Using teamwork to build a better workplace
A Chartered Management Institute case study

Page 4: Team decision making

Teamwork can provide key opportunities for individuals as well as the organisation they work for. A team identity is an important benefit of team-working. This provides individuals with a feeling of belonging. It helps make the group work more closely together as they make decisions. This should improve motivation and performance as everyone seeks to contribute to achieving the best for all.

Using team skills

Within any team each member may have a range of different skills. These skills may be complementary. In other words, one person’s skills may support and help another member of the team. For example, if one person is particularly good with ICT applications such as spreadsheets, this may help to improve the performance of other members of the team. Members therefore draw upon each other’s skills.

For example, Netty works for Williams Lea, a global business process outsourcing organisation, and manages the print team. She emphasises that individual members should ask for help where required. As they do this, others should provide assistance. This helps team members teach each other new skills to enhance the performance of the team. Team morale is very important.

Effective team decision-making

The effectiveness of team decision-making may depend upon a number of factors:

  • The skills and abilities of the group members . Teams are often more effective when they have a mix of people who take on a preferred role, for example an effective team could include a person who comes up with ideas. It might also include somebody who could analyse those ideas, one who shows good judgement and somebody who simply makes sure that the work gets done and that the deadlines are met.
  • The size of the group . Sometimes the larger the team, the more complex the communication channels become. This can slow down decision making. Larger groups also require more formal structures to co-ordinate secondary_006responsibilities so as to avoid duplicating efforts.
  • The task to be undertaken . Small groups may better undertake urgent tasks. This may require their undivided attention. Teams are particularly good for dealing with complex and challenging tasks. This is because teamwork provides an opportunity for combining the skills and knowledge of each of the members. One team member may come up with a more efficient method of tackling a challenge that the other members had not thought of.

Meredith Belbin's work on team roles is important in extending understanding of how different roles affect the output of the team.

Chartered Management Institute | Using teamwork to build a better workplace



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