Team Dynamics, Essay Example
In my experience, successful teams are those that can sustain cohesion under intense pressure. For example, meeting a looming deadline, or completing a challenging task, could appear overwhelming for one single individual but still doable. The same can’t be said for teams as they are only as effective as their respective counterparts, which can turn the simplest milestone into an immovable obstacle if all members aren’t in-sync. In his book, Great Business Teams: Cracking the Code for Standout Performance, Howard M. Guttman eloquently explains the complexity of effective team structure.He says,
The ability to consistently excel under pressure is not just the hallmark of great golfers; it also separates great business teams from the merely good ones. Great teams rise time and again to overcome great challenges. It is a remarkable achievement—in some ways more impressive… considering that it takes not just one star performer, but a team of stars, to pull it off. (Guttman, 2008)
The reason Guttman is impressed by the ability of high performance teams to perform under pressure is because he is aware of the broad scale of influences that can affect a team’s success, such as personality, cognitive abilities, diversity and team size. One of my worse work experiences was in a SMWT Cross-Functional /Virtual Team and it was due to lapses in some of these very influences.
The internet’s ability to put globalized business into hyper drive has its pitfalls and when I worked as a contributing member to my first virtual team, I learned this the hard way. Diversity was ample and one of the most appealing factors about this method of work. Since the team was a telecommute job, all of the team members spanned from across the globe and brought to the table an eclectic set of skills. While the diversity of the team members was a major plus, it was also the core reason why communication failed. More time was spent reading e-mails from fellow team members than actually working; likewise, most members failed to submit project milestones on time with no insight to new proposed deadlines. The fact that the team was cross-functional as well as virtual meant that all members relied on other members who, in the most literal sense, had no virtual accountability. Ultimately, all project deadlines were delayed by proficient team members who relied on the work of those who found it too easy to procrastinate and avoid communication. Technology also proved to be more of a challenge than a tool to enable production. There were frequent power outages, failed connections, as well as file compatibility issues. Despite this experience, I have been a part of a successful team.
My most successful team experience happened while working for a more traditional Manager-Led Team. While I would have preferred the Virtual Team was more effective due to the freedom it offered, the Manager-Led Team actually resulted in less micromanagement than I expected. I was given the tools I need to work and allowed to perform within my skill set. I never felt rushed, and in instances where my work was delayed due to the influence of other team members, those members were held accountable. Likewise, communications flowed efficiently due to the manager’s ability to regulate. Having a figure of authority played a significant factor in the success of the team.
Guttman, H. (2008). Great business teams: Cracking the code for standout performance. Hoken City, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Great-Business-Teams-Cracking-Performance/dp/0470122439
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