Syer & Connolly (1996) describes a “team system” as a group of people who constitute a system of interrelated entities and whose members share a common goal. They argue that team members need to develop awareness of themselves and each other, and of their differences, through giving descriptive feedback. This allows appreciation of differences, good contact and improved communication. Trust, respect, team spirit and synergy may then emerge.
Consequently this leads to a highly developed awareness. The notion of a cycle more easily suggests the kind of continuous process that teams go through and need to revisit as new members are introduced or members leave. This model suggest that skill and attention are required from the manager and team members. A key role of the manager is to enable team members to work together on their tasks. This involves thinking about the history of the team as well as the individual and also requires the manager to promote their ability to work together as group. The following shows the cycle of developing team working skills based on Syer & Connolly 1996.
The following diagram shows a model of “team systems “which brings together concepts of Syer & Connolly and Sherinham et al. ( N A Byer and R H Weston- on measuring the progress of industry teams, 2003)
Inputs enter the team from the environment in which it operates, typically inputs consist of information and resources. Outputs are whatever the team produces. Performance measurement and the use of feedback should ensure continuity is maintained of a team system. A team is a group of people who work together towards a common goal. To achieve these goals, the team need to understand the purpose and objectives and what their individual and collective responsibilities are. The team therefore needs information presented in a way in which they can understand. There needs to be sufficient resources allocated which may include people, finances and equipment. The team also needs to be made aware of procedures and deadlines to ensure the work tasks can be accomplished. The output of the team and the processes should be measured to ensure that they are to the required standard.
It may be necessary to redeploy resources or change procedures to ensure more efficiency within the team. When allocating work to team members it’s important to allocate it based on their individual strengths. This also ensures efficiency. Others may be able to perform certain tasks but it may take time to develop them to do the task as effectively as a staff member who is already proficient in that task. The team needs to be given feedback on its achievements & necessary remedial actions need to be communicated and implemented. This ensures effective team performance. Dr Bruce Tuckman published his Forming Storming Norming Performing model in 1965. He added a fifth stage, Adjourning, in the 1970s. The Forming Storming Norming Performing theory is an explanation of team development and behaviour. Tuckman’s model explains that as the team develops maturity and ability, relationships establish, and the leader changes leadership style. This begins with a directing style, moves through coaching, then participating, finishing delegating and almost detached. At this point the team may produce a successor leader and the previous leader can move on to develop a new team.
Forming – stage 1
There is high dependence on the leader for guidance and direction. Little agreement on team aims other than received from leader. Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear. Leader must be prepared to answer lots of questions about the team’s purpose, objectives and external relationships. Processes are often ignored. Members test tolerance of system and leader.
Leader directs Storming – stage 2
Decisions don’t come easily within group. Team members vie for position as they attempt to establish themselves in relation to other team members and the leader, who might receive challenges from team members. Clarity of purpose increases but plenty of uncertainties persist. Cliques form and there may be conflict and power struggles. The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues. Compromises may be required to enable progress. The leader coaches.
Norming – stage 3
Agreement and consensus is largely formed among the team, who respond well to facilitation by leader. Roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted. Big decisions are made by group agreement. Smaller decisions may be delegated to individuals or small teams within group. Commitment and unity is strong. The team may engage in fun and social activities. The team discusses and develops its processes and working style. There is general respect for the leader and some of leadership is more shared by the team. The leader facilitates and enables.
Performing – stage 4
The team is more strategically aware; the team knows clearly why it is doing what it is doing. The team has a shared vision and is able to stand on its own feet with no interference or participation from the leader. There is a focus on over-achieving goals, and the team makes most of the decisions against criteria agreed with the leader. The team has a high degree of autonomy. Disagreements occur but now they are resolved within the team positively and necessary changes to processes and structure are made by the team. The team is able to work towards achieving the goal, and also to attend to relationship, style and process issues along the way. Team members look after each other. The team requires delegated tasks and projects from the leader. The team does not need to be instructed or assisted. Team members might ask for assistance from the leader with personal and interpersonal development. The leader delegates and oversees.
Adjourning- stage 5
This was added to reflect the point at which the team may have come to the end of its work or project and is disbanding. This may be difficult or upsetting for individuals if the team has bonded well. It should also be seen as a stage where the success of the team can be recognized and celebrated. Teams will not move through these stages at the same pace, and may move back and forth between the stages. If individuals leave and new people join the team, this can also affect team development resulting in what is sometimes called “re-forming”. The same challenges therefore exist for new and established teams. The University of Canada produced a model of team effectiveness. This is broken down into 5 key areas.
