Involving team members in Decision making

Developing Effective Teams – The Manager’s Role
During this exercise you will have an opportunity to identify and examine the
characteristics of effective teams and to explore ways in which you can act to encourage
the development of such characteristics.
Section A
Working on your own, think back over your career and identify the most effective
team with which you have been involved (either as leader or member). Then
identify the least effective team. Name these teams below and make brief notes
about what made the team effective or ineffective.
Most effective team
Reasons for effectiveness:
Least effective team
Reasons for ineffectiveness:
Managing and developing effective teams
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Developing Effective Teams …2
Section B
In your small group select your ‘Top Four’ factors for team effectiveness, and spend a
few minutes on each one, identifying and discussing specific actions that managers can
take to encourage their development.
Be specific and really focus on what would be involved in following through a particular
course of action. Record your ideas below:
Top Four Factors
Actions by Manager
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Team Goals
Every team needs a shared goal, something to work towards.
In the broadest sense a team needs to have a sense of common purpose. All team
members should be able to answer the question: ‘What are we here for?’ in pretty much
the same way.
A team will also have medium term project goals that require them to work as an
interdependent unit. And it will have short term task goals requiring them to work
together to get things done.
What are yours?
What is your team’s common purpose? Do all members understand and share this
What shared goals does your team have?
Are they SMMMMART?
How do you currently monitor progress?
What could you do to improve clarity and enhance commitment to shared goals?
‘The quality of our expectations
determines the quality of our action’
Andre Godin
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Specific - Goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen.
Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do.
Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model.
WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate,
lead, develop, plan, build etc.
WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
HOW are you going to do it? (By...)
EXAMPLE: A general team goal would be ‘Organise 2016 conference on 20th century
Spanish Art’ but this then needs to be broken down into specific individual goals eg.
‘Marta to fix venue for 400 attendees by Christmas.’ ‘Joan and Li to produce 2 day
agenda complete with speakers and times by end November.’ ‘All to brainstorm best
way to publicise at meeting on 25 Nov. Then Bob to follow up.’
Measurable – Decide clear criteria for success. When you measure progress, it helps
team members to stay on track, reach their target dates, and experience the exhilaration
of achievement that spurs them on to continued effort required to reach their goal.
To determine if the goal is measurable, ask questions such as......How much? How
many? How often? How will we know when it is accomplished?
Matter – You should be able to explain it matters to achieve this goal. It must be
important enough to make the team feel it matters and for you to bother to follow up on
Mutual – It often takes more than one person’s commitment to achieve a goal. You as
the manager may need to take action to support the team member in achieving their
goal eg. Introduce them to an expert, provide coaching in a new skill.
Monitored – You can’t just leave your team members to get on with it and then check at
the next appraisal whether the goal has been met. If it does matter, you will need to
follow up and monitor progress with them, helping them to resolve any blockages.
Achievable - To be achievable, a goal must represent an objective toward which team
members are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; set
goals which challenge and stretch (but provide the support they need to achieve them!).
Goals which are too difficult are demotivating.
Relevant - Goals set must be clearly linked to the strategy and objectives of the team as
a whole. Goals must be agreed so that an individual is not allowed to pursue his/her
own agenda at the expense of the team
Timed – Your goal should have a time limit – ‘within the next week’ ‘by Christmas’
Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards. Time must
be measurable (ie not ‘asap’ or ‘as a matter of urgency’) and realistic.
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Motivating individuals
List the members of the team you supervise (by initial). Then, write what you know about
what motivates each individual.
Team member
What motivates him/her
‘Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it."
Lou Holtz
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Task, team, individual: the theory
the task
Develop the
Manage the
From: John Adair, Effective Teambuilding
John Adair's Action-Centred Leadership model is represented by the 'three circles'
diagram, which illustrates three core management responsibilities:
achieving the task
Building and maintaining the team or group
managing individuals
The reason these three overlap is because, firstly, the task can only be
performed by the team and not by one person; secondly, the team can only
achieve excellent task performance if all the individuals are fully developed; and
thirdly, the individuals need the task to be challenged and motivated.
