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

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Page 3: Working in teams

Most people belong to a number of different teams. Some of these teams will be formal teams while others will be informal teams:

  • A formal team is a structured team, created for a specific purpose. It will have a leader and everybody within the team will have a distinct role. For example, a football team would be aformal team. There would be a team captain and everybody in the team will have a position to play when each game starts.
  • An informal team has no structure and everybody within the team has equal status. They often come together by chance. An informal team provides an opportunity for everybody to work together. For example, a group of friends might arrange a holiday together.

Within all organisations there may be a number of formal and informal teams. Informal groups are particularly good at providing support for formal groups. For example, if a number of people at work are friends, this may support the work of their formal team. Informal groups help as they provide opportunities for sharing ideas and communicating across departments. For instance, the operations and finance managers might meet over lunch to discuss progress.

secondary_008Team behaviour

Within teams the behaviour of team members may be influenced by group norms. These are acceptable behaviours for each member of the team. These informal rules tend to regulate how everybody works. For example, a group norm might be for a very dynamic and positive approach to work. This may encourage team members to compete to achieve higher levels of output. Individual members of the team may influence a group’s behaviour. For example, highly motivated individuals may push the team to work harder. They may also help them to achieve higher standards. However, on the other hand, a team member who produces shoddy work may negatively affect a team’s performance.

The management style will clearly influence how teams work. An autocratic manager will tend to provide top-down instructions with little or no consultation. On the other hand, a democratic manager may delegate authority to individuals. Teams or team members may also be empowered to make decisions if they feel their manager values their opinions.

Benefit of work-related skills

In the current economic climate it is important to ensure that young people are equipped with work-related skills. UK businesses require good quality leaders and CMI is involved in meeting this challenge by providing a range of qualifications that help people to develop their management and leadership skills which in turn will improve their employability skills. These enable them to be effective in the workplace and also provides them with opportunities to become successful managers and leaders of the future.

Chartered Management Institute | Using teamwork to build a better workplace