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Aug24
Leading Teams

How does teamwork affect the success of an organization? What should a leader know about the dynamics of teams and how they function?

The Center for Creative Leadership recently published the results of a survey on teams. The report, The State of Teams: A Center for Creative Leadership Research Report provides insight to the challenges, needs and functioning of teams in today's organizations.

The report indicates that effective leaders should:

Make teamwork central to organization. Teams play a valuable role in organizational success. Ninety-one percent of respondents agreed that "Teams are central to organizational success; only 11 percent agreed that "Teams are on the decline."

Be multi-talented. Team leaders must be strong communicators and diplomats who also have project management skills, such as organization, decision-making and prioritization. Personal attributes-such as intellectual ability, flexibility and courage-are also aspects of an effective team leader.

Collaborate. Collaboration across teams is a significant determinant of success. Leaders face the challenge of collaborating with multiple teams who may have different - even competing – goals and must be able to work across boundaries, negotiate, network, influence and build relationships.

These recommendations were based on the data that identified three variables thatair traffic.jpg may prove most challenging for team leaders:

  • Conflicts. More than 90 percent of respondents reported that they serve on more than one team at a time. In addition to the obvious resource challenges, these findings suggest team leaders are dealing with the challenges of multiple team memberships and may be saddled with members who cannot fully commit to a task.
  • Distributed workforce. Approximately two-thirds of respondents reported that team members are geographically dispersed. Teams and leaders may struggle to effectively coordinate and communicate with increasingly virtual teams.
  • Limited Resources. Only half of respondents said "sponsors are in place to guide team success." This is potentially a challenge for team leaders because they may be asked to navigate their organization without advocates.

These challenges appear to most often result in teams that function below the optimal level. As the work force becomes more distributed and teams work across geographic and cultural borders and use a multitude of communication platforms, leaders will be required to focus more on managing across teams, resolving conflicts, allocating resources and facilitating communication.

André Martin and Vidula Bal published The State of Teams: A Center for Creative Leadership Research Report. Click here to read the complete report.


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