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Your responsibilities as a manager for achieving the task are:
 identify aims and vision for the group, purpose, and direction - define the activity (the
 identify resources, people, processes, systems and tools (inc. financials,
communications, IT)
 create the plan to achieve the task - deliverables, measures, timescales, strategy and
 establish responsibilities, objectives, accountabilities and measures, by agreement
and delegation
set standards, quality, time and reporting parameters
control and maintain activities against parameters
monitor and maintain overall performance against plan
report on progress towards the group's aim
review, re-assess, adjust plan, methods and targets as necessary
Your responsibilities as a manager for the group/team are:
establish, agree and communicate standards of performance and behaviour
establish style, culture, approach of the group - soft skill elements
monitor and maintain discipline, ethics, integrity and focus on objectives
anticipate and resolve group conflict, struggles or disagreements
assess and change as necessary the balance and composition of the group
develop team-working, cooperation, morale and team-spirit
develop the collective maturity and capability of the group - progressively increase
group freedom and authority
encourage the team towards objectives and aims - motivate the group and provide a
collective sense of purpose
identify, develop and agree team- and project-leadership roles within group
enable, facilitate and ensure effective internal and external group communications
identify and meet group training needs
give feedback to the group on overall progress; consult with, and seek feedback and
input from the group
Your responsibilities as a manager for each individual are:
 understand the team members as individuals - personality, skills, strengths, needs,
aims and fears
assist and support individuals - plans, problems, challenges, highs and lows
identify, develop and utilise each individual's capabilities and strengths
identify and agree appropriate individual responsibilities and objectives
train and develop individual team members
develop individual freedom and authority
give recognition and praise to individuals - acknowledge effort and good work
where appropriate reward individuals with extra responsibility, advancement and
 recognise and deal swiftly with individual performance and motivation issues
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Giving feedback
In 2s or 3s consider the following scenarios, making assumptions as necessary about
the background. Practise giving feedback to the individual in at least one scenario each
– then discuss how it went.
What worked well?
What could have been done differently?
A. Kay is new to your team. You are her manager. You have just overheard her in a
conversation with a colleague, promising to deliver a piece of work by the end of the
week. You know this promise is unrealistic given Kay’s other priorities.
B. You are Jim’s manager. He has recently completed a project from start to finish for
the first time. He has organised the work well, kept to deadlines and produced an
excellent end product. He also liaised effectively with stakeholders, from whom you
have heard positive feedback about his professionalism and problem-solving ability.
C. Leila has just given her first presentation to another team in the organisation. You
were sitting in. While she gave the right information, she mostly spoke to her notes
and to the screen behind her, rather than to the audience.
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Task, team, individual: activity
What would you do in each scenario, given the need to juggle all 3
Scenario 1:
You have just got an internal promotion to manage the team you have been working in.
The previous manager who left was very dynamic and you were a strong, cohesive team
which achieved good results under his leadership. Most of your former peers are happy
that you have been promoted, but one team member, Claire, applied for the post herself
and there is now some awkwardness in your relationship.
Scenario 2:
Some of your team members know a lot more than you do about the technical area you
work in. You don’t need to be an expert in these areas, but you are finding it hard to
manage their workload and assess their performance. You are concerned that they may
exploit your lack of expertise and just ‘do their own thing’.
Scenario 3:
You manage a very committed, hardworking team. All your team members work full time
(and often significant overtime) while one, Renata, works part time. You know that some
team members are unhappy that they have to deal with Renata’s phone calls when she’s
not there; this sometimes involves them in considerable extra work to meet client needs.
They feel that when she is there, she does not display the same team spirit; she just gets
on with her own work. Your team are currently under great stress to meet a project
deadline. You have just heard one of your team shout at Renata ‘How can you just sit
there in your little cocoon while the rest of us are working all hours to get this done?’
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Scenario 4:
Recently one of your team members has left and another has joined. This new recruit,
Paul, is deaf. You have noticed that the other team members have not made much effort
to integrate him into the team. At lunch time they go off together and leave him on his
own. When they chat, they ignore him. You are concerned at the impact of this on Paul’s
morale and his attitude to the job.
