Discuss and evaluate how teams function

The essay will give an insight into how teams work and function; and how one could integrate into teams effectively and eventually lead them. The writer will critically analyse and explore the nature of teams, factors that make a team function effectively and poorly and recognised theory of motivation and its impact upon the team cohesiveness and productivity. The concept of leadership and how it can impact upon a team, its dynamic and productivity will be analysed along with how a leader can have a positive and negative impact upon the function of a team; how a leader can develop, support and inspire a team. In addition the writer will draw conclusions at the end.

A team consists of at least two people coming together for a particular purpose and or aim from different background or culture (Huston, 2006 & Hannagan, 2008). Some of the nature of teams is building relationships and encouraging individuals to participate in activities, completing task, meeting deadlines, managing projects and taking on contracts depending on the team.

The accomplishment of team goals is the member’s highest priority; this is a distinguishing character of a team. To the team the most vital business at hand is the success of the group in reaching the goal that its members, collectively and with one voice have set: There may be strong personalities, possess highly developed specialized skills, and commit themselves to a variety of personal objectives they hope to achieve their activities. Members support one another, collaborate freely, and communicate openly and clearly with one another (Quick, 1992).

The dynamics of group takes into account the task or the purpose, for which the group was meant for, and also the maintance and or support of the group (Huston, 2006).

There are two dimensions of team functioning: The task the team is required to carry out, and the social factors that influence how members experience the team as a social unit. The purpose in creating a team in work organisations is with the expectation that the team will carry out tasks more effectively than individuals and so carry out further organisational objects overall. Strategies and processes employed by team members to carry out that task and consideration, is vital for understanding how to work in teams. At the same time team is composed of people who have a variety of emotional, social and other human needs that the team as a whole can either help to meet or frustrate (West, 2004).

To function effectively team members must actively focus upon their objectives, regularly reviewing ways of achieving them and the team methods of working.

The team must look back at the ways in which it provides support to members in order to promote the members well-being, how conflicts were resolved and what is the overall social climate of the team.

The fully functioning team represents a team which is high in task and social functioning, the extent to which the team reflects on and modifies its objective, processes, task and social support strategies appropriately in changing circumstances (West, 2004). Such team tends to have good levels of mental health among team members, high task effectiveness, innovations and sustained viability which means they are likely to be able to and want to continue to work together over time. Then there is the cosy team high in social functioning and low in task functioning. There is support a good deal of warmth and cohesion among members, but the ability to get the task done effectively is low. As a result its viability is threatened, although team members wish to continue to work over a period of time. The dysfunctional group the team is low on both task and social functioning; the reason for this is team members are dissatisfied with both interpersonal relationships and with the sense of achievement and quality of work. The cold efficiency team is a team in which task functioning is high, but poor social functioning damages team viability and the mental health of members. The member would not want to continue working in a team that they perceive as providing little social support and which has a poor social climate and levels of innovation will be low (West, 2004).

There are types of team for example advice and involvement team, production and service team, project and development team, action and negotiation team. Tuckman (1965) identified five stages of group development: forming, storming, and norming, performing and reforming; each of these stages must be achieved for a group to become a team. Forming is the initial stage of the team which means that individual’s role and responsibilities are not yet clear and is highly dependent on the leader for guidance. Storming this is the second stage which means that decisions are not made easily within the group; team members compete eagerly with the other members for position in order to establish themselves within the team. Clarity of role increases with a lot of uncertainties. Some groups may form within the team with power struggles but the team needs to stay focus on its goals to prevent becoming distracted with emotional and relationship issues. Norming is the third stage consensus and agreement are formed amongst the group members and the overseeing of the group leader; roles and responsibilities are clear and accepted and big decisions are made by the group members’ agreement with smaller decisions being given to individuals. The team commitment and unity at this time would be strong. This will progress to the team discussing and developing its’ process and working styles with general respect for the team leader. Performing this is the fourth stage where there is tactically awareness; there is an apparent recognition of it is doing. There is a clear vision among the team and will be able to function with any input from the team leader.

