Assignment 1: Discussion
In order for an organization to have high-functioning self-managed teams, its leader(s) must be committed to the strategies necessary to develop these teams. In addition to the development process, leaders must also establish strategies to motivate and sustain the effort of teams over time, to maintain their productivity and relevance. Ideally, a team is working toward continuous improvement and evolution; its work should represent this movement. As recent history has shown, tomorrow’s challenges will certainly be very different from today’s. In this assignment you will discuss how leadership can motivate and encourage a team to excel.
Based on your research and experience, in a minimum of 400 words, respond to the following points:
- What steps can leaders take to motivate teams to take their performance level to consistently higher levels?
- Why would the steps identified above help motivate teams?
- How can the leader help the team realize its collective ability to succeed well beyond a typical team?
Support your response with examples and citations from professional literature in your research. Professional literature may include the Argosy University online library, relevant textbooks, peer-reviewed journal articles, and websites created by professional organizations, agencies, or institutions (.edu, .org, or .gov).
By the due date asigned, post your response to the appropriate Discussion Area. Through the end of the module, review and comment on at least two peers’ responses.
Write your initial response in 300–500 words. Your response should be thorough and address all components of the discussion question in detail, include citations of all sources, where needed, according to the APA Style, and demonstrate accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation
Do the following when responding to your peers:
- Read your peers’ answers.
- Provide substantive comments by
- contributing new, relevant information from course readings, Web sites, or other sources;
- building on the remarks or questions of others; or
- sharing practical examples of key concepts from your professional or personal experiences
- Respond to feedback on your posting and provide feedback to other students on their ideas.
- Make sure your writing
- is clear, concise, and organized;
- demonstrates ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources; and
- displays accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Module 2 Overview
How many times have you heard a colleague asking, “Is everyone on the same page?” or “Are we rowing in the same direction?” As a leader, you communicate strategies, manage projects, and establish accountability. In the organizational setup, teamwork is essential for survival. Organizations prefer recruiting team players, because cohesive teams can achieve targets easily.In this module, you will discuss the different types of organizational teams such as a working team, pseudo team, potential team, real team, and high-performance team.From your past experience of working with teams, you have probably realized developing and working with teams is easier said than done. In this module, you will address various issues in team development. You will explore the popular concept of team development, and analyze the stages of team development—forming, storming, norming, and performing. After that, you will gain insights into the four Cs or factors that foster high team performance. Finally, the module’s lectures will address how each of these factors impacts team development.In this module, you identify a team and you will evaluate that team against the performance curve.
Types of Teams
Team building and employee empowerment is the best approach to increase ownership and ensure effective involvement. Each organization forms its own teams to meet professional goals. In their book, The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization, Katzenbach and Smith (1993) address different types of teams. They discuss and define working groups, pseudo teams, potential teams, real teams, and high-performance teams as components of the team performance curve. Let’s examine each team.
- Working group: According to Katzenbach and Smith (1993), a working group comes together to improve the individual efforts of every member of the group. They do not necessarily seek to synergize and develop new levels of competency based on the interconnectedness of the group. Working groups have no mutual accountability and are not working toward a shared mission or goal.
- Pseudo team: Pseudo teams are groups that could perform well as a team but are not truly trying to achieve that goal or outcome. Katzenbach and Smith (1993) say pseudo teams are much less productive than working groups. Even though working groups do not offer the synergy and interconnectedness of teams, they are comparatively more effective than pseudo teams. These teams potentially work under the guise of being a team. They are distracted by the habits or behaviors of a proverbial team, thus preventing them from meeting the team’s outcomes.
- Potential team: A potential team is similar to a pseudo team; although team members may be getting together and meeting regularly and appear to have all the aspects of a team, they have not yet achieved their goal or outcome. The biggest difference between a potential team and a pseudo team is a potential team actually intends to become a team and is not deliberately striving to avoid that outcome.
- Real team: Real teams have common goals or purposes, work together, and hold themselves accountable.
