The aim of this report is to investigate the conduct of the team selected to promote the new product that the company intends to launch in the near future. The main particular interest will be the characters of members of the team and the effect of such characters on the success of the team. It will also give recommendations on the way forward towards the resolution of this conflict among the members of the team.
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The main purpose of this report is to investigate the problems facing the group of four which was formed with the mandate of designing market entry strategies for a new product that the company intends to launch soon. The team is composed of three men and a lady all from the same department at the same employment level. After its formation, the group was left with the role of selecting its leadership.
However, these team members have in most cases engaged in a war of words since no one seems to be ready to accept the views of the other. To function effectively, the team needs to have a team leader who should give guidance to the team (Cornfield et al 2001). Leadership is a process in which a leader is able to get the support of those he intends to lead. A leader should exercise emotional intelligence in order to lead effectively (Weisbord 2004). This leader should be in a position to solve conflicts that can and always arise when people interact through various activities.
Conflict is not always bad as many may take it to be. Sometimes conflict can be constructive if well managed (Wheelan 2005). However, when taken on a personal level, conflict can bring the group down and make realizations of the objectives of the formation of such a group to be a thing of the past.
Communication among team members is also important as this will play a role in the way contributions are made and in the manner in which members of the group relate. Conflict is always bound to arise in teams due to varying opinions and values. It is, however, the way conflicts are handled that determines the success or failure of the team (Storey 2007). As members of the team, all decisions made are binding to all members.
Therefore, there is a need to ensure all members participate by contributing their views on the matter under discussion. Negotiation skills are also important for a team’s success (Marchington & Wilkinson 2005). A team needs resources to effectively carry out its functions. It has to compete for these resources with other teams and departments within the organization. Therefore, negotiation skills are important if the team has to win the support of the concerned departments and eventually successfully sell its ideas to everyone.
The successful operation of the team has been hampered by a number of factors. There is a struggle for leadership which has seen members try to outdo each other in the meetings. No one seems to be ready to subordinate his views in favor of the contribution of others. As a matter of fact, each member of the group seems to be more interested in his own views. Communication seems to be a problem in the team.
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Some team members are not open to discussing while others choose who to communicate with and who to exclude. This lack of proper communication has led to conflicts among team members. As a result of this conflict, the progress of the team has been quite slow with the prospect of attaining its objective looking to be very hard or impossible. This conflict has also led to the attack of some members’ personal life and character by other members of the group.
The existence of ego among team members has also led to a lack of consensus on most occasions since most members feel that their views should be taken as the best even before their analysis to identify their feasibility. Due to this, decision-making has not been easy especially for Karen who is a victim of male chauvinism from some members of the group who regard her inclusion in the team as inappropriate.
In summary, the team is ineffective as a result of lack of leadership and proper management of the team, poor communication among team members, constant wrangles among team members, inability to negotiate within order to win them over to the views of a contributing member, and lack of proper decision-making mechanisms.
Team Management and Leadership
Leadership is about the ability to formulate the vision for the team, communication of this vision, and assistance to the people to help them comprehend and therefore to buy your ideas. A manager on the other hand should ensure the vision is successfully implemented (Kakabadse et.al 2004). For a team to run successfully, it must have acceptable leadership and management. The team leader should try to involve everyone as much as possible.
This can be done by first identifying the tasks that need to be done by the team. Then, the team manager should assign different tasks to team members who should then carry them out and share the outcomes with other members of the team (Maxwell 2009). To avoid the frustration of members, each member should be assigned a task that matches the person’s abilities, experience, and also his competence.
The team leader should also try to motivate the team to work towards the objectives set. He should know what motivates each member of the team to work. To identify what motivates a member, the team leader should be keen and learn the behavior of each and every member. It is the motivation that will actually drive team members towards the realization of their goals as individuals as well as team members. In light of our team, on its formation, the main objective was laid down, but management and leadership were not. There is no motivation to work in the group and the required cohesion is lacking thus teamwork is not there.
