Necessary Leadership Skills – Interpersonal Skill 5 - Competency in Team Building and Group Process

Dr. Donna L. Roberts

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The team building/group process skill is an interpersonal competency involving “the influencing of groups so that tasks, relationships and individual needs are addressed” (McLagan & Suhadolnik, 1989, p. 38). These competencies are encompassed in the overall function of organizational development (OD). OD refers to a series of planned systematic changes, typically referred to as interventions, introduced into an ongoing organization to improve performance effectiveness a well as provide opportunities for personal growth, development and adjustment (Cherrington, 1991).

Team building is “an organizational development technique for improving a work group’s performance and attitude by clarifying its goals and its member’s expectations of each other” (Friedman, 1987, p. 574). Team building strategies utilize the group process - a predictable sequence of stages characteristic of group formation and evolution. This development process includes the following stages: forming, storming, norming and performing, whereby members adjust and learn to function as a group (Rachman & Mescon, 1987). In the final stages of the group process the members have formed a cohesive and cooperative unit and developed group norms which have a powerful influence on motivation and productivity.

A typical team building exercise involves a group discussion where members diagnose the group’s strengths and weaknesses, identify barriers that hinder group functioning, clarify goals, and suggest necessary changes to create an effective and cohesive group. From this consensus alternative solutions are evaluated and change objectives are developed which lead a realistic and acceptable plan of action. Effective fully-functioning teams assist members of the group in satisfying their own personal needs while eliciting cooperation to achieve group goals. Building successful team increases the effectiveness and quality of work life within organizations.

References

Cherrington, D. J. (1991). The Management of Human Resources. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Friedman, J. P. (1987). Dictionary of Business Terms. New York: Barron’s.

McLagan, P. A. & Suhadolnik, D. (1989). Models for HRD practice: The research report. Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training and Development.

Rachman, D. J. & Mescon, M. H. (1987). Business today, 5e. New York: Random House.

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