Teams has always been an effective tool for managers. It allows people to better stay on task by constant monitoring, and at the end of the day, individual members of the team are able to enhance satisfaction, performance, and skills needed for professional career paths as mentioned by Oakley & Brent (2004). However, being part of an ineffective or dysfunctional team may be even worse than working on a project independently which can lead to this “extreme frustration and resentment” – especially for those who ‘carry’ the people such as ‘hitch hikers’ and ‘couch potatoes’. As I was reading the articles, I was able to relate to a lot of the steps because it was pretty much what we did during class time such as forming teams. I agree that sometimes instructor formed teams maybe more effective because as Oakley & Brent (2004) mentions, we tend to leave “Weaker ones to shift for themselves which works to nobody’s benefit” which would deteriorate the whole experience of working in a team.
It would probably be good to define what a good team is, in order to work towards becoming a good team than just individuals formed into a group. Katzenbach & Douglas, (1992) defines what a team should be: a “small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”. This is why having some form of expectation of working in the team would be beneficial because once they reach an agreement – they are more committed to work towards the same performance goal in unity. Again, as Katzenbach & Douglas, (1992) mentioned a team should be a small number of people with complementary skill. This is why it is a good idea to get to know the team members before assigning into teams with the minimum number of 3 and maximum number of 5. (Oakley & Brent, 2004) Our group actually has 6 people – but hopefully this wouldn’t raise too much of a dispute. However this diversity of skills is also a good thing that comes along with teams. Those who are not performing well can be modelled to those who performs well and they both can learn from this experience as long as they put in the effort.
“A working group relies primarily on the sum total of individual contributions a team multiplies them.” (Katzenbach & Douglas, 1992) An analogy I can give to this is like working in an orchestra. For example, a single violin cannot make the voice of an orchestra, just as an orchestra cannot operate without a violin. If one instrument had not practiced enough and put in their commitment, it can destroy the harmony as a whole. Individuals have to take responsibility in their own part, learn it well, practice individually and in the end, the other individual members in the team will multiply the voice of an individual. I hope that my team would be able to practice and learn from this experience to make a harmonious chord that win will gold at the end.
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly. (3), 3-27
Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of student centered learning, 2(1) 9-34.