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Effective Teams

CME asked:

Cultural boundaries today have been minimised to a great degree as we notice the different global faces around us in our work environment. Diversity is of great interest to organisations today and for many organisations today cultural diversity quotas are set to raise a company’s image and value.

To many individuals cultural diversity could slow down a progress of any team. However, it is an individual’s attitude towards his/her responsibilities, their maturity and motivation that forms a strong team. In addition, it is important to share the same goals which are challenging, yet realistic and achievable. Teams with diverse backgrounds form their foundations through comfort at the initial stages. It is in periods of high stress situations that a teams personalities start to evolve. Dominant, active and stubborn personalities start leading the groups and weaker members withdraw themselves from core responsibilities.

Many teams are able to work in perfect harmony; however, these working conditions are always short lived until the more aggressive members self-appoint themselves as leaders in the playing field. In many cases, there is more than one aggressive member on a team which leads to conflicts when each holds its ground. It is important though to maintain stability within a team and keep the working climate pleasant in order to achieve team goals, which is where a mediator’s effectiveness is important in order for teams to be constructively assertive and work collaboratively.

In addition, to aggressive, dominant members it is also common to find regular slackers in a team who tend to withdraw themselves from the team and their responsibilities. These types of members only become apparent once internal deadlines are not met within a team. It highly recommended addressing the issue earlier on rather than later when solutions are not so evident and motivation levels are difficult to rise. Furthermore, many teams also form sub groups, which are mostly emotional support groups and weaker members are never included or invited to be a part of. Hence, emotional damage is often a reaction to a withdrawing team member and a team must in accordance to avoid such situations from arising.

Behaviour is a function of individuals and situations, therefore, for any group to function effectively and efficiently, it needs to have its members proceed through the following stages of: initiation, seeking and offering information, clarifying objectives, conclusion and group consensus.

In conclusion, as much as it is an experience worthwhile to be part of an effective team it is more exciting building and strengthening one. It is through this experience we learn the numerous issues that may arise related to group processes namely, decision-making. However, research through observations has found that the differences in personalities and goals are the root cause of the development of conflict in any group at any given stage. It is also unlikely for extremely independent and stubborn personalities to co-exist without any conflict. Nonetheless, communication is vital in improving the functioning of a team. In addition, clear team goals need to be defined and agreed upon and most importantly, every member needs to feel as if they are an integral part of the team.

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