Communication is a very essential tool for any working environment. It offers understanding and expression among team members. It is through communication that members are able to express themselves and offer their responses concerning various issues surrounding them. The success of a team depends heavily on the effectiveness of communication within the team and also with parties outside the team. Most of the team’s decisions are arrived at from brainstorming activities (Burke & Cooper 2000).
Without proper communication, this cannot be achieved. Members should also engage in active listening to enable them to get the views of others well. In relation to outside parties, communication is essential to understand the expectations of these parties for the group. In the case of Karen’s team, this component is missing. Some team members are not open to discussions while others selectively decide who to share with and who not to share their ideas with. There is no effective communication among these members. Each member of the team needs to know exactly what is expected of him or her.
No member of the team should feel less important or consider another member as taking advantage of him or her. Force should not be used to get a team member’s view considered neither should members attack others’ character to intimidate them to accept their views. To overcome all this and to have a team member’s views considered no matter how divergent they may be from other members’ views, the ability to negotiate is important. It is important, however, to engage in a negotiation that leaves everyone in a win-win situation (Mackin 2007). This kind of negotiation helps members to avoid developing hard feelings towards others who may be considered to have won the negotiation at the expense of others.
The main challenge in Karen’s team is the lack of this essential skill. Some members are not able to win over, others to their views. Others find it necessary to use other means that leave some members with bad feelings.
Reaching decisions in a team is not easy. Proper mechanisms of reaching a decision should be put in place by the team leader. Therefore, the team leader cannot make decisions on behalf of the team. For effective decision-making within the team, input from all members of the team is required. The first step towards effective decision making involves the ability of members to listen to the views of other members and analyzing them critically before reaching a consensus (Dyer & Dyer 2007).
It should be accepted that each team member has the right to view the problem in question from his or her perspective and to introduce his or her own thought concerning the problem. Before reaching any conclusion, a consensus must be reached. This is important as it deals with the problem of group dominance by some members. In the case of Karen’s group, there are no proper mechanisms to arrive at a decision. This has led to some members trying to dominate group decisions by using means likely to affect the relationship among team members.
Conflict within the team is not entirely bad. Its outcomes depend on the way it has been handled. Conflicts within the team are bound to arise due to divergent views of team members. As a matter of fact, conflicts can indicate the effectiveness of a team (Maxwell 2009). Most effective teams always have conflicts as members of the team feel free to air their views and to criticize the views presented by others. Though conflict within the team should be encouraged, it should not be allowed to go overboard. The case of conflict in Karen’s group is extreme and does not support the realization of the goals of the team.
Conclusion and Recommendation
A serious problem exists in Karen’s group. If this problem is left to continue, then the team will either fail to achieve its objectives or will come up with suboptimal results. Therefore, this report recommends that Karen should take full leadership of the team. She should develop a charter that clearly outlines the tasks that need to be performed and the objectives behind the formation of the team. From this charter, she should assign each team member a role to play depending on the skills and competence of each of them (Maxwell 2009).
Consultations among team members and team members with parties outside the team should be encouraged. The team leader should chair all sessions. She should encourage brainstorming of ideas. Member’s views should be taken into account and proper analysis should be done before reaching a conclusion on which views to take into account in making decisions and which views to discard. Respect among team members should be observed.
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Members should treat each other with due respect and importance whereby they should not see each other as a rival, but a colleague. It is also of essence that all members should be allowed to participate equally without fear or intimidation. This will facilitate free interaction among members and this will enhance teamwork among the members. Mechanisms should be put in place to handle conflicts and to deal with dissatisfaction among members (Maxwell 2009). In solving these conflicts, members need to acknowledge the existence of the conflict.
Therefore, any member who thinks a conflict exists should present the view to the team leader or during the team’s sessions. Then, the team should discuss the effect of the conflict on the teams’ performance and finally agree on the best way to handle issues leading to the conflict.
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