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Published by: Mohammed Lawal Ahmed on May 02, 2011
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Mohammed AhmedOrganisations as a whole constitute a team of people working together individually or collectively by sharing responsibilities to achieve agreed aims and objectives (Procter & Mueller, 2000). According to Rabey (2003) teams achieve performance and overcome obstacles through synergy. The performance of any project teamis therefore dependent on the perfect combination of complementary skills to achieve a common purpose (Kreitner et al, 1999)EFFECTIVE TEAM WORKINGThe successes of major multinational companies have been derived from effectiveteam work and the capacity for organisation to successfully manage the skills ofemployees by tapping into their creativity. This has enabled such companies tocommand leadership positions by achieving amazing business success globally (Peters & Waterman, 1982). A team is therefore a combination of two or more people working together in harmony to achieve a common goal (Daft, 2006). Work based teams are groups of people assembled by circumstance or need with a varying degreeof experience and ability urged to develop and coordinate their own efforts to maintain continuously high standard of output, led by an effective manager with adequate leadership skills (Rabey, 2003, Kharbanda and Stallworthy, 1990). Belbin(1993) is of the opinion that effective teams help organisation coordinate anddevelop strategic information links that help improve performance. Team work takes a continuous effort to develop and a conscious effort to maintain (Maddux, 1988), so undermining the initial processes of team forming denies team leaders and managers the opportunity to understand individual needs that motivate members.However Maddux (1988) concluded that effective team work knows no level, it isimportant for the survival of an organisation across all cadre of which its absence could lead to poor performance or productivity and eventual failure. Teams plan to overcome problems through the improvement of dependent work processes, unlike groups in which individual efforts is independent of the other members.MOTIVATION PROBLEMS IN THE TEAMMotivation is the internalised drive towards the prevailing thought of any moment (Rabey, 2001). Oxford dictionary (2001) defines motivation as the reason behind ones actions or behaviour. In simple terms, it is the force that makes peopledo what they do. The case suggest that the team members are ‘‘highly specialised andtalented individual’’. Different needs may motivate them individually or collectively which is incumbent on the project leader to recognize. According to Linsteadet al (2004) needs deficiency theory of motivation suggest that if managers could understand the needs of employees, they can manipulate or influence employeesto improve performance. Weightman (2001) on the other hand stated that understanding the needs of team members and what motivate them is important for a managerto get the best out of them. Manager use goal setting to motivate members of awork team by guiding their actions and responses, directing behaviours and performance thereby leading to feedback on the progress of task (Mullins, 1985).With reference to the case study, it has been gathered that the team members arenot motivated as observed from the following reasons:Poor time managementLack of effective communicationIgnorance of the urgency of project purposePoor cultural and emotional intelligence among membersInadequate or absence of involvement in meeting proceedingsQuality problemsAbsence of customer-supplier relationshipLEADERSHIPAccording to Caldwell (2004) effective leadership is helping others reach theirfull potential. Kotter (1988, cited in Caldwell, 2004) believes that it is a process of leading people in a direction that yields desired goals in a non-coercive manner for the benefit of an organisation. Form the case study, the OperationsDirector is required to discuss the purpose and milestones to be achieved in a
 
