Misery Two Team Killers

Team killers are those actions or observations that despite the admirable intentions of managers immediately stop the progress of a team in its tracks or suppress the growth process. The following sections describe some of the ways in which team killers play out in an organization.

Codependent Behavior. Imagine a team meeting at which the IS manager asks a question regarding potential solutions or innovative ways of handling an opportunity currently challenging the organization. The silence in the room is soon broken, but not by a member of the group. Instead, the manager begins to answer the question. Like most managers, this ma nager mainly wants to contribute, share knowledge, and discuss ideas with the members of the group. Managers, however, are only own part of this team killer. The group membership contributes to the problem by deferring to the manager and waiting for direction.

The process of team building requires patience on the part of managers, because organizational members may have been functioning for several years in a dependent relationship. It will take deliberate new methods and time to make the change to a truly open environment.

Lack of Management Support. Managers who distance themselves from teams to allow for the natural growth of the group sever the informal, day-to-day conversations of the previous organizational relationship. Team members may infer that the manager does not care what the teams are doing or if they are successful. In addition, because the teams are more distant from what is happening in the organization, they end up feeling somewhat abandoned and isolated. IS managers must maintain informal avenues of communication as a source of information exchange and a demonstration of their interest and stake in the team development process.

Say "Team" and Act Autocratic. "Your actions are so loud, I can't hear what you are saying." Research has proved that people learn far more from what they see than from what they hear or read. Significant misery is experienced when an IS manager speaks about and even intellectualizes the movement of the IS organization to the team-based structure but does not follow through with appropriate actions.

Although it is certainly difficult for managers to move from previous autocratic tendencies and styles of management that have served them well in their careers to a more participative style, this pattern of behavior can damage the self-esteem of the team and lessen its energy for making decisions and continuing the effort toward successful implementation. Members of the IS organization begin to doubt the honesty and sincerity of the team-based structure as they find themselves in a situation that does not differ greatly from what they had known before teams were implemented.

Misery Management. Although these managerial actions can stop team progress immediately, there is tremendous opportunity for learning in each of them. The IS manager's challenge is to remain open and somewhat vulnerable to learning while challenging the team to participate in a successful conversation on inferences and actions. One strategy is for the manager to schedule specific times, whether at the end of each team meeting or at another time, for free-flowing discussion of open-ended questions.

Because team members are also responsible for building the team relationship and moving closer to the vision, they need to learn to be more comfortable voicing respectful critiques of specific situations. In addition, team members need to be willing to participate in the deliberate effort necessary for the successful implementation of the team-based organization.

As dialogues continue, the group may realize that there is a need for increased decision-making and problem-solving effectiveness. Remember, the managers and the teams do not know, intuitively, how to achieve this. It is the responsibility of the entire membership of the organization to push the edges of the envelope to experience its own empowerment. Managers are responsible for coaching and mentoring increased empowerment of the the team and for supporting its success.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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