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Creating Effective Teams

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Creating Effective Teams

An essential process that is required for any business organisation is an effective group development process and managers need to understand how to create effective and productive teams and the roles performed by each of the members.
The theory used is the Tuckman’s five stages of group development process that involves forming, storming, and norming, performing and adjourning. Another important aspect of effective teams is the right mix of role categories from Belbin theory, which identifies nine types of people, categorised into three specific skills of action, people and thought orientation roles.
This essay will analyse the roles managers undertake to facilitate effective team management that is productive and effective in business organisations.
An important aspect of leadership management in any organisation team leaders need to have a good understanding of Tuckmens’ stages of team development to build a cohesive productive workplace and an ability to identify Belbin specific types of people and adapt your approach when dealing with the different types of people. (Manning, 1996, pg. 298-302)(Belbin Team Roles. 2013.)
Dr Meredith Belbin (1981) team roles based on the behaviour characteristics and interpersonal skills of the individuals within a team. He determined that there were nine different roles in an effective team who undertook specific tasks. These nine roles classified into three major groups. The three major groups of Belbin are action, people and thought orientation skills and within each group, there are three specific roles.
The action orientation includes the Shaper who generally challenges the team to improve and can find the best approaches to solving problems. The Implementer usually turns the team's ideas and concepts into practical actions and plans and have a systematic approach to activities. Completer- Finisher is the third role they ensure there have been no mistakes or oversights, and they pay attention to the smallest of details and are concerned with meeting deadlines.
People orientation roles have excellent communication skills with active listening skills and have the ability to develop a rapport with people. The Coordinator role are usually the team leader, guide the team in the direction of the objectives, and have the ability to delegate tasks in a calm manner. Team workers fulfil the role of negotiators giving support and developing a cohesive group. The third role is the Resource investigator who evaluate the resources available and develop a network of appropriate contacts.
Thought orientation roles have the ability to analyse information and make decisions the best suits the needs of the group. The Plant is a lateral thinker, has the ability to be innovative with new ideas and concepts, and are generally introverted. Monitor evaluator is objective and analyses ideas to formulate the benefits and disadvantages associated with the concept. The third role is the specialised who has a good knowledge and understanding within a particular field. (Belbin Team Roles. 2013.)
With Tuckman’s five stages, forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning each stage builds on the previous one and organises the group to an effective and productive group. The group’s overall performance is reliant not skipping any stage because it can have negative impact on efficiency and productivity.
Forming is the first stage when individuals make first contact with other team members with uncertainty and low trust amongst individuals with members evaluating each other to determine where they fit in with group dynamics. There is no clear direction with indecision on commitment to the team. The group given the relevant information to the scope of group task and determining the method of approaching it. There is usually no conflict at this stage and the team’s major focus is to define the group strategy, defining, and assigning individual’s tasks. (Halverson, C.B, 2008. Pg. 84-90)
Identifying the Belbin roles of each team member are also an important aspect of the forming stage to ensure that an effective mix of talents to undertake the task efficiently and productively.
High leadership skills are essential because each team member focusses on the leader for direction and can distance themselves from other members. A people orientated role such as shaper and coordinator roles would represent the leadership style in the forming stage to set goals, establish roles, establish trust, define reward structure, align group for the common goal and be assertive in approach. (Belbin Team Roles. 2013.)
In the RAZR'S edge case study, Roger Jellicoe an engineer for Motorola was; appointed the leader for a project to design a new innovative phone to capture more of the market share with the thinnest phone ever released within a year. This indicates Jellicoe’s’ as chairperson and having these characteristics. (Belbin, M, 2010, pg. 49-50) As leader, Jellicoe would need to have good action and people oriented skills of shaper and coordinator and the ability to adapt his style of leadership. Thought oriented role Specialists from every manufacture sequence were involved in the project, which also indicates the necessity of the nine Belbin role mix to ensure the given tasks have the correct behaviour characteristics of the person to undertake the different tasks involved. The forming aspect involved working out a component checklist to ensure every aspect of the phone was covered and the development of trust within the group with a high secrecy code group norm and the reward was related to being part of an exciting and innovation project that potentially could give them prestige. Jellico displayed that he was a plant type person who has the ability to solve difficult problems when he promoted himself to take on the new company task.