By implementing this model, team challenges can be overcome. Goals- what the team aspires to achieve. This can be communicated by the manager ensuring all understand the company vision, mission, values and company aims and objectives. Roles- the part each member plays in achieving team goals. Managers should ensure that each person understand their position and role & responsibilities within the organization as well as each other’s roles & responsibilities. Team members need to be trained to carry out their role and need to have the tools & equipment to enable them fulfill their duties. Procedures- the methods that help the team conduct its work together.
These procedures should ensure problem solving is carried out, decisions can be made, there should be procedures for managing conflict, there should be effective planning monitoring and review processes, there should be meetings to facilitate this, communication must be effective and performance should be monitored. Relationships- how the team members get along with each other. Team members must show respect for one another, they must be able to feel supported by the manager and each other. They must feel as if they are included in decision making, their views should be listened to and individuals should be valued for their uniqueness. Any disagreements should be able to be aired and resolved and conflict managed by the manager. They should also be able to give and obtain feedback. Leadership- how the leader supports the team in achieving results. The manager must have personal credibility and must be able to focus on the overall strategy, must have clear expectations and give clear instructions with open communication. The manager must be able to involve others and get their buy in to the tasks. They should be able to coach and develop the team and individuals and must be able to manage change. The manager should ensure members are responsible and accountable for their work & must be able to provide recognition for achievement to individuals and the team.
Some other challenges faced by developing teams include: They may have little or no leadership as the manager may be absent or post vacant. This will mean they have little direction and members may be unclear about what is required of them. New team members may not have been issued with the company structure or a job description meaning they are not aware of responsibility, accountability or lines of communication. Induction may not have been fully carried out or not at all or may have been a poor standard resulting in staff not being adequately trained. The attitudes and behaviors of team members plays a big part on effective team working. If a member is negative or doesn’t support others or is often late or goes sick then this can impact on others and resentment can set in and conflict may occur.
Other challenges faced by established teams include some of what is mentioned above but also includes: Management may be inadequate and they may be unable to offer support and direction. Some practices become routine but may not necessarily be the best practice, team members may be resistant to change to new & improved ways of working. Managers may not allow members to develop or give them responsibility and accountability leading to reduced morale & motivation. Training and development opportunities may not be available resulting in members not being able to progress. The manager may show favoritism to individuals and conflicts may take place within the team as a result.
Managers may have no focus or may be unable to put the company vision into practice this will result in the company not moving forward and team members becoming stagnant. Senior managers may not support new ideas or practices or may not provide the resources for managers and teams to implement new ways of working. This will lead to frustration and reduced morale. 1.5 The Tannenbaum and Schmidt Continuum also correlates in a way to Tuckman model above – essentially that management style tends to offer more freedom as the group matures. As the team matures and becomes more self-sufficient and self-directing, so the manager’s style should react accordingly, ideally becoming more detached, more delegating, encouraging and enabling the group to run itself, and for a successor to emerge.
The Trait theory of leadership suggests that people are born with a range of traits and that some of these traits are suited to leadership in particular. Individuals who make good leaders have these traits:
Dependable & trustworthy
Knowledgeable about a task and competent in their area of work Confident
Good people skills- understanding & motivation
The behavioural theory is based on the belief that good leaders are made not born therefore those who hold a behavioural view would dispute trait theories. Theorists argue that it is possible to identify specific behaviours and actions associated with successful leadership, and that people can learn through being taught and through observation to become a leader. Contingency theories suggest that different situations lend themselves to a different leadership style, and no particular style is best in all situations. Success depends on a number of variables, including the leadership style, qualities of the team and aspects or context of the given situation. Transformational or relationship theories stress that individuals and teams will follow a person who inspires them. Leaders motivate and inspire people by helping members see the importance of the task. These leaders focus on the performance of group members, but also want each individual to fulfil their full potential. The following are more commonly known as leadership styles (Lewin, 1939: Likert, 1961)
Authoritarian leaders– leaders control, make the decisions, use threats and punishments and do not consult with the team. In my view, this type of leadership is not effective as it is not conducive to effective team working. People will not feel as if they can contribute and will be ruled by fear and this can lead to low morale. It will have its place in certain institutions. It may be effective if team members are getting out of control and there is conflict in the team. Threats and punishments may be needed to bring order to the team. Sometimes it is necessary to make the decisions if the leader is accountable for the well-being of others. The team cannot put over their views even if they are in the organisations interest. The advantage is that it leads to speedy decision making and greater productivity under the leaders supervision. Drawbacks are that it tends to lead to great absenteeism and turnover.
This style only works when the leader is the best in performing or when the job is monotonous unskilled and routine in nature or where a project is short term and risky. Democratic leaders – they consult their team, make the decisions, give some rewards and negotiation and are paternalistic. My personal view is that this is a more effective leadership style as team members feel part of the team as their views are listened to. It also helps to utilise the skills and knowledge of team members. This style helps motivate team members. It can however be more time consuming when members may be consulted with.
