This Blog is written by Mr. Ijaz Ahmed Tajjak, Supervisor Audit and Assurance Services. Please read this blog and provide your valued comments.

Team Management

In a successful team, a team leader will first evaluate the mission of the team to understand what is needed to accomplish the task. Then, they will identify the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and assign roles accordingly. Lastly, they must ensure that all team members know what each other’s responsibilities are to avoid confusion and to create an effective channel of communication.

Methods of team management

  • Command and Control
  • Engage and Create
  • Econ 101

Command and Control: The method “Command and Control” as an approach to team management is based on the concept of military management. “Command and Control” was a commonly used system in the private sector during the 20th century. In this method, the team leader instructs their team members to complete a task and if they refuse, they will yell or punish them until they no longer refuse and comply with the instructions. The team leader has absolute authority and utilizes an autocratic leadership style. There are considerable drawbacks to this team management method. Firstly, the team morale will be lowered due to team members being constantly belittled by the team leader at the slightest mistake; punishments will also lead to a lack of confidence in team members resulting in poor performance. Second, in modern organizations roles are often specialized, therefore managers will require the expertise of the employee, elevating the value of the employee. Implementing the “Command and Control” team management method will lead to a high rate of employee turnover. In addition, in large organizations managers don’t have the time to provide instructions to all employees and continuously monitor them, this will impede an organizations performance as managers are not spending time on their core responsibilities.

Engage and Create:  Due to the limitations and ineffectiveness of “Command and Control”, managers developed an alternative management strategy known as “Engage and Create”. In this method team members are encouraged to participate in discussions and contribute. Furthermore, they are advised to engage with other team members to build a stronger sense of teamwork and unity. This will lead to increased productivity and accountability of each team member, driving the team towards success.

Econ 101: In the “Econ 101” method of team management, the team leader makes the baseline assumption that all team members are motivated by reward in the form of money, and that the best way to manage the team is to provide financial rewards for performance and issue punishments for failure. This method of team management uses material gains in the place of intrinsic motivation to drive team members. This is similar to Taylor’s theory of Scientific Management where he claims the main form of motivation for employees is money. The main drawback of this method is that it does not take into account other forms of motivation besides money such as personal satisfaction and ambition. Moreover, by using reward and punishment as a method of team management it can cause demotivation as everyone is motivated by different factors and there is no one way to satisfy all team members, the negative effect is further compounded by punishment leading to demoralization and loss of confidence.

Resolving problems through team management

  • Building trust
  • Appraisals
  • Team building activities

Building trust: An approach to resolving fundamental trust problems within teams is to build trust amongst team members. A team leader can build trust by persuading team members to ask questions and seek guidance from other team members, so that they are more familiar and comfortable in being vulnerable with one another, questions such as “May you teach me how to do this” or “You are better than me at this”. However, in order to achieve vulnerability based trust within the team the team leader must be vulnerable first, if the team leader is unwilling to be vulnerable, nobody else in the team will be willing to follow.

Appraisals: Appraisals can be a way for team members to provide feedback to one another or for team members to provide advice to the leader. This will allow individual members of the team to reflect on their performance and aim to do better by amending their mistakes; furthermore appraisals create an environment where the chain of command is non-existent and team members can be honest towards one another. This is effective in a way that the team can provide progressive feedback towards other members and can advise the leader on how he or she can improve their leadership. After each member reads their appraisals, they will understand how they can strive to improve, benefitting the team in reaching its objectives. The commonly used forms of appraisals are performance appraisals, peer appraisals and 360 degree feedback.

Team building activities: Team-building activities are a series of simple exercises involving teamwork and communication. The main objectives of team building activities are to increase the trust amongst team members and allow team members to better understand one another. When choosing or designing team building activities it is best to determine if your team needs an event or an experience. Generally an event is fun, quick and easily done by non-professionals. Team building experiences provide richer, more meaningful results. Experiences should be facilitated by a professional on an annual basis for teams that are growing, or changing.

Ijaz Ahmad Tajjak