The second stage is the storming stage which involves identifying power and control issues, communication skills and identifying resources both financial and specialist skills. It also involves expressing differences feelings and reacting to leadership. It also important for each member to evaluate how to work within a group and independently. The leader would have to evaluate the specific Belbin roles of each member to assign the specific task that best suits the individual and utilise the human resources efficiently. (Halverson, C.B, 2008. Pg. 90-96)
The Motorola project involved secrecy from management because Roger Jellico was concerned company management would not allocate the financial resources to undertake and test the designs, which created a cohesive team that stimulated and excited the team to perform at optimal levels. Jellico played the people orientated role of chairperson with specialist skills, as he was an engineer and implementer because of his disciplined approach. He would have to actively support and reinforce team behaviours, facilitate the team for wins, and create a positive environment, which entails a shaper and team member type.
Jellico also initiated brainstorming in response to arguments occurring with trading of mobile phone function and slim design, and set up a competition with the engineers for the best design. In the storming stage, competition is high, the level of participation of members was at its highest, and Jellico utilised this aspect effectively. Chris Arnholt was the industrial designer who was dynamic and thrived on challenge and a strong drive to overcome obstacles, which is evident in the article with reference to his obsession to "rich minimalism" which indicates a thought orientated plant and specialist personality type.
Norming stage is when the members agree about the specific roles and processes involved in problem solving and decisions made through diplomacy and compromise. This is when team members have a clear understanding of their roles and tasks related to the group objective. (Runkel, P. J. 1971.)
The nine Belbin roles would be delegated to members the specifically suit the overall objective. In the article (RAZR'S edge) had the heading “Collaboration between style and physics” which indicates that norming had occurred in the group.
At the performing stage, all members are collaboratively working together and has established a unique identity with members being interdependent. Results are positive and members are working together to finds solutions to problems encountered utilises adequate control measures. (Halverson, C.B, 2008. Pg. 96-98)
Motorola’s innovative team members established a unique identity and members were interdependent when the engineer and designer teams combined their ideas and exchange ideas and solutions to problems and implemented control measures.
The group was achieving effective and satisfying results with perfecting the materials and appearance of the new mobile phone. There was also a lot of pride about the finished product and Geoffrey Frost the marketing manager who had watched the growth of the new phone believed the name the group had chosen was not elegant enough, so the project influenced other employees in a positive manner. Geoffrey Frost played the role of completer-finisher and implementer with his marketing strategy also a specialist in his field.
Adjourning the group is the fifth stage of Tuckman’s group development process it when either the group goal attained or the reason for the formation of the group is no longer relevant. The group disbands which involves the cessation of responsibilities as the completion of the specific tasks and reduction in dependence on the group. The process can be stressful if sudden or unplanned. Usually a time of recognition and contemplation on the achievements attained. (Halverson, C.B, 2008. Pg. 96-98)
The RAZR'S edge case study the executives of the company gave them a standing ovation for their efforts and rewarded them with company shares.
An example of unplanned adjournment of a team is evident in many of the headline news with job losses with Holden announcing that it is no longer viable to manufacture cars in Australia and the large group of people employed who were members of a team now have to move on and find new jobs, which is often stressful.
The group development process according to Tuckman’s theory comprises of five stages of forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning give managers an understanding of the processes involved in-group dynamics.
Another important theory that enables team leaders to create effective and productive groups in the workplace is Belbin nine roles, which states the importance of having the right balance or mix of roles to undertake the specific objective.
When managing teams it is important to understand group formation stages and the personality characteristics of each of the team members to get a balanced efficient and productive team.
If there were too many action-orientated people in the group, they would dominate and create an imbalance. This imbalance may undermine the thought-orientated members who have the ability to be innovative coming up with fresh ideas that could be feasible, and may be reluctant to participate in the project that could create resentment within the team.
The RAZR'S edge case study shows the various Tuchman’s stages of group formation in the various stages and the Belbin’s’ thought, action and people orientated roles played by team members. Jellicoe played various roles at different stages.

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