For teams to be effective and produce the best possible results, a combination of many factors, both negative and positive are usually in play. One crucial factor in this success is the environment under which the team operates. For the best team climate, the management and team members must cope with several conditions and acquire some characteristics that enhance support and interdependence among the team members. This paper aims at describing these conditions and others that may influence the success of any team.
Enhancing creativity, innovation, and ultimately success, there must be multiple sources to draw from. In a team, these multiple resources may be considered as each different team member’s view of the task. Diverse knowledge normally stemming from the diversity of the group improves the creative potential of a team. The potential is usually fulfilled by engaging in creative interpersonal processes during teamwork. However, this diversity can be damaging to this process due to tension; hence, preventing the realization of this potential. This differing views or ideas to the task at hand is referred to as creative tension and despite the conventional wisdom that discerns tension, creative tension is an important aspect of developing a supportive environment for a team to thrive in. Members of a team can recognize the differences in their opinions by discussing their disagreements. Therefore, through this aspect, the team can consider the task at hand more carefully. In most cases, each differing opinion contains some level of truth in it and by challenging each other; these truths may be combined with efforts of solving the problem presented to the group. Todorova (2011) provides evidence that the conflicts have a positive effect of bringing about the diversity of information in team performance, and this makes it an important mechanism for information processing. Alsever, Hampel, and Roberts (2014) present a good example of how conflict can be used to channel success by discussing the case of Noodles and Co. In this concept, Kevin Reddy, who is the CEO of Noodles and Co., took the bold step of hiring Dan Fogerty as his Chief Marketing Officer despite Fogerty’s past conflict with the acting president Keith Kinsley at a previous job they had worked together. Fogarty and Kinsley are the complete opposite of each other in personality, style, and even skills. Kinsley is a former accountant who is highly predictable due to his knack for routine while Fogerty, on the other hand, has a background in advertising, dislikes routine, and likes to try out new things. Despite Reddy having to mediate many debates between the two, they finally compromised on a road trip together to one of the company restaurants, which Fogerty says, was like a couple’s therapy and now everybody understands the common goal.
Challenging tasks and objectives usually set up a supportive environment for teams to thrive in. Challenges may present themselves in many forms ranging from the complexity of tasks, tight deadlines, among others. When teams are faced with new challenges, effective teams will usually turn to each other to try to combine their ideas to solve the problem. Through this interdependence, team members become invested in each other, creating personal bonds as well as investing their efforts on the challenge at hand. These bonds ultimately bring trust, which is a strong component of effective teamwork. IBM chief scientist Dharmendra Modha was tasked with a challenging project of developing a chip, which imitates the human brain. Besides the already difficult objective, he was faced with another difficulty in the form of communication. Members of his team could not come to an agreement in their digital communications. Therefore, to solve this, Modha employed a method called six thinking hats. Through this method, members were supposed to characterize their arguments with colors with white representing facts, red representing emotions, black for discernment, green for representing an idea and yellow for optimism. Through this, Modha was able to convert a challenge into a fun and collaborative activity channeled towards solving the task, which also enabled shy and meek participants to be able to represent their ideas.
Collaboration, although popularly likened to teamwork, is more intense than the latter. Collaboration usually involves individuals coming together to work as one communal entity towards solving the organizational problems. Participants set aside their personal differences, achievements, or egos to work at the same level and contribute equally towards a project. When Hewlett-Packard decided to create a subsidiary of their software division, the executives were torn between the possibilities of selecting a name that would express the true nature of the value they planned to bring to customers. Eventually, they settled on the name CoCreate, which informs the users that their CAD software was designed mainly to help engineers work closely together. The book “No more teams1” by Michael Scharge inspired the decision according to them. By this title, Scharge does not mean that teams are out rather he implies that the word “team” has been politicized a lot in organizations and as such, it does not truly express the importance of true collaboration. Scharge says collaboration is the development of a communal brain involving interactions, feeding on each other’s ideas, and questioning other member’s assumptions, eventually building upon each other’s work. Collaborators do not always get along, but they argue as they improve on each other’s work. Collaboration is important because often tasks are too complex for a single individual with one or two specialties. Solutions require a combination of skills to complement each other. For instance, the collaboration between Steve Jobs and technician Steve Wozniak in the formation of Apple computers reflect the power of individuals who come together (Teague, 1997).
Many managers who believe in micro-management has adopted the colloquial phrase, which states that “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” This unwarranted monitoring and other forms of invasive evaluation have a negative impact on the creation of a supportive environment. Lack of freedom among members of a team usually brings tension and lack of confidence among the members. In fact, members become anxious and feel that their job is insecure, especially in the working environments. The result that follows is usually poor quality of work because it has been completed in haste. Lack of control over their obligations also makes people lack initiative, productivity, and eventually the spirit of teamwork. Managers or team leaders should have confidence in the members of their team. There are no absolute policies or practices, and increased scrutiny may at times be justified. However, because micromanagement presents itself in a negative manner, preventing or eliminating it is a recommended approach towards the creation of a vibrant and healthy working environment. Management that is too invested in monitoring usually leaves the employees craving for leadership and direction. A balanced approach is the most appealing and strategically effective way of the management aspect (Presutti, 2006).
The effectiveness of a team is greatly increased by supporting and encouraging team members to take the initiative. The support provides a basis for risk taking, generating ideas, and a collaborative flow of ideas. Innovations and major breakthroughs are usually a result of mutual support. Indeed, lack of support among team members hampers creativity because team members are not motivated to think beyond their daily routine. Innovation is the key to surviving in the current market where competition is the order of the day.
It is important for all parties, management, and team members alike to be able and willing to provide the required resources for the completion of the task. Resources come in different types and nature, including all individuals who are involved since they are referred to as human resources. Time as a resource is important because the members of the team must find enough time to carry out the task. On the other hand, the management should find time to review what the team is doing. An example of other resources could be the availability and access of information. Team members need the right information to help them process the task. In fact, the available resources support or aid in the fulfillment of the task. In this case, a great idea may be in existence, but its potential might not be fulfilled due to lack of the right resources. In fact, there are daily contexts where teams are involved, which show why resources are the key to success. For instance, a simple demand for footballs required by the school’s main team would facilitate their training or funds to implement a school project. In the context of national issues, a hospital would require resources for integrating modern technology to counter both new and existing diseases.
In conclusion, it is clear that management and competencies of team members go a long way in determining the success of a team. To achieve this, team members need to have a clear understanding of the task, enhance the spirit of loyalty, encourage trust, and finally yet importantly, share information with their team members.