Leveraging the Power of Teamwork
- Leveraging the Power of TeamworkIt’s Science!
There’s a lot of talk everywhere about the importance of teamwork, and new tools appear nearly every day promising to change the way teams collaborate. These processes and tools support the ability of widely distributed teams to share work from anywhere in the world, improve efficiencies, cut costs, and speed up time to task completion.
That means measurable benefits to business. But what else is in it for you? An entire recent issue of American Psychologist, devoted to exploring research on collaboration, offered evidence that being part of a team can benefit you as well as the businesses you work for (McDaniel, Salas, & Kazak, 2018).
According to Tracy Middleton (2019), who wrote about the research in her Work Life blog, there’s solid evidence to support the following 10 benefits:
- Great ideas don’t come from lone geniuses.
- Diverse perspectives help you come up with winning innovations.
- Teamwork can make you happier.
- When you work in a team, you grow as an individual.
- Sharing the workload eases burnout.
- Dividing the work lets you grow your skills.
- Recognition from other team members can improve your productivity.
- Working in a team helps you take risks that pay off.
- When you work in a team, you’ll feel less stressed.
- Good communication boosts your creativity.
- Think about your own experience leading or working on teams. How many of these benefits have you experienced?
McDaniel, S. H., Salas, E., & Kazak, A. E. (Eds.). (2018). The science of teamwork [Special issue]. American Psychologist, 73(4).
Middleton, T. (2019, May 15). The importance of teamwork (as proven by science). Work Life. https://www.atlassian.com/blog/teamwork/the-importance-of-teamworkTeamwork has become a critical element in dynamic, successful organizations to meeting and exceeding their goals. In today’s rapidly changing business world, organizations rely heavily on the ability of employees to work on multiple teams that vary in duration, have constantly evolving memberships, and change focuses quickly. Understanding the challenges involved in teamwork can help team members avoid chaotic working conditions so they can achieve desired results.
Perhaps the greatest challenge is motivating true collaboration in the teamwork environment. Although teamwork is desired and necessary, organizational leaders still tend to recognize and reward individuality over team participation. Those who are tasked with leading the development of teams must find ways not only to encourage and support each individual team member to grow and function as part of the team, but to also inspire and empower the team as a whole.
TO DO LIST
- What You Need To Know: Gain insights into the nature of teams and teamwork, and review ways to make virtual teams successful. Examine strategies for selecting team members, communicating objectives, and managing team conflict.
- Assignment: Develop a detailed 3–5 page plan for creating and managing a team for work on a major corporate initiative.
- Discussion: Participate in the weekly discussion activity in Yellowdig.
- Discussion OverviewFor the discussion this week, you will provide your ideas and analysis on teams, the focus of the readings this week.
- Assignment OverviewIn this week’s assignment, you will develop a 3–5 page plan for building a team that will collaborate on a major business initiative. Your plan must include descriptions of and rationale for the members you select, the characteristics you expect each to bring to the project, an explanation of how you will communicate team objectives, strategies for delegating responsibilities and managing conflict, and the measures of success you will use.
- What You Need to KnowHow Teams Work
Most of us have worked as a member of a team, but we might not know much about why one team succeeds and another one fails. Read these articles to gain insights into the nature of teams and teamwork.
- Chhay, R. V., & Kleiner, B. H. (2013). Effective communication in virtual teams. Industrial Management, 55(4), 28–30, 35.
- As more and more companies go global and create virtual teams, this is a must-read to gain insights into how virtual teams communicate and work toward shared outcomes.
- Millburn, N. (n.d.). Roles & responsibilities of effective teamwork. https://work.chron.com/roles-responsibilities-effective-teamwork-27655.html
- Who are you when working in teams? Who do you most feel like in your role within a team? This reading helps to define typical roles and behaviors of team members.
- Nordmeyer, B. (n.d.). Complementary skills in a team. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/complementary-skills-team-81389.html
- As this article depicts, teams must find a common goal through complementary skills.
- Building and Leading Teams
Regardless of your role in business, you are likely to, at some point, be responsible for building and leading a team. Review these resources for tips and suggestions on how to make your teams successful.
- Lepsinger, R. (2018). Better together: Building effective cross-functional teams. Industrial Management, 60(5), 26–30.
- Bringing different perspectives together is no easy task for a company, especially when the employees are from different departments. The tips in this article will help you guide teams to overcome obstacles and create common goals.
- Hill, N. S., & Bartol, K. M. (2018). Five ways to improve communication in virtual teams. MIT Sloan Management Review, 60(1), 1–5.
- This article has great suggestions for working in virtual teams, a type of team becoming more prevalent in many industries.
- Cole, M. L., Cox, J. D., & Stavros, J. M. (2019). Building collaboration in teams through emotional intelligence: Mediation by SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results). Journal of Management and Organization, 25(2), 263–283.
- Our emotions play a huge role in how we behave when working in teams. This research presents a way to SOAR above difficult behaviors and keep the team focused on its goals.
- Chhay, R. V., & Kleiner, B. H. (2013). Effective communication in virtual teams. Industrial Management, 55(4), 28–30, 35.
