Team Dynamics 



Rewarding Team Accomplishment

Rewards can be many things. They can be bonuses, raises in pay, parties, extra days off, etc. One company sends the entire team (and their families) off to places like Disney World or Hawaii when accomplishment has merited it. The important thing is that accomplishment is repaid in kind. As mentioned earlier in this paper cookies are important to all of us. We have a sense of accomplishment when it is

recognized by others. These rewards do not have to be large but they should be commensurate with the size of the success of the project. Too often rewards are forgotten and the feeling from the team is that everything they do benefits the company and not them. Management cannot afford this feeling to spread or the whole process begins to break down.

The first thing to emphasize in this area is that the individual should never be rewarded alone by manage­ment. Reward the whole team. Rewarding a team hero normally results in a negative effect on the whole team. Eliminate suggestion boxes throughout the company. A suggestion box is a set-up for clandestine ideas from one individual to management. Never have I seen one indi­vidual go through the ideation and innovation process of a good sized suggestion. Normally a portion of their sugges­tion was gotten (or stolen) from other individuals. This breeds resentment. Let teams suggest ideas.

Do not pick employees of the month or year. If you must do this pick a team of the month or team of the year. Then give them all parking spots closest to the front door. If a particular performer of a team deserves a larger reward than the others let the team decide to give it to them. Do not interfere with the team process when it comes to paybacks for its successes. Let them take care of them­selves.

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Pitfalls to Avoid

In the this area of the paper let's discuss the subject that no one likes to talk about: conflict. Conflict in itself is not a bad thing, it can often be very positive to the team. We are not trying to squash conflict, we are simply trying to avoid it becoming negative. Negative conflict is the one thing that can fell a team quickly if it is not handled properly. We'll look at this subject from three directions: 1) It important to look at the things that create conflict, 2) A view of some of the things the team can do to avoid negative conflict from occurring, and 3) The five areas of handling negative conflict when it inevitably occurs.

Poor Planning

Normally the things that create negative conflict on a team arise because of poor planning in the first place. This is a listing of the high potential areas:

Administrative Procedures: Lack of solid administrative procedures definitely has a high probability for creating, this conflict. If the team lacks good groundwork for what; it's doing they will surely cross each others path in tho wrong direction. Each will not know what the other is doing. Lewis Carroll said: "You're not lost if you don't knoiv where you're going".

People resources: If the team doesn't have enough resources to do the job the tendency for one person to carry a heavier load becomes the norm. This person ends up resenting their load and often they don't even complain about it out loud but will let it build up inside instead. The leader must ensure that resources are available so this doesn't happen.

Cost overruns: Cost overruns are inevitable. A cost benefits analysis should be done at the beginning of any project and measurements must be taken throughout. The whole team should know when cost becomes a problem from the leader, not from management. If proper measures are taken then the team or the leader can look for additional funding before management is surprised. Management hates surprises!

Schedules: If the team project carries any weight at all the schedule will be highly consequential to its success and it will have high visibility. All members need to be willing to work together to help each other meet their deadlines. Schedules and their status should be highly visible to not just team members but also anyone else that would like to know.

Responsibilities: Each team member must know what they are responsible for. There should be no doubt of what areas are assigned and who is accountable for them. If not properly handled one team member will think that another is taking care of a specific issue when in reality no one is handling it.

Wish Lists: As mentioned earlier. Don't fall into the wish list syndrome. "Gee, you know while I'm doing this project I could also do a number of other things that could fit into it." This will only succeed in sidetracking the team. Stick to the project at hand and do the other things you'd like to do after completion. Success of the original project is too important to risk.

To be Continued


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