THE CHALLENGES AND IMPORTANCE OF TEAMWORK
Teams have become an important part of organizational dynamics in the last quarter-century. Increasingly, American companies have recognized that empowering workers to make decisions at "lower" levels of the organization results in better decisions, improved employee morale, and a greater stake in the long-term success of the organization. However, organizations continue to struggle with the challenges associated with teamwork, and team members often face challenges and difficulties that can hinder their productivity if they are not resolved effectively. This research considers the challenges associated with teams, and ways to overcome those challenges successfully.
When teams come from different parts of the organization, as is often the case in a participative environment, the team leader may not be the most senior staff member. This means that all participants must guide the process, but also yield to the team leader for guidance. Effective team leaders, therefore, carefully consider their areas of influence and let their subordinates know which decisions they themselves will make and which other groups or individuals will be responsible for. At the beginning of any problem solving activity, the group should reach an understanding about how the decision will be made. If the group's ideas are not binding (that is, if the group is acting in an advisory capacity), its status and the reason for the status should be made clear. If the decision for eventual action is, in fact, the group's responsibility, the particular decision making method should be understood and discussed (Leonard, Beauvais & Scholl, 2005).
A team environment provides participants with a baseline of common understanding and information that cannot be replicated in a memo or through less personal means. Such involvement results in a greater sympathy toward the complexities of the problem, and sets the groundwo...