Teams are made up of people in an organization, working towards a common team or organization goal. Teams are critical to the success of an organization. The case of Blake Sports Apparel and Switch Activewear reveals the implications of a team in an organization. Characteristics of successful teams reveal factors in team leadership, formation, and team dynamics, and possible ways of ensuring collaboration among team members.
Characteristics of successful teams are about the organization’s culture, individual contribution, and team processes. The culture of a successful team appreciates definiteness of purpose, exploits the appropriate resources, have a suitable leadership, and roles are defined explicitly (Mickan and Rodger, 2000, p 202). Team members are committed to the goals of the team; they are skilled and equipped with appropriate knowledge; they trust one another, and are flexible to change with emerging issues. The team processes are cohesive, manifest smooth coordination, communication, conflict management, and rational decision making.
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Independent teams are vital to an organization in that they enhance creativity and decision making on some levels. For instance, the sales team of Blake Sports Apparel and Switch Activewear implemented an auto-replenishment system independently, which is one of the successes of the company (Groysberg and Baden, 2017, p. 2). Also, independent teams are suitable for encouraging individual employees and targeting customer base using specific techniques.
Some critical factors to consider when leading teams at various levels of an organization include communication, team size, and roles. Team leaders must ensure they communicate effectively with their seniors, colleagues, and subordinates to avoid adverse implications of miscommunication. For instance, one employee at Blake Sports Apparel and Switch Activewear admits that miscommunication between executive members reduce employee morale and allegiances (Groysberg and Baden, 2017, p. 10). While team leaders at low levels mostly communicate with members mostly in-person, communication at the executive level is mostly through electronic media (Polzer, 2003, p. 21). Therefore, at the executive level, communication is a critical factor, which team leaders must master to eliminate demerits of electronic media such as misinterpretation or ignorance of messages. Also, team leaders at all levels ought to establish the appropriate leadership and collaboration methods for particular sizes of a team and assign roles according to the skills, knowledge, and passion for employees.
Identifying the appropriate members of a team is paramount to the success of a team. As mentioned earlier, individual aspects are critical to the team’s success. Therefore, team leaders ought to identify members who have particular psychological and behavioral attributes. Such attributes include passion, intelligence quotients, self-motivation, and discipline, among others (Groysberg and Baden, 2017, p. 3). Another aspect to consider is the number of team members. According to Polzer (2003), a successful team as the optimum number of employees, who are manageable by the team leader. The last aspect is gender and age. While ensuring the selection process is discriminatory, one may choose members depending on the appropriateness of age and gender.
Some critical factors to consider in ongoing team dynamics are the frequency of interactions and information sharing. Team dynamics concerns organization changes that affect team processes. Therefore, managers must consider the ramifications of dynamics on interactions among employees. For instance, they must ensure that crucial meetings are not adversely affected by dynamics. Notably, dynamics may arise in the team meeting, where managers ought to ensure a favorable atmosphere for open and collaborative team meeting interactions (Northouse, 2016, p. 370). In that, team members maintain their productivity amid team dynamics. Another critical factor is information sharing. Polzer (2003) explains that a successful team maintains interactive information sharing through team dynamics. Withholding information and secretive behavior among individuals or teams are likely to reduce the productivity of teams. For instance, when the sales rep at Blake Sports Apparel and Switch Activewear admits were denied account information, they could not compare performances, thus underperformed (Groysberg and Baden, 2017, p. 6). Thus, information sharing and interactions are critical in team dynamics.
Active team collaboration and leadership initiatives require diversification of team members and the development of interpersonal skills. Diversity entails heterogeneity of team members’ characteristics. Studies have found that diversified teams perform better than their counterparts (Cheruvelil et al., 2014, p. 32). Therefore, the first step to creating a collaborative team is a selection of members across all demographics, experiences, and personalities. Interpersonal skills entail the social sensitivity and emotional engagement of employees, which are critical to the success of a team. According to Cheruvelil et al., social sensitivity entails cognitive intelligence and social inclusion (2014, p. 33). Emotional engagement entails aspects that ignite or fuel collaboration and teamwork. The include perception towards roles, communication, priorities, respect to leadership, among others. In that light, some viable strategies to ensure collaboration of teams at Blake Sports Apparel and Switch Activewear are the formation of new high-performance teams, training of employees in interpersonal skills such as communication skills, redefinition of roles, and leadership style, and evaluation of information sharing.
Compassion is paramount in ensuring respectful and healthy collaborative teams. Thus, I would take time to learn the diversity of employees and appreciate their cultures and religions. That way, I would understand every employee’s perception concerning a process and understand their behavioral patterns affected by culture or religiosity. Besides, I would gather information through feedback from all members and engage all of them equally to enhance inclusion towards the achievement of the company’s goals. That way, I will have empowered teams through compassion, respect to diversity, and engagement.
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Cheruvelil, K., Soranno, P., Weathers, K., Hanson, P., Goring, S., Filstrup, C., & Read, E. (2014). Creating and maintaining high‐performing collaborative research teams: the importance of diversity and interpersonal skills. Frontiers In Ecology And The Environment, 12(1), 31-38. doi: 10.1890/130001
Groysberg, B., & Baden, K. (2017). Blake Sports Apparel and Switch Activewear: Bringing the Executive Team Together ^ 417048. Retrieved 21 May 2020, from https://store.hbr.org/product/blake-sports-apparel-and-switch-activewear-bringing-the-executive-team-together/417048
Mickan, S., & Rodger, S. (2000). Characteristics of effective teams:a literature review. Australian Health Review, 23(3), 201. doi: 10.1071/ah000201
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed.). Retrieved September 25, 2018, from https://lc-grad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=http://gcumedia.com/digital-resources/sage/2015/leadership_theory-and-practice_ebook_7e.php
Polzer, J. T. (2003). Leading Teams. Harvard Business School,1-23. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from https://viewer.gcu.edu/YMF93U.