also enhances the leadership abilities of a team leader when feedback is solicited and received openly and candidly.
Importance of teamwork: It is important to have high quality team work and coordination because it leads to increase in output with high-levels of quality. Good team work also has a positive effect on the employees’ mental health and morale. HR Worldwide uses effective team work as a retention mechanism. People rarely tend to leave cohesive and highly productive teams. Teamwork has another important organizational offshoot. This is that it facilitates learning either by observation or deliberate coaching among team members.
Self-managed teams may be defined as those teams with a specific set of objectives to be achieved in a given duration of time that work with total autonomy. Total autonomy is defined clearly as what decisions can be taken internally within the team and for any decisions beyond those set limits the issue is referred to a leader. Typically this leader is very high-up in the organizational hierarchy. The purpose of such teams is usually to solve a specific high-value organizational problem, which is of key importance to the business. Self-managed teams usually have members drawn from different functional areas of the organization directly relevant to the problem that they are out to solve.
Usually self-managed teams are temporary, however there are also permanently setup self-managed teams. These teams are usually set up in situations where customer queries need to be handled and managed continually. Another suitable situation for a self-managed team is on the procurement side – where the technology that needs to be purchased changes rapidly and continuously. In a way it can be said that in situations that need constant management of emergency situations and the customers need immediate answers self-managed teams work and function very well.
As mentioned earlier self-managed teams also regulate themselves so, they are also called self-regulatory teams or self-regulating teams. Since most of the times the self-managed teams have members drawn from different functional areas they are also occasionally called multifunctional teams. Self-managed teams make their internal decisions themselves, set their own targets, timelines etc., and hence are also referred to as self-managed teams. Self-managed teams are expected to have high level of high quality output and are sometimes referred to high performance or high commitment teams.
Self-managed teams are positioned either all across the organization or in certain specific areas, either permanently or occasionally. Many multi-national companies across different product categories and industries have known to be having self-managed teams. Some of the organizations that use self-managed teams include Dana Corporation, Harley-Davidson, Cummins Engine Company, Xerox Inc., Boeing, CISCO, Google among others. Google especially is well known in using its empowered teams to promote innovation and produce out-of-the-box products and services.
Most of the time self-managed teams have specific agenda that is set out for them to achieve. The organizational structure within the team is in full alignment with the objective that the team is set out to achieve. Most of the times, the organizational structure is flat and decision-making is spread across the team.
One of the key things to ensure that the self-managed teams also integrate well into the larger organization is that they are not granted any special status and the team members do not carry any special status symbols. This is all the more important for smoother functioning of the overall organization as well.
The self-managed teams need to be focused on a specific agenda that they need to achieve. To achieve this kind of specific tasks which are not really part of the day-to-day functioning of the organization they have a need to work in a specific place or location – therefore most of the times the self-managed teams have their own worksite. Sometimes they may even have independent physical offices.
Self-managed teams are not directly responsible for the organizational productivity and production, despite the fact that they are out there to solve key issues that are bothersome. Self-managed and regulated teams work are highly focused on the task at hand and they have least possible team members to ensure that they accomplish their tasks smoothly and swiftly.
Results achieved by self-managed teams often tends to stand out and is very visible due to the nature of the self-managed teams. By the same stretch of logic the compensation and recognition given to these teams matches with the achievements of the team and the results are compared with the brief and what is achieved by the team.
Teams are the fundamental building blocks of an organization. Teams create the social behavior within organizations. Teams are responsible for generating value for which a customer is keen to spend money on. Teams play a great role in organizational success or failure. Organized teams are highly productive. Team work is often like music and is great joy to be a part of. Teams are the reasons why organizations succeed. Teams are at the very heart of the organization and are responsible for the output, profitability, growth and what the society and community see the organization. One feels proud to be a part of a great team (These are all written from your textbook. Pls add the reference as I do not have the details of your textbook).
Andersen, E. (2013, May 31). 21 Quotes From Henry Ford On Business, Leadership And Life. Retrieved from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2013/05/31/21-quotes-from-henry-ford-on-business-leadership-and-life/#4e73ef4f3700