Team-based organizations filter decision making down to all levels of management, while traditionally structured organizations rely on top management to make decisions. Team-based organizations require that all employees participate in the decision-making process. Employees feel they are part of the total organization, rather than members of an individual department. Consequently, team-based organizations run more efficiently and effectively, giving them a competitive edge in today’s global markets.
Teams of employees achieve progress toward a common goal while completing individual tasks. Cooperation is critical in team-based organizations. So, labor and management must work cooperatively. Team-based organizations exist across all types of industries in many nations. Globalization requires people in all industries and all over the world to work cooperatively to produce goods and services. Teams must solve production problems and market goods and services. Manufacturing companies must work as a team with suppliers around the globe to produce high-quality goods while keeping costs under control.
By eliminating layers of management, employees get to make decisions without getting multiple approvals. This streamlines processes and lowers administrative costs. Additionally, employees feel empowered and morale increases. Because people on the team work toward the same goal, they focus on the task at hand rather than petty interdepartmental conflicts requiring management intervention. Using a team-based structure, employees typically solve problems themselves without having to consult superiors, which shortens the amount of time required to complete activities.
When people work on teams, they share the responsibility for completing work on schedule. If one employee can’t complete the task, another team member can fulfill the obligation. This ensures the work gets done no matter what happens. By creating a comprehensive roles and responsibility matrix, accountability gets clearly defined so misunderstandings and conflict don’t arise. Regular meetings ensure that communication flows from one team member to the next. Additionally, connected team members can use social media technology, including wikis, blogs and forums, to keep other employees informed.
When people work in teams, creativity and innovation increase through brainstorming and process improvement discussions. Instead of focusing on individual achievement, teams strive for a common goal, such as product or service development and delivery. Working together, they collaborate to solve problems using their collective knowledge and experience. People working closest to problems typically have the best ideas for solving them. In a team-based structure, the leader empowers her subordinates to take action.
Adopting a team-based structure enables you to staff your projects with resources that complement each other. According to management expert Meredith Belbin, successful teams require action-oriented members, people-oriented members and thought-oriented members. Action-oriented team members challenge the team to improve processes, encourage other team members to get things done and ensure work get done on time. People-oriented roles guide the team, provide support and get resources for the project. Thought-oriented team members come up with ideas, evaluation options and provide specialized knowledge. This balance ensures that the team considers all angles to complex problems and solves them efficiently
Because team-based organizational structures lack management structure by design, team members need to recognize the need for good communication, effective project management and efficient resource allocation. These teams need competent, highly trained team leaders. Additionally, teams need policies and procedures that define how work gets done. This helps balance the lack of traditional hierarchical structure with the ability to respond quickly to team needs without consulting layers of ineffective management.
Team-based organizations group employees based on function. Self-contained teams stay focus on their tasks. This limits contact and exposure to other functions. Individual teams may develop ideas and products in isolation without realizing the impact on other company employees, customers, products or services. This leads to less organizational collaboration and sharing best practices, which could result in higher costs, increased waste and decreased customer satisfaction. For example, teams may not be able to negotiate the best deals with suppliers if they work separately.
Because a team-based organization enables teams to make decisions quickly, teams undergo constant change. This instability may result in confusion and chaos if team leadership does not step in to communicate effectively with team members, sponsors and stakeholders. Decisions made by team consensus tend to take longer to reach. Teams may experience increased conflict, tension and stress as a result.
Disadvantages associated with team-based organizational structure result in less organizational consistency. Each team functions independently without ensuring alignment with each other. While teams can act in an entrepreneurial spirit that fosters innovation and creativity, the lack of bureaucracy does not ensure a more-cooperative workforce. Lateral team-based organizations need to establish liaison roles, task forces and other project management structures to increase the company’s ability to process information in an interdependent, complex environment. Without these mechanisms, miscommunication, stress, absenteeism and poor performance tend to result.
Steps to improve:
Organization can make their team more effective by establishing leadership. If your employees trust your judgment, they will work effectively even when you’re not around. So it’s recommended that before you start team building, you need to develop the right kind of leadership skills. Also it would be better to establish relationships with employees. Learning more about each member of team, their skills, how they are motivated and their likes and dislikes. Building relationships between employer and employees will be great. As your team starts to cooperate more, examine the way they work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation and trust amongst the team.
Once relations are established between employees, it’s time to help team work together effectively. Encouraging the team to share information, both amongst themselves and within the wider organization will be very effective way. Finally, you can begin officially establishing your team through creating team values and goals, as well as evaluating team performance alongside individual performance. Be sure to include your team in this process, so they know what’s required and agree with it.