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Team Management and Behaviour

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Team Management and Behaviour

In this competitive world today, various business industries are taking every possible step to differentiate themselves from others on the field. Some are inclined towards innovation, while others are striving hard to develop high quality substitutes of already existing products and services in the market. One of the most complex though important activity each company wishes to master is hiring the best talent available in market and then forming the most efficient teams within the organization. Team building is in itself a herculean task that demands brainstorming and investment. Hiring the best talent in the market would count to nothing if the individual cannot adapt to the working environment of the team and organizations. It is not surprising to see various contemporary organizations investing huge sums of money towards talent acquisition. In addition to technical and analytical abilities, the human resource departments search for the right soft skills in the prospective employee. Top talent is often rejected if it does not possess team skills. A good prospective employee, be it an operational staff, a middle level manager or a top level consultant, is expected to be knowledgeable about the importance of working collaboratively, build partnerships within the organizations and possess skills to build and lead teams of 21st century (Michael, 2012).
Various organizations are sweating over the need to understand what all makes a team more effective and successful. A lot of research is being done to find out what all behavioral traits are imperative to enable smooth working of a successful team. This paper examines the importance of team behavior in team development and discusses the reasons behind success and failure of teams within an organization.

Literature review and implications
A manager’s job is extremely complex as he takes care of various business tools such as budget, scope and schedule and loses sight of the all its team members (Adams & Anantatmula, 2012). Each team member has its own social, ethnic and family history. He inherits certain social and behavioral skills with which he begins to interact with all his team members who too communicate back with theirs. This is the self identity or the forming stage of the team building process (Tuckman, 1965). It is the responsibility of each manager to understand the history and characteristics of each of its team members and implement a more directive management style in order to ensure smooth cohesion of each member into the team. The next is the self identity or the storming stage when the individual focuses on other team members and the manager maps the various activities to various members as per their interest and career aspirations and practices high directive and low supportive managements. Next is the group emotion or the norming stage during which relationships among the team members tends to develop and manager makes it sure that no negativity ensues in the group and positive environment is maintained. As the group mood or the late-norming stage commences the team members are use to each other’s behaviors and the manager becomes more supportive to maintain a motivated environment. Last the team enters the emotional intelligence stage when the team is self managed and manager’s role becomes minimal and he intervenes only when he senses any negativity to prevent any stoppage in the smooth processing of the team.

Alex “Sandy” Pentland (HBR, 2012) argues that communication plays a critical role in the building of successful team. Various patterns of communication such as voice tone, body language, whom and how much one talks to are as significant as other factors such as personality, individual intellect and the content of team discussions. The key to high performance of the team lay in the manner people communicated during team discussions. The three important elements of communication are energy, engagement and exploration. The level of energy in a team is measured by the number and nature of talks amongst team members. Face-to-face is the most valuable form of communication as enables highest level of energy followed by phone or video conference and email or texting. Engagement is the measure of the amount of energy amongst various members of a team. Equal and high energy amongst various team members is an indication of high engagement. Teams with high level of engagement are most successful while the partially engaged ones end up making the worst decisions. Energy and engagement are the best predictors of productivity. Exploration is the measure of the communication that members have with other team members. It is an important trait of the most creative and innovative teams. They keep a mix of exploration for ideas and engagement with the outside teams. Certain experiments were performed in several organizations to increase the engagement within organizations. For example, revising the coffee and lunch break such that all teams have the breaks at same time and increasing the length of tables so as to accommodate more people on one table. All these steps have resulted to an increase in productivity of the teams. An important attribute of a good team member is being a good listener. Members of successful team should keep an equal mix of listening and speaking for a fair share of time using to the point statements.

