Chapter 11:Team management
A team is more than a group.It has joint objectives and accountability and may
be set up by the organisation under the supervision or coaching of a team
leader,although self-managed teams are growing in popularity.
There are a number of approaches to the organisation of teamwork: including
multi-disciplinary teams, multi-skilled teams,
self-managed teams and virtual teams.
(a) Multi-disciplinary teams bring together individuals with different skills and
specialisms so that their skills, experience and knowledge can be pooled or
exchanged. Such teams are typically project; customer or product focused and are
a feature of matrix type structures. Multi-disciplinary teams increase workers’
awareness of their overall objectives and targets.They aid coordination and
communication across functional boundaries. They help to generate new ideas
and solutions to problems, since the team has access to more perspectives.
(b) Multi-skilled teams bring together a number of individuals who can perform
any of the group’s tasks. These tasks can then be shared out in more flexible
ways between group members, according to who is available and best placed to
do a given job at the time it is required. Multi-skilling is the cornerstone of team
empowerment, since it cuts across the barriers of job descriptions and
demarcations, to enable teams to respond flexibly to changing demands.
(c) Self-managed teams are the most highly developed form of team working.
They are permanent structures in which team members collaboratively decide all
the major issues affecting their work: work processes and schedules, task
allocation,the selection and development of team members, the distribution of
rewards and the management of group processes(e.g. problem solving, conflict
management, internal discipline etc). Self-managed team working has a number
of advantages including, saving managerial costs,improvements in quality and
productivity, encouraging individual initiative and responsibility and gains in
efficiency through multi-skilling.
(d) Virtual teams – the development of ICT has enabled communication and
collaboration among people in remote locations,via teleconferencing and video
conferencing, locally networked PCs and the Internet. This has created the
concept of the ‘virtual team’: an interconnected group of people who may never
be present in the same place at the same time – but who share information and
tasks, make joint decisions and fulfil the collaborative functions of a team with
‘physical’ team. Multidisciplinary teams contain people from different departments,pooling the
skills of specialists.Multi-skilled teams contain people who themselves have more
than one skill.
Belbin researched business game teams at the Henley Management College and
drew up a widely used framework for understanding roles within teams. He
identified nine team roles:
(i) The plant. The plant is creative, imaginative and unorthodox, contributing to
the team by solving difficult problems. The plant tends to ignore details and is
often too pre-occupied to communicate effectively.
(ii) The resource investigator. The resource investigator is extrovert, enthusiastic
and communicative; contributing to the team by exploring opportunities and
developing contacts. The resource investigator can be over-optimistic and loses
interest once the initial enthusiasm has passed.
(iii) The coordinator. The coordinator is mature, confident and a good
chairperson; contributing to the team by clarifying goals, promoting decision
making and delegating well. The coordinator can be seen as manipulative.
(iv) The shaper. The shaper is challenging, dynamic and thrives on pressure;
contributing to the team by having the drive and courage to overcome obstacles.
The shaper can be provocative and sometimes hurts other people’s feelings.
(v) The monitor evaluator. The monitor evaluator is strategic and discerning;
contributing to the team by seeing all options and making accurate judgements.
The monitor evaluator can lack drive and the ability to inspire others and tends to
be over critical.
(vi) The teamworker. The teamworker is co-operative, mild, perceptive and
diplomatic; contributing to the team b