- High-performance team: High-performance teams meet all of the requirements of real teams and are deeply committed to each other’s personal growth and success. These teams take their learning and level of connection with one another a few notches higher. By establishing deep levels of connectivity, trust, and group learning, these groups always comprise the highest performers in any organization.
Team dynamics play a crucial role in moving a team through various stages of the team development process.Katzenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (1993). The wisdom of teams: Creating the high-performance organization. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.
Stages of Team Development
Bruce Tuckman’s work on stages of team development is well known. Tuckman’s model of team development states all four phases of development—forming, storming, norming, and performing—are necessary for a team to grow and eventually reach its potential.
Forming: This is the actual phase of team building. During this stage, teams get acquainted with one another and become deeply associated with the strengths and weaknesses of each team member.
Storming: A group goes through this phase on the way to becoming a team. In this stage, team members openly discuss the potential solutions to their problems and the divergent ideas related to broad issues.
Norming: During this phase, team members adjust their behavior to conform to the work habits and belief systems of the group. In this stage, the group defines its rules, values, and belief systems. This stage has the potential to change behavior to such an extent individuals within the group lose their creativity and potentially unique perspectives on an issue, in an attempt to norm their actions within the confines of the group. Thus, this stage must be handled carefully by the team members.
Performing: This is the point where high-performing teams are able to function as a unit. The team comes together based on its belief system and established norms, and actually executes the plan. During this phase, high-performing teams are motivated, knowledgeable, and actually able to perform the task at hand.
The Four Cs of High Performance
According to the authors of the book Team Building: Proven Strategies for Improving Team Performance, high performance is characterized by identifying the four Cs: context, composition, competencies, and change management.These four aspects of the model have an impact on team performance, both individually and as a function of their ability to interrelate and change team’s outputs. Let’s look at the various factors that govern high performance.Context: The authors discuss the context of a team as it relates to the environment or culture in which the team is working. Obviously, some organizational cultures or environments are more conducive or supportive than others.Composition: This refers to the skills, backgrounds, and experiences of each member of the team.Competencies: These refer to the team’s ability to communicate and solve problems and to take action after making decisions.Change management: This refers to the team’s ability to manage its own outputs and to make strategic changes to support improvement and performance.Each of these concepts can be easily interrelated. Sometimes, the composition of a team can have an impact on the degree to which context impacts outputs. For example, a mature team might not require a context or supportive organizational culture because they have a strong background and years of valuable experience. Conversely, a young and inexperienced team may require a much higher degree of support. The competencies and change management skills will certainly be tested in the face of challenges. The degree to which teams can move toward improvement in these areas ultimately drives their ability to have an impact.
Implementing the Four Cs
Before implementing the aforementioned four Cs, it is important to recognize individual aspects of each component as well as their capacity to interrelate.One mechanism for evaluating the ability to implement the four Cs is to consider the strategies used for identifying problems. A thoughtful, energized, and focused team operating in a supportive and empowered environment often has the ability to identify problems or challenges themselves. In other situations, the identification of problems has to come from outside and the team is provided with the necessary details required to understand and resolve challenges.There are a number of points in the implementation process where problem identification and resolution can be challenging. For example, a nonsupportive environment may not allow the accomplishment of the team’s goals because the team does not receive the necessary backup required for success. However, this can be resolved by supporting and improving the organizational context or by improving the team composition in case the group is less reliant or dependent on the organizational context.You could also face problems in the areas of competencies and change management. For example, if a team lacks the ability to communicate, solve problems, or make decisions, it can be trained to make improvements and adjustments. The ability to monitor performance can improve over time as the team gets more acquainted working with one another. Team members and leaders should not depend on time alone as the sole variable driving improvement. Instead, they should work on strategies for identifying strengths and weaknesses in the change mechanism and establishing opportunities for improvement.Finally, there is a great deal of reliance on evaluation and feedback while implementing the four Cs. The authors of Team Building: Proven Strategies for Improving Team Performance discuss descriptive feedback, suggestions, and other activities which allow team members to be immersed in the process and reflect on it simultaneously. Descriptive feedback and suggestions help the leader to illustrate effective steps for ensuring success. However, evaluation or feedback is dependent on the leader’s ability to communicate the thoughts and ideas to the team members, and the team’s willingness to embrace the leader’s suggestions. Other mechanisms for providing more reflective evaluation or feedback give teams a chance to analyze their past performance with relation to potential future actions.