As mentioned above face-to-face or traditional form of communication are more efficient other forms such as video, email or texting used by cross-geographic or virtual teams. However, a few literature reviews (Montoya, Massey, & Lockwood, 2011) argue that with the advancement in collaborative technologies certain immersive and interactive three-dimensional collaborative virtual environments (3D CVEs) are emerging that shall serve as better communication mediums for exchange of knowledge and information. There are three types of collaborative behaviors (Montoya, Massey, & Lockwood, 2011). First, the information exchange or the communication behavior which is defined as the extent to which various team members communicate with each other. Communication behavior has four dimensions- frequency which is the amount of information between team members, formalization which is the degree of spontaneity of communication, structure which is the way (directly or indirectly) teams communicate and openness that is the willingness with which each team member communicates. Second, the cooperation or contribution behavior which is defined as willingness of each team member to contribute to the completion of tasks of other team members thereby reducing the time and resources used by the team. Third, the integration and the coordination behavior which enables each team member to synchronize all parallel and interdependent tasks in order to achieve efficient completion of the entire work. I personally worked within a geographically distributed team that was spread across in 4 different countries i.e. Canada, USA, India and U.K. We followed an agile development methodology named SCRUM (JIRA) that enabled collaborative communication among geographically distributed teams. All the tasks and modules were divided amongst each team and progress was monitored on real time bases over the internet.

In day to day work processes people of different age, sex, opinions, cultures, upbringings etc experience interpersonal differences within the organizations. Conflicts could also result of ego clashes amongst employees at different levels of hierarchy (Shetach, 2012). It is the job of the manager to monitor difference kind of communication and relationships amongst its team members. He should me mature enough to realize the conflicts amongst people with different personality needs to be handled differently. He should have the ability to sense any conflict beforehand by analyzing team behavior and come up with appropriate solutions in order to avoid the inception of a major conflict. Some people react to an unacceptable behavior of fellow colleagues by showing their annoyance at it quickly in the open and making their displeasure very clearly known over work issues. Others tend to endure certain small issues a few times before people reach their saturation point leading to a sudden outburst (CIPD, 2008). Employees exhibiting negative behavior can cause disharmony within teams. Example of a negative behavior could be making personal remarks, short temper, mixing personal problems with professional ones, passing personal comments, critiquing excessively, not sharing knowledge and information, back bitching, absenteeism and avoiding minor team tasks. Sensing any of these, a manager should step in and talk to the individual regarding the reasons behind his negative attitude. If the manager does not notice any changes in the individual after a few informal attempts, he could switch the individual to a different team or report the situation to the Human Resources departments to take disciplinary actions. The manager should also keep a track of whether the conflict has been really resolved or any reoccurrence of tensions in order to avoid major unavoidable altercations in future.

Hiring an individual with strong analytical and technical abilities would certainly have an impact on the productivity and competiveness of the organization, however if the individual does not poses strong soft and team skills and could not adapt to the working environment of the team and the organization the negative consequences would out power the positive impact and the net result would count to nothing. It is therefore imperative to hire an individual with a mix of both hard and soft skills and who’s goals and values matches with the same of the organization. The managers are the pillars of each team within the organization. In addition to handling various business activities he has to make sure an efficient and amiable working of its team. Individuals from different family and cultural backgrounds interact with other team members within a team. It is the responsibility of manager to understand each member’s expectations and ambitions, monitor individual and team behavior and progress in each team building stage and manage the team to success. It is imperative to communicate correctly within a team as the way of communication and not the content of discussion is more major importance. Communication plays a significant role in the success of a team. With the advent of latest collaborative technology the virtual collaborative ways of communication are equally as effective as the traditional ones though the success of it could only be decided in long term future. Collaborative behavior is a key to the efficient working of a team. In the world of globalization interactions between individuals from different cultures and with different thoughts and opinions could result in various conflicts that could have a negative impact on team’s productivity. A manager should therefore monitor each individual behavior and follow a pro active approach for resolving issues in order to avoid bigger team conflicts in future.


Adams, S. L., & Anantatmula, V. (2012, September). Social and Behavioral Influences on Team Processes.
CIPD. (2008). Managing conflict at work,A guide for line managers. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
HBR. (2012, April). The new signs of building great teams.
Michael, B. B.-G. (2012). The Importance of Effective and Efficient Team Work in an Organization. Advances In Management , 21-23.
Montoya, M. M., Massey, A. P., & Lockwood, N. S. (2011, May). 3D Collaborative Virtual Environments:Exploring the Link between Collaborative Behaviors and Team Performance. Decision Sciences , 451-475.
Shetach, A. (2012, July). Conflict Leadership,Navigating Toward Effective. The Journal for Quality and Participation , 26.
Tuckman. (1965). Development Sequence in Small groups. Psychological Bulletin , 384-399.

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