clearly defined project charter on the inauguration of the team and also explaining the challenges in working in cross-functional teams. This would involve taking the team members through the basic stages of team formation; forming, storming, norming and performing (Tuckman’s theory cited in Kreitner et al, 1999). Diversity of people on projects teams creates diversity of perspective (Caldwell, 2004), therefore a well connected team would realise strength in their differences.The Operations Director acting as a unifying leader is to facilitate coaching oncultural and emotional intelligence such that all members becomes culturally and emotionally aware of the natural differences existing in the team which wouldfoster a sense of belonging thereby bringing out the best in delivering the project on schedule. Purcell et al (2003) suggested that teams perform better in solving problems when members are able to work with colleagues in harmony. Creatingan atmosphere of fellowship where each members of the team feels comfortable, respected and connected is pertinent for the achievement of the product development on schedule (Robbins and Finley, 1998). According to (Topchik, 2007), assigning team members with roles and responsibilities with the expectation to deliverand also identifying and appreciating those who participate actively (Crosby, 1984) to encourage the involvement of every member of the project team would allowmembers to actively participate. Establishing maximum level of cooperation while discouraging and rejecting every form of competition among members helps dynamic teams achieve results without conflict (Evans, 1999).The quality issues according to the case would be addressed by adopting a totalquality management approach throughout the stages of production. Creating the awareness of making a quality product right the first time (Crosby, 1984) throughtraining and education would reveal to the team members the monetary value associated with creating defective products. The formation of quality circle within the project team responsible for inspecting the raw materials, processes and theoutput of the various stages leading to the production of the prototype will prevent any further disagreement the TQM manager and the Ops manager.In relation to the case study, establishing a supplier-customer relationship through an effective supply chain network would guarantee a continuous supply of the major component for the project. According to Hugos (2006) certifying and integrating suppliers into the production process of a product assures a successfulexecution and completion of projects. Blanchard (2007) reported that the failureof Hershey Company to integrate suppliers into its supply chain network, cost the company loses up to $150 Million in 1999. The inability of the supplier to stay in business could be nipped in the bud through partial acquisition or merger,bailout loan or direct investment to keep the supplier in business.In addition, effective communication would unravel the numerous problems delaying the progress of the project. As the leader of the project team, continuous communication through progress report would avail the team the opportunity to quickly address areas requiring attention before they become unmanageable. Communication with team members would eliminate the problems of lateness, non-participation and absence from meetings. Also it would help solve the problem the supplier face in business. Robbins and Judge (2007) suggest that communication helps a group or organisation to share information, control and motivate individuals. Effective communication as Winbow (2002) puts it enhances organisational setting while acting as an important ingredient for efficient operations.As the Operations Director, it is expected that a delegative leadership approachis adopted where team members are empowered to make decisions through responsibility and authority (Townsend and Gebhardt, 1990) while assuming the role of a mentor directing the team to achieve the project on schedule within budget.SELF REFLECTIONThe Greek mythology has it that Leo is the king of the beast with much boldnessand the willingness to lead in any situation. As a Leonian, born in the month ofAugust, astrologists suggest that I possess leadership qualities and always wanting to be the centre of attention. The BTO module gave me the opportunity to actually see the true nature of my innate characteristics as a true leader. Beforethe module, I had always preferred to be a team player. The theories ranging from communication, leadership, emotional intelligence up to decision making taugh
 
t on the module showed me that I was under utilising the natural qualities I wasborn with. The module has helped me sharpen the skills necessary to manage people and resources. As much as I have realised these leadership qualities, I havealso realised that without a good followership no leader can be successful (Drucker, 1994). As the student representative of the cohort, I represented the class, organised the class and also moderated or intervened between different groupsand nationalities whenever conflict of interest came up. As the leader of the class, I was always conscious of my conduct especially in class as I had to lead by example.Trying to be the centre of attention in a group used to be a quality people disliked about me. As a last child in a family of ten now nine, I have always been shown much attention by my family. The module has improved me professionally, that it is possible to get more admiration within a group when you let others express themselves without fear of intimidation. I have developed the skills of letting others see the brighter side of a colleague whose ideas maybe rejected due to perceived lack of substance.The skill of being listened to is listening effectively to others as they express themselves in their own words or world. The module has taught me that everybody has something to offer when given the chance. My colleagues admired me for this quality such that when they encountered problems in their groups, they approached me for advice or intervention. To the best of my ability I was able to successfully intervene in such situations with the confidence of a conflict resolution expert.Lastly, being in a class of people from diverse cultures and traditions, I havedeveloped emotional and cultural intelligence skills in dealing with people during meetings or discussions. The module has taught me that it takes an emotionally and culturally intelligent person to understand people’s perspective on issue especially when there is a lag in communication.In relation to the self appraisal log, I scored myself 65%. I actually should score more than this because of my willingness to improve the necessary organisational behaviour required to become successful manager. I have observed that in striving to improve, there should be a continuous communication and regular appraisal with ones’ inner self to determine the level of progress being made.Further reading to be found on the appendix.CONCLUSIONWith reference to the case study, it has been observed that the most appropriateremedy to the problems observed is effective communication. According to McKenna (2006) effective communication including active listening and feedback is thelife blood of any process or project in an organisation. Kreitner et al (1999) is of the opinion that great benefits lies in teams of culturally diverse individuals, but such benefits cannot be realised unless managers and team members learn and adopt cross cultural communication skills. Robbins and Judge (2007) confirmed that clear communication fosters motivation among teams and also help organisation save cost on operations.

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