The team will be able to work through their conflict and resolve it quickly along with necessary changes to the teams’ structure and processes and is able to work towards achieving their goal.

Barriers to the team not working effectively are loss of efforts, low creativity, social loafing, poor decision making and not having an appropriate task (Toofany, 2007).

According to Huston (2006), Skinners (1953) research on operant conditioning and behaviour modification; based on a consistent reward or punishment system people could be conditioned to act in a particular way. Behaviour that is punished or goes un-rewarded goes away and behaviour that is rewarded or seems to be rewarded will continue to carry on. No one wants to be punished, this could contribute to the teams productivity however the knock on effect could bring about disharmony in the team and cause individuals not enjoy their work.

A simple definition for a leader is one who influences and guides direction, opinion and course of action; the meaning of the word suggest one being very clear about one’s value, taking risk, and having a willingness to seek partners and collaborators who will commit to the common good (Huston, 2006).

Taylor (2009) Leadership is seen in terms of unifying people around values and then constructing the social world for others around these values and helping people to get through change (Stanley, 2009). The definition seems to capture these concepts – the implication of a person who has a vision, bringing people together, determining values, facilitation- and emphasises the focus for change that one encounter in practise. Leadership is required to meet the reforms and the modernisation agenda. This requires courage, resilience and commitment (Stubbs and Forbes-Busford, 2009).

The complexity of the process of leadership outside of an organisational context leadership has been defined as the process of moving a group or groups in a direction through mostly non coercive means (Huston, 2006).

There is debate on the subject leadership as to whether or not one is born to be a leader or can be trained to become a leader according to Huston (2006) there are short comings in relation to research has to whether one is born to be a leader.

There are different leadership styles that consist of behaviour patterns that tries to influence people; directive and supportive behaviours. Directive behaviours helps members of the group attain goals by giving direction such as setting time lines and defining goals. Directive behaviour tends to be one way communication for example what is to be done and how it is to be accomplished. Supportive behaviour helps members of the group to feel comfortable in regards to oneself and fellow co worker and the situation. This involves two way communication and responses to emotional and social support of others. Leadership style can be further broken down into four categories; high directive and low supportive style, this style focuses on goal achievement and little time spends on supportive behaviour. In using this style the leader gives instructions in achieving the goal and carefully supervising the group members. The second style is high behaviour and high supportive behaviour; the leader focuses on communication in achieving goals and the group members’ needs. This involves the leader taking part with the group members by giving encouragement using the group members’ input. The leader is the one who makes the final decision on what and how to achieve the goal. The third approach is a high supportive and low directive style; the focus is not exclusively on goals but uses supportive behaviour so the group members’ skills will surface around the task to be accomplished. This type of leader will quickly give social support to group members and recognition. The fourth leadership style will be low support and low directive styles; the leader offers less social support and fewer tasks input, helping the group members confidence and motivation in reference to the task. This type of leader has lesser involvement in planning, control of details and goal clarification and lets the group members take more responsibility for undertaking the task. This type of leader gives the group members control and stop from intervening with unnecessary social support (Northouse, 2010).

Citing Kimball and O’Neil (2002), Taylor (2009) states that to ensure a thriving health care workforce, nurse managers must acknowledge and value the unique contributions of their staff, and ensure that staff strikes a balance between their working and personal lives. Tips to enhance nurse recruitment and retention such as developing staff empowerment and trust, and integrating new staff into workplace environments, but concludes there is no single formula for success.

To keep hold of nursing, staff nurse managers should focus retention strategies for creating cohesive work teams.

Good leadership is essential for management effectiveness (Scoble and Russell, 2003) and because nurse leaders both form the largest group of hospital middle management and lead the most numerous group of employees in the NHS the quality and style of their leadership is crucial to the success of their organisation Nurse leaders are responsible for strategy, communication and team building. stipulates that leaders should understand and respect others, as well as valuing the unique contribution of all team members, leaders should concentrate on team building processes (Reynolds et al 2003).

Effective leadership in practise is important for successful practise development and the enhancement of patient care (Fitzsimons et al 2006) and is part of the role of all nurses working in primary care (McIntosh and Tolson 2009).