Scenario 5:
Your team is spread across two buildings. Recently 2 members of your team, Rosheen
and Jon, have been absent at the same time due to sickness and vacation. During their
absence, key tasks were left undone and phone calls were not returned. Other team
members told you that they could not do their absent colleagues’ work either because
they did not know what to do, or because they were too busy with their own work.
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Stages of Team Development
Teams mature and develop. Like individuals they have a fairly clearly defined growth
cycle. This has been categorised as having four successive stages.
Only when the first three stages have been successfully completed will the team be at
full maturity and able to be fully and sensibly productive.
Some kind of performance will be achieved at all stages of development, but it is likely to
be impeded by other processes of growth and the individual agendas. In many periodic
committees, the leadership issue, or the objective and purpose of the team, are recurring
topics that crop up in every meeting in some form or other, seriously hindering the true
work of the team.
FORMING The team is not yet a team but a set of individuals. This stage is
characterised by talk about the purpose of the team, its composition, leadership
pattern, and life-span. Each individual tends to want to establish her/his personal
identity within the team, make some individual impression, communicate
personal needs. It is crucial to the success of the team to move out of this stage
What can the team leader do to encourage this?
STORMING. Most teams go through a conflict stage when people start to push
against the boundaries established in the Forming stage. Storming often starts
where there is a conflict between team members' natural working styles. People
may work in different ways for all sorts of reasons, but if differing working styles
cause unforeseen problems, they may become frustrated.
Storming can also happen in other situations. For example, team members may
challenge your authority, or jockey for position as their roles are clarified. Or, if
you haven't defined clearly how the team will work, people may feel overwhelmed
by their workload, or they could be uncomfortable with the approach you're using.
Some may question the worth of the team's goal, and may resist taking on tasks.
Team members who stick with the task at hand may experience stress,
particularly as they don't have the support of established processes, or strong
relationships with their colleagues.
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If successfully handled, this period of storming leads to a new and more realistic
setting of objectives, procedures and norms. This stage is particularly important
for testing the norms of trust in the team. How willing are team members to be
honest and open? How do others react when they are?
What skills does the team leader need to manage this stage effectively?
NORMING – Harmony begins to prevail. People start to resolve their
differences, appreciate colleagues' strengths, and respect your authority as a
The team begins to consolidate and develop a positive sense of identity:
communicating openly
sharing information, ideas and providing constructive feedback
listening to each other’s views
asking each other for help
co-operating and supporting each other
establishing team ‘norms’ or acceptable ways of behaving
socialising together.
Co-operation on the task or project begins in earnest with a stronger commitment
to the team goal. Detailed plans are made and work standards agreed. You start
to see good progress
There is often a prolonged overlap between storming and norming, because, as
new tasks come up, the team may lapse back into behaviour from the storming
How can the team leader help the team to consolidate its sense of identity
and stick to agreed ways of working?
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PERFORMING – Now the team is really working well:
collaborating closely
surging ahead on the tasks or project
participating fully
achieving more than the sum of the individuals which comprise it.
The group’s tasks are well-defined, there is a great commitment to team goals
and high team morale. The team is highly task-focused and person-oriented.
There is intense mutual respect and group loyalty.
It feels easy to be part of the team at this stage, and people who join or leave
won't disrupt performance.
How can the leader maintain this level of performance by the team?
From: Bruce Tuckman, Developmental sequence in small groups (1965)
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Involving team members in Decision making
Decision making is the core process of working with your team. It is important to
understand that there are different levels of participation in decision making. The lowest
level of participation is telling people what you will do. One of the highest levels is that at
which everybody makes decisions together. You can even go one step further and
delegate a decision to the team, taking yourself out of the process altogether.
The following decision scale represents the levels of decision making that a team leader
can use in building team performance.
Level 7: Delegate with constraints
You ask the team to decide.
Specify any constraints.
Level 6: Consensus
Work with the team to reach a team decision.
