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Many changes are occurring at the workplace in today’s business environment. All these changes are geared towards enhancing employee productivity, so that firms can maintain a competitive edge in the market. Among the areas of improvement there is the way the work is handled in the organisation. Some firms are committed to building great teams to tackle projects, while others believe that solitary work yields most results. Both the collaborative and solitary work environments have their advantages and disadvantages (Maxwell, 2009).
Problems Team Face
Team work is faced with several challenges. Among them is the fact that in a team, there exist interpersonal differences amongst the team members that may lead to misunderstandings (Cardon, 2014). Employees may often disagree at the workplace and when brought together in a team, they may bring their differences along. Such unsolved personal wrangles may lead to inefficiency and lack of corporation as the team sets out to achieve set targets. Interpersonal differences often lead to infighting; thus, loss of focus on the team’s objectives (West, 2012).
Not all team members are necessarily team players. A team may be selected not because people in the team know each other, but rather to bring together the employees of various skills to work together. In as much as this may be done for all the right reasons, some employees are usually very negative when it comes to analysing or implementing other people’s ideas. Such negativity is seen when the new ideas are constantly rejected by one or more team members (Waddell, Jones & George, 2013). The end result will be little work done and low targets set, simply because some team members do not want to take risks. On the other hand, it could be that some members would not value what may seem as little contribution of simply ideas, but instead opt for more complex ideas. Either way, it becomes a problem for the team to function effectively with such negativity in the group (Maxwell, 2009). In addition, some employees et lazy and let others do all the work; thereby, reducing employee morale. Team works may lead to a lot of time wasting in analysing ideas and also discouraging the creation of new ideas, since most creative employees prefer to work in private (Cardon, 2014).
There may also arise a rather interesting problem when the team members appear to agree on everything everyone says. To make matters worse, the team members may be making decisions more hastily just to please their fellow group members. This should not be the case, since a team may end up making many wrong decisions due to ignorance. This may point out to another problem that a team may lack effective leadership; thus, the reasons for making rash and unchecked decisions (Waddell, Jones & George, 2013). It is crucial for any team to choose someone, who can act as a leader, delegate duties, and point out if the team’s objectives are being met or not. Ineffective leadership means that the team does not have a supervisor to regulate the team’s tasks, and for any organised and successful group of people, effective leadership is critical (West, 2012).
A team members, then, needs special assistance and encouragement to help them to improve on their teamwork. Once a team gets the support it needs in terms of the resources, such as finances, it gets motivated to work harder. To be able to get these resources, a team should have sponsors, who finance the team in the various ways.
Measures to Improve Team Work
Since team work is important at the workplace, several measures need to be put in place in order to ensure that teams work efficiently and in harmony. Since personal differences do arise at the workplace, a team leader should try his or her best to settle all the disputes that arise between the employees in a team (Waddell, Jones & George, 2013). Blame games should be highly discouraged. Some time off should be taken by the team members to evaluate if there are interpersonal differences that may be causing problems for the team. Such an initiative will not only removee tensions within the teams, but would also help to build better social ties at the workplace.
After all disputes are settled, an environment of openness should be established, where every employee feels free to contribute. Team members should be encouraged to participate by asking questions and also contributing their thoughts on the new ideas proposed. Such openness encourages clarity where problems arise. Employee productivity is enhanced when each employee feels confident that his or her input is appreciated by other members; thereby, seeing the need to do his or her best for the team (Waddell, Jones & George, 2013).
Different people bring to the table different skill sets when brought together in a team. Therefore, delegation of tasks would be very effective in ensuring the success of a team. Delegation of duties ensures that time is spent efficiently, since the tasks are given to the best persons that are skilled to complete them within the set deadlines. Moreover, division of tasks encourages specialization (Cardon, 2014). With specialisation, high quality performance is achieved, since duties are assigned to the best suited candidates with required skills or knowledge.
To maximise the success of a team, motivation should be given to the team members. This could be in a form of recognition for the work done. Rewards could be given out to motivate teams to work better or even simple thank you or congratulatory messages could be given out to the best performing teams (Lantz, 2011). Praise has been proven to boost morale; therefore, offering due praise to the best performing teams is certain to encourage the team members to do their best.
Many companies and institutions encourage team work in our day and age. No man is an island, and whether one likes it or not, there is something to learn from the people around us. Therefore, implementing teamwork is crucial for the success of many activities. Challenges that may arise should be tackled by the team, so as to collectively boost the performance of the team.