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92892761 Armstrong s Handbook of Management and Leadership

92892761 Armstrong s Handbook of Management and Leadership

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Published by: Andrews Dwomoh on Nov 17, 2012
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Teams can provide the ‘elusive bridge between the aims of the individual employee and the

objectives of the organization, [they] provide the medium for linking employee performance

targets to the factors critical to the success of the business’ (Purcell et al, 2003). This is an

important aspect of managing performance. How it is applied will be related to the following

factors that affect team performance:

the clarity of the team’s goals in terms of expectations and priorities;

how work is allocated to the team;

how the team is working (its processes) in terms of cohesion, ability to handle internal

conflict and pressure, and relationships with other teams;

the extent to which the team is capable of managing itself – setting goals and priorities

and monitoring performance;

the quality of leadership – even self-managed teams need a sense of direction, which

they cannot necessarily generate by themselves;

the level of skill possessed by individual team members (including multi-skilling);

the systems and resources support available to the team.

Team performance management processes

Team performance management involves the team in agreeing work and process activities and

conducting team performance reviews. The aim should be to give teams and their team leaders

the maximum amount of responsibility to carry out all activities. The focus should be on self-

management and self-direction.

Managing for Performance 69

Setting work objectives

Work objectives for teams are set in much the same way as individual objectives (see Chapter

4). They will be based on an analysis of the purpose of the team and its accountabilities for

achieving results. Targets and standards of performance should be discussed and agreed by the

team as a whole. These may specify what individual members are expected to contribute.

Project teams will agree project plans that define what has to be done, who does it, the stand-

ards expected and the timescale.

Setting process objectives

Process objectives are also best defined by the team getting together and agreeing how they

should conduct themselves as a team, under headings such as:

interpersonal relationships;

the quality of participation and collaborative effort and decision-making;

the team’s relationships with internal and external customers;

the capacity of the team to plan and control its activities;

the ability of the team and its members to adapt to new demands and situations;

the flexibility with which the team operates;

the effectiveness with which individual skills are used;

the quality of communication within the team and between the team and other teams

or individuals.

Team performance reviews

Team performance review meetings analyse and assess feedback and control information on

their joint achievements against objectives and project plans. The agenda for such meetings

could be as follows:

1. General feedback review:

progress of the team as a whole;

problems encountered by the team that have caused difficulties or hampered


helps and hindrances to the operation of the team.

2. Work reviews:

how well the team has functioned;

review of the individual contribution made by each team member – ie peer review;

70 Approaches to Management

discussion of any new problems encountered by individual team members.

3. Group problem-solving:

analysis of reasons for any shortfalls or other problems;

agreement of what needs to be done to solve them and prevent their reoccurrence.

4. Update objectives:

review of new requirements, opportunities or threats;

amendment and updating of objectives and project plans.


Appelbaum, E et al (2000) Manufacturing Advantage: Why high-performance work systems pay off, ILR

Press, Ithaca, New York

Armitage, A and Keble-Allen, D (2007) Why people management basics form the foundation of high-

performance working, People Management, 18 October, p 48

King, J (1995) High performance work systems and firm performance, Monthly Labour Review, May, pp


Purcell, J et al (2003) People and Performance: How people management impacts on organisational

performance, CIPD, London

Stevens, J (2005) High Performance Wales: Real experiences, real success, Wales Management Council,


Sung, J and Ashton, D (2005) High Performance Work Practices: Linking strategy and skills to performance

outcomes, DTI in association with CIPD [Online] http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/corpstrtgy/

Thompson, M and Heron, P (2005) Management capability and high-performance work organization,

The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16 (6), pp 1029–48

Varma, A et al (1999) High performance work systems: exciting discovery or passing fad? Human

Resource Planning, 22 (1), pp 26–37


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