Surveys are essential in organizational context as they help to obtain relevant information regarding a wide range of organizational issues. The survey provides an opportunity for the target group to express their implicit opinions and views on an organizational issue (Devey, 2014). Teams in organizational context are a good example of a target group that may necessitate a survey to understand underlying team issues. Therefore, the present report presents the findings of a survey contacted to investigate issues affecting a cross-functional team that was not performing well.
Leadership in an organizational context can be challenging, especially when leading a cross-functional team. I was recently appointed as the leader of a cross-functional team to lead the marketing efforts of company XYZ. However, I have noted with concern that the team is not performing well as we consistently miss our targets. Therefore, I recently conducted a survey to investigate the issues undermining the team’s performance. I utilized the High Performing Work Teams survey as a tool to diagnose the issues affecting the team (Bens, 2018). The findings of the survey revealed that the performance of the team was undermined by a number of issues.
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Efficient communication was highlighted as one of the issues undermining the team’s performance. Over 80% of the team members asserted that the mission and goals of the team were not properly communicated. The team members asserted that they were aware of the team’s overall mission but did not understand their individual roles within the team (Parker, 2008). The majority argued that they did not understand the team’s long-term goals as well as the procedures of ensuring team quality and effectiveness. Evidence from the responses of the team members indicated that communication was one way with no avenue to provide feedback on the instruction provided.
The findings of the study also revealed that the rules and procedures were not clearly defined to support collaboration and cooperation. 65% of the team members revealed that they were unaware of their individual roles within the team. As such, they did not understand the tasks they were expected to complete to achieve the team’s objectives (Levi, 2010). It resulted in duty and responsibility overlaps that often led to conflicts. Therefore, team awareness of individual responsibility was lacking. As a result, it was difficult to maintain a clear focus on high-priority tasks. The team members attributed the problem to a lack of clear procedures that encourage members to participate equally and provide feedback directory to team members. They noted that the team had procedures for managing common problems, but did not have contingency plans for unexpected events. The problem was compounded by lack of communication about the team’s meeting agendas. Therefore, a significant percent of the team members were unable to participate in team meetings or follow-up updates about the team’s actions.
Cultural diversity was also cited as undermining interpersonal relationships between the team members. The team is culturally diverse as it is a composite of professional marketers from different cultural backgrounds. Rather than cultural diversity promoting creativity by bringing different perspectives to the team, it contributed to divisions due to inherent biases and prejudices (Lumsden, et al., 2010). Stereotyping was highlighted as one of the cultural diversity issues that undermined interpersonal relationships between team members. Therefore, team members were afraid of expressing their ideas out of the fear of being ridiculed. In addition, it was difficult for the team members to complement each other by providing positive feedback and recognition. As such, the effectiveness of the team in completing tasks and meeting its deadlines was adversely affected. It was also difficult to conduct team meetings as arguments rather than discussions dominated the meetings. In some cases, the team meeting was adjourned without covering all the agendas to avoid conflict turning into confrontations.
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The team members also revealed that they were not satisfied with their jobs and their morale was at all-time low. Inherent biases and prejudices undermined team collaboration and cooperation (Wheelan, 2014). As such, some of the team members felt that they did not get sufficient support from the team members to achieve their individual responsibilities. They were dissatisfied and disillusioned as members of an ineffective team that was consistently missing its target. 40% of the team members suggested reconstituting the team to include members who shared a passion for marketing and were willing to work together to achieve the organizational marketing goals. On numerous occasions, the team’s objectives and goals were not met because that members were not operating as a collective unit. Individual ambitions got in the way of achieving the team’s objectives and goals.
Conflict resolution was also another factor that undermined the team’s effectiveness as different styles and opinions were encouraged. Individual differences among team members were encouraged by allowing the team members to exhibit different styles and opinions regarding conflict resolution (Parker, 2008). In most cases, the dominant demographic group often determined the outcome of conflict resolutions. In this context, white males were the dominant demographic group in the team. Therefore, most of the decisions favored this demographic group because the majority of the team members voted in favor of the opinions suggested by team members belonging to this demographic group. As such, it was difficult for the minority demographic groups to achieve their outcomes in conflict resolutions.
The findings of the study revealed that a two-way communication strategy to promote efficient sharing of information and ideas among the members is necessary. The current one-way communication strategy does not provide an avenue for the team members to provide feedback on instructions, therefore, the team members feel less engaged in the decision-making process (Rock & Grant, 2016). Rather than merely receiving instructions, the team members should be able to provide relevant feedback that reflects their innate perceptions to encourage an informed decision making process.
It is also essential to clearly define the roles of each team member to promote team awareness of individual contributions to the organizational goals and objectives. Lack of defining individual roles within the team creates ambiguity, which often results in task and responsibility overlaps (Sinek, et al., 2017). If left unchecked it can result in conflict and confrontations, which can undermine the team’s performance. Defining individual member responsibilities should be coupled with procedures to guide interactions between the team members. This approach will foster cooperation and collaboration among the team members.
Embracing cultural diversity will help to foster strong interpersonal relationships between the team members by eliminating inherent biases and prejudices. Cultural diversity should encourage creativity and Innovation rather than ignite conflicts and confrontations (Salas, et al., 2013). Therefore, recognizing and embracing cultural diversity is imperative to promoting team harmony. Embracing and recognizing cultural diversity will encourage the team members to freely share their ideas and opinions without fear of being ridiculed.
Declining job satisfaction levels can be addressed by embracing cultural diversity to encourage the recognition of cultural differences. It will help to foster strong interpersonal relationships between the team members which will bolster the team’s performance (Wheelan, 2014). Although some of the team members suggested constituting the team, cultural diversity training can help to address inherent biases and prejudices that undermine collaboration and cooperation between the team members. Embracing cultural diversity will enable the team to operate as a single unit to achieve set objectives and goals.
The team’s approach to conflict resolution should neither encourage different styles of conflict resolutions or biased opinions. Establishing an inclusive conflict resolution approach will help to dilute the influence of the dominant demographic group within the team (Lumsden, et al., 2010). This approach will instill confidence in the team members regarding the conflict resolution approach utilized to resolve team issues. It will also encourage participation in the conflict resolution process by all the team members.
The findings of the survey revealed that the performance of the team was undermined by communication issues, cultural diversity, conflict resolution approach, and failure to clearly define team members’ roles and procedures guiding collaboration between the team members. These issues can be addressed by recognizing and embracing cultural diversity in addition to establishing a two-way communication strategy to encourage feedback on instructions provided. In addition, it is essential to clearly define the members’ roles as well as the procedures guiding collaboration between the team members in addition to endorsing an inclusive conflict resolution approach to address issues that may arise within the team.
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Available at: https://hbr.org/2016/11/why-diverse-teams-are-smarter
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