Managing People Module 5 Managing Developing Teams Essay

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Managing People. Module 5 Managing developing teams Module 6 Managing Performance. Develop a -page scenario a work team familiar. Describe work team organisational context operates. Include appendix.

Managing and developing teams and managing for performance when creating a new corporate software training manual

Team scenario

The Bruce Tuckman model of team development

Managing people:

Managing and developing teams and managing for performance when creating a new corporate software training manual

In my past place of employment (which will be known as company X), the members of the IT staff and members of other departments were forced to collaborate on a joint effort to create a corporate manual to explain the company's new computer operating system to all employees. Proper safety Internet 'hygiene;' dealing with the operating system on a daily basis, and orienting workers to the various new applications were all to be described. In other words, effective communication was needed between staff members to create a comprehensive manual and to ensure that the transition to the new system was seamless. Transitions are always painful, but conflicts between the worldviews of the staff members on the team made developing the manual extremely different. There was a clash between the worldview of the technical IT staff and mangers from HR and other departments who were more 'people-oriented.'

Eventually, the project did arrive at a successful conclusion, but unfortunately there was a great deal of conflict that could have ultimately been avoided, had a more coherent goal and objective been established at the outset. A more firm sense of a goal combined with effective leadership at the beginning of the formation of the group would have been preferable. The conflict is described below in the context of one of the most popular modalities of team development, the Bruce Tuckman model of forming, storming, norming, and performing.

Team scenario

At company X, a new software system had been instituted. This required the formation of a work team comprised of technical staff from the IT department, HR staff who had in-depth knowledge of the types of personnel who would be using the new system, and technical writers from the IT department. While the composition of the work team for this particular position certainly 'made sense,' different staff members had not worked together very much, because of the relatively enclosed structure of the organization. This proved to be extremely challenging at first, and the group members were in continual friction, partially because there were two group leaders from different divisions with equal power over the development of the project. More effective ice-breaking techniques would have been useful at the beginning, as well as the development of a clearly-articulated common goal and vision statement. However, despite these initial obstacles, the barriers were eventually overcome and a final, high-quality product was produced that was useful for all organizational members.

The group conflict actually proved to be illustrative not of particular individual personality problems of various group members, but of larger organizational problems. There was a distinct lack of unity between all organizational divisions which had previously proved to be problematic and these underlying issues were exacerbated by the creation of the work team with a joint goal. Instead of a sense of higher organizational priorities, the priority was given instead to team membership in factions and to certain group members who provoked conflict, although over time a bridge was built between the different organizational members.

The Bruce Tuckman model of team development and the progress of the team according to the theory

Any person talking about the importance of teamwork in modern organizations must deal with the Bruce Tuckman model of forming, storming, norming, and performing (and in some versions of the model, adjourning). Tuckman developed his model to describe the sometimes-rocky transition workers experience when they must operate in the context of work teams. At the onset of the development of most teams, the team is not really functioning as a 'team' but more as a group of disconnected individuals. They must gradually get to know one another during the forming stage, trying out different roles and exploring different group orientations. The group leader is relied upon for guidance. During the forming phase, there is "high dependence on leader for guidance and direction. [There is] Little agreement on team aims other than received from leader. Individual roles and responsibilities are unclear" (Chapman 2013). In an ideal situation the group leader or leaders are "prepared to answer lots of questions about the team's purpose, objectives and external relationships" (Chapman 2013).

However, the leaders themselves at company X were unclear about the general direction of the project and as a result; the standard operating procedures were often ignored. Meetings often devolved into talking about the project rather than actually doing the project and despite all team members being part of the same email work "chain,' often there was a stony silence outside of the scheduled meetings even online. (Fortunately, meetings were scheduled on a relatively frequent basis, to ensure that channels of communication remained open to some degree).

During the forming stages of the above-mentioned team, unfortunately there was no clear leadership at the onset of the project. HR and the IT department had a joint responsibility to produce a high-quality training manual, and neither department was given priority. At the beginning, this seemed to be a sensible decision, given that the information conveyed had to be clear yet also technically adept. However, the IT staff had little knowledge of the human-focused language of HR, while HR had very little technical knowledge. There was a lack of clarity in terms of whether this document was primarily to be a technical work or if it was to be user-friendly in a more conventional sense.

The second phase of the Tuckman model is that of storming. Even the most well-regulated and well-managed teams will have a certain degree of built-in friction. During this phase: "decisions don't come easily within [the] group. Team members vie for position as they attempt to establish themselves in relation to other team members and the leader, who might receive challenges from team members" (Chapman 2013). The 'storming' phase is not necessarily a bad thing, since an overly harmonious group with a very unified worldview may not be in conflict, but ultimately this group will not be creative and productive. "Conflict within a group can allow dissatisfied members to voice their complaints. And, the group may restructure itself to deal with internal dissension and dissatisfaction. However, conflict within a group often leads to internal tension and disruption. Member's attention may be diverted from the goals of the group to focus on the conflict" (Smith n.d.). This had been the case in the past when IT staff members alone developed training manuals as an enclosed unit -- there was a great deal of agreement and cohesion amongst members of the group, but the final manuals were often unwieldy and overly technical for laypersons to understand. The challenge of the 'storming' phase is to use it so it brings light was well as heat to the group discussion.

During the storming phase, even under the best of circumstances, "clarity of purpose increases but plenty of uncertainties persist. Cliques and factions form and there may be power struggles. The team needs to be focused on its goals to avoid becoming distracted by relationships and emotional issues" (Chapman 2013). A critical component of the 'storming' phase is the need to find equilibrium and to learn how to compromise. There is often a low level of trust and people place their personal agendas ahead of the needs of the greater good of the group. During this phase, the different members of the team were extremely reluctant to cede points to the other side, and there was a tendency to frame issues in terms of 'right' and 'wrong' versus the pros and cons of making different decisions.

On our particular work team, the storming period was quite prolonged, although the conflicts were less personal in nature than ideological. The IT staff was very proud of the 'creation' and development of its new operating system and wanted it to be very clearly described in the corporate manual. However, HR found IT needlessly obsessed with what it regarded as minutiae rather than something valuable for all persons in the organization to be familiar with on a daily basis. The leader of the HR component of the team often was visibly exasperated with the head of the IT department, and this created a kind of bipolar factionalism between the two sides. There was no single, calm, steadying leader pointing out the ultimate goal was to produce a high-quality manual not simply to engage in a turf war.

However, productive possibilities are possible during the 'storming' phase. Eventually, the two major leaders of the different departments were able to come to a certain level of rapprochement. The notion of leaders 'coaching' team members was helpful, given that when it became clear that none of…[continue]

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