Numerous motivational theories have been designed to try and explain why people do the things they do. A few of the most used popular theories for explanatory purposes are those of Maslow, McGregor, Herzberg, McClellan, and others.These theories have contributed to the evolvement of leadership as leaders have become more focused on team development and engagement, satisfaction, expectation and equity, and needs.Engagement: This process is viewed as an ongoing activity that can be seen as similar to intrinsic motivation. The engagement process remains with the individual. Therefore, leaders have begun to understand the importance of engagement in the motivational process in order for individuals to perform at a high level. There are several factors that may contribute to team members’ level of engagement and team leaders may have little control over some of these factors.Satisfaction: This is a very important component to team productivity. Leaders play a major role in influencing morale, job satisfaction, and motivation. Teams that are highly task-motivated may have more success and productivity. The instilling of satisfaction within team members is one of the main tasks of a team leader. Satisfaction creates confidence, loyalty, and ultimately improves productivity and efficiency in the team’s output.Expectation and Equity: Expectancy and equity provides team leaders with a foundation to build an understanding of ways to motivate team members. Expectancy will help to explain why team members choose one behavioral option over others. Team members who perceive themselves as either under rewarded or over rewarded will attempt to restore equity. Positive outcomes and high levels of motivation can be expected only when employees perceive their treatment to be fair. When team members feel there is a fair balance between input and output there can be a strong relationship between team members and they are apt to become motivated.Needs: Whenever the team leader is developing motivational strategies, needs must be a major consideration. While all individuals have needs, it is those secondary needs such as power, achievement, etc., that most team leaders must be concerned for and identify. Making team members aware of how important the interdependence of each other is to the whole may assist them developing the need of belongingness. It is also important to remember that once needs are satisfied, the motivation to satisfy them diminishes, or even vanishes for a while.
Module 2 Summary
Through this module’s online lectures and assigned reading, you discussed types of organizational teams. Hopefully your analysis will help you visualize and define some of the teams you have been a part of. You also examined the stages of team development and learned about the four Cs of high performance. This module’s lectures must have also helped you to recognize how groups are formed; you will be able to relate this knowledge to the evolution of groups you have seen in your work environment. You will also have a more in-depth understanding of the importance of motivating team members in order to provide satisfaction and maximize productivity.Here are the key points you covered in this module:
- The various kinds of teams are working teams, pseudo teams, potential teams, real teams, and high-performance teams. Working teams come together to improve the individual efforts of every group member. Psuedo teams are less productive and less effective than working teams. Potential teams work hard to function as a team. Real teams work toward common goals or purposes. High-performance teams are deeply committed to the personal growth and success of team members.
- Tuckerman’s model of team development includes four phases of development—forming, storming, norming, and performing. This is a popular concept in leadership, organizational theory, and the discussion of teaming. Forming is the initial phase of team building. Storming is characterized by debates and open discussions on potential problems. Norming includes the process of defining group rules, values, and belief systems. Performing is the final stage of execution of the group plan.
- High performance is characterized by identifying the four Cs: context, composition, competencies, and change management. Each of these concepts is interrelated. A thorough analysis of each concept reveals how it works and how it could be implemented to form or lead a team.
- The four steps of implementing the four Cs are identifying problems, resolving problems, evaluating, and providing feedback.
- The benefits of being able to motivate team members are essential to maximizing productivity and in meeting expectations and in generating satisfaction. Motivating team members must be an ongoing process in maintaining team effectiveness.