Everyone supports the decision.
Level 5: Majority decision
Those in favour, those against.
Level 4: Form a relevant sub-group and decide
Ask for input from key people, make a joint decision.
Inform the rest.
Level 3: Gather input from the team and decide
Ask the team for their input during a team meeting, before deciding.
Listen to comments.
Level 2: Gather input from individuals and decide.
Ask for input from key team members before deciding.
Listen to comments.
Level 1: Decide and announce
Tell them what you have decided.
Ask them what they think about it.
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Ask yourself these questions to determine which level of participation is most appropriate
for your situation:
How much time is available?
How important is the decision ie. are the consequences of failure significant?
What information is needed to make the decision?
Is the problem well-structured so that you can easily understand what needs to
be addressed and what constitutes a good solution?
Is the team likely to accept the decision even if you make it yourself?
Are the goals of the team consistent with the goals the organisation has set to
define a successful solution?
Who needs to make the decision (authority and accountability)
Do you need buy-in from your team members?
Is there likely to be conflict in the team as to which solution is best?
What climate do you want to establish within your team?
In general, a consultative or collaborative style (Levels 4-7) is most appropriate when:
You need information from others to solve a problem.
The problem definition isn't clear.
Team members' buy-in to the decision is important.
You have enough time to manage a group decision.
An autocratic style (Levels 1-3) is most efficient when:
You have more expertise on the subject than others.
You are confident about acting alone.
The team will accept your decision.
There is little time available.
Adapted from The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model, 1988
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Decision making: Activity
Which level of decision making would you use for each of the following situations? Why?
Where should you go for the team Christmas dinner?
Is it appropriate to invest in new software?
How can a heavy workload be spread over a busy period?
How should we integrate a new University policy/procedure into our team?
Should you restrict or prohibit the use of social networking sites during working
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Team Building and Trust
Use this activity to reflect on your behaviour in relation to team building. If you are a manager but
do not have responsibility for all these areas, answer what you would do if you had this
1) My team are clear where we are heading.
2) All team members have agreed clear goals with me.
3) I hold efficient and friendly team meetings with written
action points.
4) I hold 1-1 meetings with staff with written action points.
5) I know what motivates individuals in my team.
6) I praise people for good work.
7) I give critical feedback in private.
8) I deal promptly with poor performance.
9) I deal promptly with unacceptable behaviour.
10) When things go wrong I problem solve rather than lay
11) I deal promptly with conflict between team members.
12) I use the expertise of my team members.
13) I involve team members in decision making where
14) I have clear downward communication with my team.
15) My staff feel comfortable coming to me when they have
16) I keep confidential matters confidential.
17) When appointing staff, I consider the skills base of my
existing team.
18) I ensure staff have a thorough induction package.
19) I appraise my staff effectively.
20) I know what work my staff are doing.
21) I actively work to develop the skills of each of my staff.
22) I encourage staff to help each other in their work.
23) My staff challenge each other constructively.
24) We celebrate success.
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Team Building: Action Plan
By now, you should have some clear goals for continuing to develop and manage your
team effectively.
Write them below. Make sure they are:
Area for development
Actions to achieve this development
‘Sometimes you just have to take the leap,
and build your wings on the way down.’
Kobi Yamada
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John Adair (1987) Effective Teambuilding, Pan Books
Christopher M. Avery (2001) Teamwork is an Individual skill: getting your work done
when sharing responsibility, Berrett-Koehler
Patrick Lencioni (2005) Overcoming the five dysfunctions of a team, Jossey-Bass
Marc Woods & Steve Coomber (2013) Beyond the Call, Wiley
Simon Sinek (2014) Leaders Eat Last, Penguin Business Article on Leading Virtual Teams by Dave Gould Article called Managing Virtual Teams by
Lisa Kimball Article called A bit of perfume:
Giving praise. Mindtools website well worth a browse for articles on Team management
and Leadership. Dan Pink’s talk on Drive: the
surprising truth about what motivates us. Animated version.
Managing and developing effective teams
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