BUILDING EFFECTIVE TEAMS
Assume you are a consultant hired by an established medium-sized manufacturing corporation with 250 employees. It directly markets one unique product. The corporation is run by a new CEO and 11 other executives who have been with the organization for varying lengths of time. The new CEO has an aggressive growth objective for the corporation of 100 percent over the next 5 years. The current business model will not support this objective and needs to be updated.
Your task is to create a team that will work together over a 9-month time frame to develop a proposal for a new business model and growth strategies. Your responsibilities include convening the team, assigning roles and responsibilities, structuring the team, monitoring activities and production, and documenting outcomes. The team members must come from at least three different functional areas because the new CEO wants input from a variety of stakeholders. The challenge is that under the old business model, none of the personnel working in the functional areas communicated or collaborated. In addition, the former CEO never asked for new ideas and seemed oblivious to issues the corporation was facing.
Now, you need to develop a plan for building your team that you could present to the CEO. The following are key ideas for you to keep in mind as you write your plan, but this isn’t an outline for the plan. An outline and what you should include in your plan is defined in the Instructions section below:
- The team will work together for a sustained period of time.
- The visible outcome of the teamwork should focus on the development of a new business model and growth strategies; however, the success of the team as an outcome is up to you and the team members.
- There should be a representative from each of the three functional areas to produce the model.
- A variety of perspectives is important.
- Communication and collaboration are new priorities for teamwork; these processes have not been considered as valuable in the past.
- Issues impacting the business model have not previously been identified by the business leadership.
- Innovation previously has not been prioritized as a factor in the business model.
The purpose of this assignment is to create an overview of what should be considered when developing teams. It is not intended to be an in-depth analysis. Based on the scenario above, use the Week 8 Assignment Template [DOCX] to develop a plan with the following sections.
- Title page.
- Briefly explain the goal of your plan and the high-level approach you took in developing it.
- Functional Area Team Member Selections.
- Select and describe team members from three of these functional areas: human resources, accounting/finance, marketing/sales, information technology, and operations.
- Reasons for Functional Area Team Member Selections.
- Explain the reasons for including each functional area and team member in an organizational team in terms of the advantages offered and the type of role an individual would fill.
- Characteristics of Effective Team Members.
- Describe the characteristics (knowledge, skills, and abilities) each team member brings to the project, and explain how those characteristics support a team effort and will be crucial to its success.
- Communicating Team Objectives.
- Explain how you will effectively communicate team objectives, and consider the consequences of failing to do so. Will you draft a team charter? Will you write a mission statement?
- Strategies for Delegating Responsibility.
- Explain the types of strategies you will use to delegate responsibility within the team, how the strategies take into account individual strengths, and how responsibility is delegated fairly. Will you assign tasks or ask for volunteers?
- Strategies for Managing Conflict.
- Describe strategies that will be used to avoid and resolve conflicts between members of a team, and consider the consequences of not dealing with conflict.
- Success Measurement, Tools, and Process.
- Explain how the success of the team will be measured.
- Summarize how your plan will result in an effective team that will contribute to organizational success.
- References page.
Your plan should be 3–5 pages long, well organized, and written in clear, succinct language. To facilitate evaluation of this assignment, follow current APA rules for attributing sources that support your analysis and conclusions.
Academic Integrity and APA Formatting
As a reminder related to using APA rules to ensure academic honesty:
- When using a direct quote (using exact or nearly exact wording), you must enclose the quoted wording in quotation marks, immediately followed by an in-text citation. The source must then be listed on your references page.
- When paraphrasing (using your own words to describe a non-original idea), the paraphrased idea must be immediately followed by an in-text citation, and the source must be listed on your references page.
Refer to the scoring guide to ensure that your work meets the grading criteria for this assignment.
Example assignment: You may use the Week 8 Assignment Example [PDF] to give you an idea of what a Proficient or higher rating on the scoring guide would look like.
Your assignment should also meet the following requirements:
- Written communication: Communication should be clear and well organized, and support a central idea, with no technical writing errors, as expected of a business professional.
- References: References and citations are formatted in consistent style, with a preference for using current APA style and formatting.
- Number of resources: Use a minimum of three scholarly resources related to the content of the assignment.
- Length of paper: 3–5 typed, double-spaced pages in addition to the title and references pages.
- Font and font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.
Once you have completed your assignment, submit your paper to SafeAssign as a draft. Review the report and correct any citations you missed or cited incorrectly before submitting your assignment for grading.
Your paper is due by midnight CST Sunday.
Your work will be evaluated using this criteria.
By successfully completing this assignment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and scoring guide criteria:
- Competency 3: Solve business problems using critical thinking and effective decision making.
- Explain the reasons for including specific functional areas in an organizational team.
- Explain strategies for delegating responsibility within a team.
- Describe strategies for handling conflict between members of a team.
- Competency 4: Explain the skills and characteristics of an effective team.
- Describe characteristics of effective team members.
- Explain how to effectively communicate team objectives to team members.
- Explain how the success of a team is measured.
- Competency 5: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly, professional, and consistent with expectations for the field of business.
- Organize content so ideas flow logically with smooth transitions.
- Apply APA formatting to in-text citations and references.