Teamwork - Part 3

Teamwork

My Role as a Team Member:

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Teamwork is defined as a group working toward a common goal.  Our team worked cohesively to accomplish the goal of the project to analyze the Six Sigma methods.

I was the speaker for the group and answered questions from the audience during our report at the conclusion.  During our team interaction, everyone on the team, including me, was an idealist; we expected the best out of the situation and tried to interact accordingly.

 I attempted to provide mutual support to my team members by offering comments and suggestions to improve the project. I practiced the ability to share my particular skills in order to advance the work at hand.  I tried to own up to my responsibilities as a group member by completing my assigned tasks. I utilized my previous teamwork experience from other jobs and assignments in the past, as well as information I learned, to guide me.

In order to foster teamwork, you must create a work culture that appreciates collaboration.  It is necessary for all team members to listen to each team member and incorporate their suggestions on the project if possible.  When members feel that their contribution is valued their self esteem is enhanced.

 In a teamwork environment, people understand and believe that thinking, planning, decisions and actions are improved when done cooperatively because everyone has a different perspective on the issues. There is strength in diversity of ideas. Team members must recognize the idea that “none of us is as good as all of us.” (High Five)(1)

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Our team did not choose a leader and we operated as a team of equals.  We did divide up duties but we shared in the work and responsibility.

An outline of the role of teams in an organization

I will describe a Branch Office setting of a Governmental Office.

Office A located in Millville, Ga.  is run by a branch manager who supervises seven full time clerical employees, a janitorial staff , and a security guard.  The duties of the manager include: staffing and scheduling, customer satisfaction, physical plant maintenance, scheduling, payroll and banking.  The manager is also responsible for ensuring the employees are trained on ever changing procedures.

The six clerical employees: They are responsible for counter service, answering the phone, cash control, ordering supplies, mail, and maintaining lobby supplies during office hours. The main focus of the office is to provide a public service to the citizens.  Because they deal with legislated changes in laws, they frequently have disagreements with unhappy customers.

Their duties will be divided by schedule: Example of a daily schedule

Employee
Counter
Lobby
Mail
Phone

A
9-1
1-5

B
1-5

9-1

C
1-5

9-1

D
9-1
1-5

E

9-1

1-5

F
1-5
9-1

G
9-1

1-5

The counter employees are the most crucial and most of the staffing resources will be devoted to the counter since this is the point where citizens first contact the office to request service.  The counter needs to be staffed with three employees during both shifts. During lunch breaks, it is necessary for the mail or lobby employees to work the counter to ensure acceptable customer service times.

The lobby greeter is also important because they prep the customer before they reach the counter.  This saves the counter person time because they do not have to question the applicant about their needs.

The bulk of the calls are received in the morning hours so they need two phone agents in the morning and one in the afternoon.

In addition, the manager must supervise the security guards to ensure they are properly dressed and reflect a professional image of the office.  The guard must do his/her part by watching the traffic in the office and interceding in situations when needed.

Cooperative interaction of this team is crucial.  The manager must always have his/her pulse on the tone and pace of the office.   The manager’s most important job is to manage the employees.  The manager must provide proper training and foster a work environment where everyone’s contributions are recognized and appreciated.  The most difficult job of management is managing people.

 The manager also has to provide the basic framework for staffing the office and make sure it is played out as planned.  In order to do this, the manager must hire the right people; make sure they are properly trained and reliable.  And the manager must provide clear direction to the staff.

The manager must ensure that the work environment is safe and pleasant so the employees feel comfortable and safe at work.  Factors as simple as the temperature in the office and the music playing in the background can have a substantial effect on an employees work performance.  Proper supervision of the janitor relates to this factor.

 Sometimes employees may decide they know better than the manager and follow their own schedule.  The manager must create an appropriate schedule to meet the service demands of the office and his team players; the clerical staff must follow the plan.  The manager must oversee compliance or assign an employee to the task because proper staffing levels are crucial to providing good service.

The clerical staff has a number of important responsibilities also.  Their most important task is to provide the service which the customer is seeking.  They should provide the service in a cheerful, professional manner.  This is not always possible when employees bring their problems from home and questionable attitudes to work.

They also are responsible for giving out proper information on the phone, ordering supplies to ensure the office has what it needs to run effectively.  They must maintain cash control and account for all funds and inventory.  This is overseen by the manager.

Communication between the clericals is important.  Effective communication assures that each team member understands what is needed to support their team member effectively.  When all of the employees are in sync, everyone’s job goes smoother because they support one another.  This is true in all team cultures. One potential disaster which poor communication might cause is a mix up in lunch times when too many people leave the counter at the same time, causing a slow down of service.

If the team is successful, the customers will receive good service and be satisfied with their visit to the office.  If the team does not mesh, and the customers go away unhappy, they are likely to go home and call someone to complain.

That phone call may cause interaction with the next level of supervision above the manager.  This is something most managers want to avoid.  It is possible for some customer complaints to reach the highest levels of supervision.  This bodes badly for the whole organizational framework, from the highest administrator to the clericals.

There are several office practices which foster teamwork some include: celebrating birthdays, employee suggestion programs, acknowledgment of employee accomplishments and verbal praise.

In the example cited above, all of these would be effective ways of bringing a team together and improving morale.

1.       How to build a teamwork culture,About.com www.about.com

2.      Human Resources, About.com www.about.com

 

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