Teams as working approach of organisations
Today ‘s organisations work supported by teams. The team’s form of work has the potential to act with power, adaptation and creativity. Teams form – to name only one aspect – larger networks than the ability of any individual. This equips them with an invaluable resource: They all have the capabilities, even under changing conditions, to perform strongly. In the increasingly digital and virtually-networked world this resource is essential. When the established matrix-organisation system-theorists, management visionaries, process-consultants and especially people employed in organisations during recent decades, the world today appears to be almost overrun by megatrends. The VUCA world invites organizations to have an agile set-up. Teams as the nucleus of the organization can do this. What enables them to do it? And what differentiates agile performing teams from others?
High-performing teams in a VUCA World
High-performing teams have developed mechanisms to coordinate their cooperation effectively, and develop this continuously. Coordination mechanisms include processes and interactions, as well as the design of effective relationships and networks. The focus on team processes inevitably converges at communication, the exchange of information and the ability to develop new solutions by mutual exchange. The superior advantage of interactions and processes in the collaboration is that they are changeable and more flexible than the organizational design.
Team processes as an engine of change
This article provides executives, practitioners and researchers an overview of the main team processes, that directly affect the current and future performance of a team. This is an excerpt of a general framework model, which is based on empirical findings on cause-effect relationships between leadership, team processes and outcomes. This framework model incorporates countless renowned insights of empirical psychological research. The framework model is titled “Team Leadership” and directs our attention to what is happening in the crucible of conditions, leadership, team processes and outcomes. The here chosen excerpt draws attention first to the internal team processes.
The, big 9 ‘ in Focus on Team Processes
Nine team processes are presented below. They act reciprocally on one another and can all be viewed as perceptible, describable, and – this is the most important point – as changeable. Common to them is their direct influence on the performance of teams in today’s organizations.
Model and Practice
An evidence-based, scientifically sound model needs its practice-test. If we do not dock on the real-life of executives and teams, could not translate their language and images of their cooperation in a diagnosis, and on this basis initiate and support change, we would be ineffective. Team Leadership has experienced this practice-test. Insights, experience and added value of a scientifically-based instrument meet the requirements of the practice – in workshops, with participants that reflect their practice in the organizational environment. They have opted to consciously reflect their cooperation and from it develop new impulses.
Insights from practice and suggestions
A first insight is the exchange between Bettina Kessler (BK), author of Team Leadership and managing director of a consulting institute in Hamburg, and Frank Gieth (FG), internationally experienced consultant and expert in the coaching of leaders, teams and organizations.
BK: Mr. Gieth, you have gained a wide experience with the framework model of Team Leadership. Could you kindly describe to us the context in which you used Team Leadership in workshops.
FG: In the past year I have used Team Leadership as a model in various trainings for German, Russian, Indian and Uzbek, as well as other international audiences. Participants in the training ere primarily trainees and managers from various industries with a focus on technology, services, industry, consulting and trade.
BK: What are the specific challenges in these workshops? And how did you use the framework model of Team Leadership?
FG: Especially participants with a scientific and technical background are sometimes critical of “soft” topics such as capacity for teamwork and the theme performance of teams seems very elusive. The scientifically-based approach of Team Leadership, which describes influencing factors very accurately and examines interdependencies scientifically, increases the acceptance thus in the described target group, and to actively deal with the issue. In addition, Team Leadership provides participants, based on my previous experience, the greatest benefits in describing processes and interactions in the team systematically and, at the same time, pragmatically. Hence, Team Leadership develops a frame of reference and provides a common language to make social interactions in the team “discussable”. Thus, Team Leadership makes an active contribution by reducing complexity in terms of teams and their performance, offering participants orientation in their organizations.
BK: What do you consider the added value of team leadership in your work as a coach for executives, teams and organizations?
FG: Interesting for me was the aspect of the high intercultural capability for me. In each target group – national as well as international – succeeded to convey with team leadership, a framework of reference for team processes. In training, the participants were able to draw the individual team processes efficiently based on their own reality and thus have a diagnostic tool able to analyse strengths and development areas of their own teams and derive targeted solutions for their next step. Capability consists not only in terms of interculturalism, but also in terms of different industries. Team Leadership can be used by executives of a consultancy just as effectively as executives in trade. Here participants have developed own ideas to use the model as a diagnostic tool for both their own teams, as well as organizational units within the company or whole companies. For many participants, being exposed to team leadership and the development of solutions to improve team performance was a highlight of the training.
Personal Bettina Kessler
Bettina Keßler is the author of Team Leadership, as well managing director of forum konzepte GmbH, a consultancy in Hamburg. On the website www.high-performing-teams.com she offers insights to the framework of the Team Leadership model. The consultant with a degree in psychology has more than 15 years experience in working with national and international companies and focuses on identifying diagnostic challenges, especially in teams and on managerial levels. Worldwide assignments in France, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, UK, Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Romania, et al., have continuously refined her outlook on intercultural issues and differences.
Personal Frank Gieth
Frank Gieth works in the field of international leadership development as a consultant, trainer and coach. His service offer can be found at www.frank-gieth.com. He has nearly 20 years of experience in international personnel and leadership development, combining experience from various HR roles within a company with the consulting practice for international companies. His intercultural competency has been sharpened by international assignments in Russia and Slovakia, the steering of international HR project, as well as the coaching of international participants within the context of trainings and procedural aptitude diagnostics.
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