Team development and leadership.

Exploring individuals’ behaviour in the workplace and psychological principles that can be applied in understanding organisations and improving their employees’ lives. Work teams can be powerful and dynamic, and they can help an organization thrive. Leaders in every organization are highly influential, and the way they work can affect productivity.

Teamwork: How it works?

Group performance is an advantage of working in teams and it is better than individual performance because the strengths of every person is utilised.

In a successful team (e.g., a group of surgeons or a corporate team), each member’s actions are coordinated and oriented towards a common goal. All members have a specific role; generally, they are interdependent, relying on each other to perform a good job. An effective level of cooperation involves trust, built only through good communication, commitment, competence, and collaboration.  However, not all teams perform well. This may be caused by social loafing, where people put less effort as a part of a team than they would if working alone.

Key concepts for teams:

  • Role
    Every individual within the team has a distinctive job. Together with other team members, the group produces positive outcomes.
  • Norms
    Unwritten rules, such as deadlines, are accepted by individuals and it has an impact on individual behaviour.
  • Group Cohesiveness
    A team must have a sense of unity and trust coupled with other variables, which will bring the team together and they will be able to continue working together in an effective manner.
  • Team commitment
    A person’s commitment to work hard towards a goal determines their willingness and involvement in the group.
  • Mental model
    A team will have an understanding regarding the task at hand, resources available and the situation. 
  • Team conflict
    How teams deal with conflicts determine how effective they are, thus, determining if the teams are competitive or cooperative.

Keeping the key concepts in mind, let us explore further on how to form effective teams at work.

5 stage model for team development and growth (Bruch Tuckman):

  • Stage one: Forming To begin with, the members meet each other and share information about themselves, they learn about the project and understand their roles in it and establish ground rules for working together in a team.
  • Stage two: Storming In the early stages of working together, employees may complete with each other for status. Therefore, this can cause conflicts.
  • Stage three: Norming members begin to feel part of the team again. They are less focused on individual goals, but rather on working together effectively to produce results.
  • Stage four: Performing High functioning team with collaboration and a trusting environment. They rely on each other and are focused on a goal.
  • Stage five: Adjourning As the project is about to be completed, members assess their work, and see what needs improvement and team members celebrate success. After successful completion, moving onto other projects.

If you are a team member, employee or a team leader and struggling with working in a team or being a team leader, reach out to the counsellors at Halcyon and begin your journey towards an effective workplace environment.

Improving teams

Teamwork can be improved by creating autonomous work teams that are responsible for a particular product or process, this can improve efficiency. Creating quality meetings, where team members and leaders can discuss arising issues and solutions which will provide a deeper understanding on what needs to be done. Most importantly, all members can take part in team-building exercises led by a consultant. These activities can aim at working on weaknesses such as interpersonal skills.

Types of leaders

Leaders influence attitudes and behaviour of their teams. There are two main types of leaders in a workplace. Formal leaders with supervisory roles and informal leaders often influential leaders who may emerge within groups. Good leaders should use their power appropriately, showing concerns for the welfare of their teams.

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority” – Ken Blanchard

Qualities of a great leader

  • Strong ethics
    An ethical leader creates an honest work environment and promotes loyalty and trust. Employees feel safe and perform at their optimum levels.

  • Empowering others
    Leaders cannot do everything alone; thus, navigating, and delegating responsibility is highly beneficial and valuable in determining effective teams.

  • Fostering a sense of belonging
    Employees spend a lot of time at work, thus feeling connected to everyone around them is beneficial for their emotional wellbeing which in turn improves productivity.
    “90,000 is the approximate number of hours an average person spends at work” – Annie Dillard

  • Open to new ideas
    innovation and looking at situations from different perspectives is a prerequisite to progress.
  • Helping others grow
    Leaders who motivate employees and foster growth end up with motivated and loyal employees.

Path-Goal model by Robert House helps supervisors to enhance job performance making it easier to complete tasks and set new goals. Leaders can utilise one of the four styles of the Path-Goal theory which suits the employee, the work environment, and the goals. More details regarding the theory can be found here.

Counselling and support can be provided to employers and employees to increase efficiency and trust in the workplace. If this sounds like something you would want to work on, contact Halcyon and speak to a registered counsellor.