However, in terms of being paternalistic- this may not be useful in some organisations and may be more suited to organisations for businesses with a formal and hierarchical structure where creative thinking is not required by members. It is also a leadership style that may be used to control and protect subordinate staff. This may result in the leader becoming dictatorial and making poor decisions. However some team members may like this style as they may be happy to be led by someone they perceive takes care of them. Participative leadership theory suggests that the idea leadership style is one that takes the input of other people into account. They encourage team members to contribute and become involved in the decision making process. Group members will also collaborate rather than compete as they are working towards same goals Laissez-faire- decisions are made by the group as decisions are devolved. They do not threaten people but there is no rewards.
This is a very laid back leader who tries to give the least possible guidance to team members and try to achieve control through a less obvious means. They believe that people excel when left alone to respond to their own responsibilities. They are non-authoritarian. Here the leader totally trust the employees to perform the job themselves, they concentrate on the intellectual/rational aspect of their work and not the management aspect. This works only when employees are skilled experienced and intellectual. Bureaucratic leadership- here leaders strictly adhere to company rules and procedures. They make sure that the team strictly adheres to them too. This is more suitable when safe working conditions and quality are required but discourages creativity and doesn’t make members self- contented. 1.6 Methods of developing trust starts by senior management setting the example.
Five ways for leaders to do this are:
1. Establish and maintain integrity. It is the foundation of trust. Integrity must begin at the top and move down. This means that promises should be kept, tell the truth, no matter how difficult it might be. If people have integrity an organisation can be believed.
2. Communicate the vision and values- communication is important as it provides the artery for information and truth. By communicating the organisations vision, leaders define where the organisation is going. The methods for getting there are also established by communicating direction.
3. Consider all employees as equal partners- trust is established when even the newest staff member no matter what their position, feels important and
part of the team. This begins with management not being aloof as well as getting out and meeting staff. This should be followed by leaders seeking opinions and ideas and giving credit for them, knowing the names of employees and families and treating all with respect.
4. Focus on shared, rather than personal goals. When employees feel everyone is pulling together to accomplish a shared vision, rather than a series of personal goals, trust results. This is important to team working.
5. Do what’s right regardless of personal risk. We know intuitively what’s right in most situations. Following your instincts and ignoring any personal consequences will nearly always create respect from others. From respect comes trust.
The five fastest ways to lose trust are:
1. Act and speak inconsistently. This confuses people and trust will be lost.
2. Seek personal rather than a shared gain- a person out for themselves quickly loses respect and trust from others.
3. Withhold information- when communication channels are shut down, rumours start and misinformation is believed to be real. Then come denials. True information is often too late, or not offered then trust breaks down.
4. Lie or tell half truths- this is a quick way to break a bond of trust.
5. Be closed minded- an unwillingness to consider others ideas and views will cut off communication and break trust. Methods of developing accountability are by ensuring the company has a performance management system in place.
Appraisal or performance review can be used to measure employee accountability. It is important to remember that accountability is at all levels, supervisors, managers, and all staff are accountable for their work. It is important to engage the person to be accountable – employees feel more engaged when they have clear direction, performance accountability and an efficient work environment. Performance standards should be developed and used to review the individual’s performance. The job description wills details responsibilities and areas of accountability. Within health and social care all staff are responsible and accountable in complying with legislation and with the essential standard for quality and safety.
There are outcomes that staff and managers must meet. Attendance, time keeping and flexibility is an area that staff are measured on, also sickness and the number of compliments and complaints that are received. Supervisions facilitate open communication and help measure employee accountability. When employees know that they are being observed and will be given feedback, they are more likely to improve if they are aware they are being held accountable. Regular feedback from managers conveys a message that employees are being held accountable for performance and recognised for valuable contributions to the company’s success. Other ways of ensuring accountability is by implementing key performance indicators and measuring individuals against those agreed. It can also be implemented through operational business planning process where aims and objectives are allocated to specific individuals.
Managers must ensure they communicate the responsibilities and accountability to team members, this can be done on a one to one basis and at team meetings. Managers must ensure that members understand what is required of them first. At management level, individuals can feedback to management meetings on the aspects of their responsibilities that have been achieved, regular meetings will help to keep members focused on the company aims and objectives and by asking them to provide updates to the team, they will be more aware of the need to attain objectives as there will be a degree of healthy competition in who has attained their objectives which all contribute to the overall plan. By monitoring and reviewing the overall plan, this can help the team maintain focus and they can see what they have achieved as a team which can help motivate members. It also helps them to priorities further aims and objectives. At supervision and appraisal, individual performance is monitored, where there are short falls in performance, team members would be given set objectives in an action plan which should be SMART, their achievement would also have to be monitored at the following meeting otherwise they would not see any point in attaining the objective.