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Management, Leadership and Teams

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Your manager stated the following in a recent meeting:

"Teams are not effective, as they waste time on procedures and not issues, and further require leadership skills that most managers do not have."

After the meeting you began to talk about this statement with some of your co-workers.

Discuss and debate that statement. What do you think of the statement? Do you agree/disagree? Why?

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Solution Preview

Please see the attached response (also presented below), as well as highly relevant and supporting information. I hope this helps and take care.

In the discussion between you and your coworkers, many different questions would probably come up, such as what make for effective teamwork? What would an effective team look like? What skills make a good team player? What behaviors are harmful to group work? (i.e., controlling behavior, inability to listen, sarcasms, etc.)? What type of skills would increase the likelihood of being a successful team member? Are some manager's better team leaders than others? In fact, research suggests that managers who use participatory style leadership make good team players and teams are shown to increase the synergy of the overall decision-making process. Conversely, authoritarian style does not allow for good teamwork.

1. "Teams are not effective, as they waste time on procedures and not issues..."

In fact, teamwork has proven to be an effective and increases productivity and the quality of decision-making also increases. However, to come to this conclusion, the coworkers would discuss various questions to see if we could look at some of the pros and cons of teams, in order to evaluate the statement "Teams are not effective, as they waste time on procedures and not issues, and further require leadership skills that most managers do not have."

In today's global society, teamwork is mandatory, not an option. Therefore, what skills would make for a good team player? This includes manager, but following this section, we will look more specifically at managers as effective leaders.

Listening and Critiquing

1. Active Listening - Communication is a two-way street, so it is important that you listen carefully to your teammates when they are speaking. Don't tune speakers out or get caught in the trap of planning ahead to what you want to say next. You may miss an important detail, and in the worst case, you repeat the detail you missed because you were not listening.

2. Ask Questions - If you hear something that confuses you, you should ask about it. Maybe you missed a detail or maybe you remembered something others forgot. In any case, it's important that everyone understand exactly what's going on. Chances are that if you're confused, then others are too.

Conversely, if a team member asks you a question, you should answer it courteously. The team member may be bringing up a crucial detail that could make or break the team's plans.

3. Constructive Feedback - Although it is important to evaluate proposed ideas and suggestions, critiques need to be presented with tact. Some tips that may help:

a. Don't express an opinion as a fact - You may hate orange text on green, but that is an opinion unless you can cite a legitimate reason for your concern (such as that this color combination may be harder to read).
b. Explain your reasons - If you do have an strong opinion, explain why you feel that way. This will allow others to evaluate your comments more effectively.
c. Restate the original idea - To be sure you have correctly understood someone else's idea before you respond to it.
d. Compliment another's idea - Even if you do not think it would work, some part of it may be valid and could be usable in another form.
e. Respond, don't react - If you feel like you're ready to explode, give yourself a few seconds before speaking.
f. Don't interrupt
g. Critique the idea, not the person
h. Be courteous
i. Avoid jargon

Chat a Little - A meeting does not have to be 100% business. It is perfectly fine to ask team members how they are doing or what they are planning next weekend. This can really help ease tension when disagreements occur later. Of course, you should not socialize for the entire meeting.

Presenting Ideas

These tips also work if you are presenting an idea.

1. Body Language Awareness - If you are having a bad day or are feeling unhappy with the team project, you could be giving off negative signals with body language or a harsh tone. Even if you are saying the right thing, team members may still react negatively if you send the wrong body language signals.

If you are feeling tense before going into a meeting, try taking a deep breath to relax.

2. Humor - While you would not want to make fun of your teammates or tell jokes that may offend others, there are plenty of topics that your team mates may find humorous - some of them may even be project related.

3. Patience - You may have the best idea, but not everyone may understand it the first time. The same question may be asked more than once. A member may forget a deadline unless reminded. Disagreements may occur over small details. Or conversely, team members may decide an issue too hastily, and may have to backtrack later. But, in most cases, it will all work out.

Global Communication: Online Communication Tips

Your teammates or your instructor may ask you to communicate through e-mail, a bulletin board or chat. In fact, e-mail or bulletin boards can be an effective way to get more input from shy teammates. Below are some ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses and debates the following statement: "Teams are not effective, as they waste time on procedures and not issues, and further require leadership skills that most managers do not have." The statement is also evaluated in terms of whether one agrees or disagrees with that statement, and why. Supplemented with four exceptional resources on leadership, teamwork and participatory management techniques.

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