Leadership describes a process whereby an individual influences a group of people to pursue and achieve common goals. It illustrates the capacity of a person to instigate confidence and inspire individuals to act in a coordinated manner, work in a common direction with the intention of attaining a particular objective or set of goals. Team building, on the other hand, encompasses efforts that are intended to improve and enhance the effectiveness of a group of people working together to attain predetermined goals. Team building involves various facets including developing better working interactions, promoting understanding, facilitating alignment between and among the members in addition to improving communication channels and trust among the members. Essentially, the term team implies synergy, which is, the whole of a group is greater than the sum of the individuals in their capacities. Since many tasks often require cross-functional and collaborative approach in efforts of achieving the best results, teamwork is a common aspect in many organizations across the globe. However, it is a daunting task to build a capable team since it the best team is grounded on the right combination of knowledge, expertise, and individuals. As such, genuine leadership skills are a necessity for effective team building since leaders influence the actions of individuals.
It is commonly acknowledged that the leadership of a particular organization determines its performance in the market since to no small extent the leadership of an organization defines the corporate culture. Considering the critical role of leadership, reliable and ethical leadership is a prerequisite for success in the modern-day business environment (Daft, 2014). While individual leaders often adopt their styles of leadership within one organization, institution of jurisdiction, there is usually a predominant leadership technique that is utilized to attain the objectives effectively.
Some of the most common leadership styles include autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire that is characterized by several variations. While the concept of leadership has been widely documented, it remains an area of inquiry bearings its applicability to different facets in the society. The autocratic leadership style describes a directive and controlling leadership technique where the leader makes all the decisions without consulting his or her juniors (Daft, 2014). Democratic leadership style, on the other hand, illustrates a technique of management that value the opinions of the juniors in an organization. In this particular style, the leader collaborates with the employees in decision makings, appreciates their input and often delegate assignments. Laissez-Faire leadership is a style where the juniors are responsible for all decisions, and the level of supervision is often minimum (Daft, 2014). Other forms of leadership include transformational and transaction styles where the former describes a technique where the leaders have a distinct vision and can influence others to work towards the idea while the latter describes centralized control over the juniors.
Leadership has various advantages to an organization including employee motivation. As previously defined, leadership illustrates the ability of an individual to influence others. Indeed, it is necessary for leaders to ensure the employees do their best as such motivating them and increasing work morale (Daft, 2014). The leader may adopt different motivation strategies such as additional monetary compensation, encouraging and supporting creativity, insisting on the importance of open communication and ensuring job alignment between the individual and the task. Additionally, leadership is essential to an organization since it influences the institution’s culture. The manager’s leadership techniques are evident throughout the organization in different departments and levels and as such responsible for the culture in the organization.
In recent years, the concept and utilization of teamwork have expanded dramatically primarily due to the acknowledged competitive advantages of working in a team. Undeniably, team workings are currently one of the most popular and essential skills that are a prerequisite for work practices (Tinuke, 2013). As such, it is evident the concept of team-building should be a managerial objective in efforts of promoting interpersonal skills and open communication channels in an organization. Ultimately, team building involves a wide range of activities that are intended to improve the performance of the team by bringing out the best in each member of the team. Team building often impacts the self-development of the members, positive communication in the team, nurturing and development of leadership skills in addition to facilitating the ability of the members of the group to work together. Although many work environments often concentrate on individuals and personal objectives with the rewards and recognition system identifying an individual’s achievements, team-building ensures that the entire organization is united towards a common goal hence the possibility of higher productivity (Tinuke, 2013). Team building ensures that all the members of the group evolve into cohesive units, which illustrate better performance that is otherwise impossible in the event activities are limited to individual efforts.
Team building and advantages associated with teamwork is a concept that continues to gain momentum in contemporary society. The past three decades have witnessed the adoption of teamwork in any organization as such replacing the exceedingly formalized, centralized and departmentalized practices that were the core attributes of organizations before teamwork (Tinuke, 2013). Job satisfaction is another factor that is often linked to teamwork with the belief that strong teams facilitated better performance that intrinsically motivates an individual.
The effectiveness of Leadership in Stages of Team Building
The attributes of leadership that involve influencing and inspiring individuals to achieve specific predetermined objectives are applicable throughout the process of team building. The method of building a team often illustrate an inventive approach by an individual in assembling professionals who put their efforts together to attain the predetermined objectives and overcome day to day challenges. The aspect of an innovative approach to building a team illustrates the effectiveness of a well-rounded leader in team development. Many researchers concur there are four distinct stages involved in team building from the forming step to the storming to norming and to performing (Wang, Waldman, & Zhen, 2014). The attributes of an efficient and good leader are applied to each of the stages.
The formation stage encompasses efforts to bring individuals from diverse backgrounds, departments, and level of participation together as a team. The process of selecting individuals that will efficiently achieve the predetermined goals relies on good leadership skills from insightfulness to compassion and a leader’s efforts to acknowledge the strength and weakness of each of the member through open communication and interaction (Wang, Waldman, & Zhen, 2014). It is only through a leader that knows and relates with the juniors is a good selection of the team members attained. Moreover, in efforts of developing a unified team, a leader must be aware of the strengths of each member including having an inkling of their personalities. Therefore, the initial step in team building applies good leadership to select and support the interaction of the different individuals that form the team. In the event good leadership skills are not implemented in the formation stage, it is likely that the members selected will not match the job description and may also fail to get along as such derailing the achievements of the goals subsequently adversely affecting the whole organization or institution.
The second stage in the process of team building is the storming stage. This particular phase involves synchronization of efforts and coming up with practical problem-solving strategies. At this stage, the efforts of every individual in the team are dedicated to maintaining the team through effectively solving problems that arise and have potential to affect the objectives (Aga, Noorderhaven, & Vallejo, 2016). The synchronization of efforts in a team relies on good leadership skills. As mentioned, it is necessary for the leader to be aware of the strength and weaknesses of the selected members during the formulation stage. The knowledge is also applied in the harmonization efforts to bring out the best in each. As such, a leader that applies up to date information and is aware of the personalities of the employees is essential in the storming stage.
Additionally, the stage encompasses solving problems that may arise during various activities of the group. Problem-solving is one of the core characteristics of a good leader. The concept of problem-solving often encompass being well-informed and embracing creativity and innovative spirit in the group. When the team is under a good leader, it is likely he or she will influence and support creative behaviors and the aspect of improvising which are essential factors in solving problems and maintaining the team (Wang, Waldman, & Zhen, 2014). Open communication channels in the team are also necessary for discussing how the issues that may threaten group cohesiveness are addressed. Individuals akin to good leadership recognize the importance of communication in the organization particularly in the current dynamic environment characterized by changes and evolution of concepts, ideas, and practices. Similar to the formation stage, excellent leadership skills in both the team leader and the members of the team is necessary for the storming stage.
The third stage of team building involves establishing norms that guide activities of the team members. Norms are the typically informal code of conduct and interaction attributes that showcases how members of the team interact with their leader and with each other. Developing patterns also influence the assignment of roles, sensitization of each member to their responsibilities in addition to recognizing the rights and freedoms of the members. As mentioned, one of the core impact of a particular leadership style in an organization is the influence on organizational culture. The same concept is applied in this specific stage where the leadership style in a particular group determines the norms that the groups adopt and subsequently the team’s code of conduct (Wang, Waldman, & Zhen, 2014). Acknowledging the dramatic effect of a leadership style on the day to day running of a team, it is necessary for the team leader as well as the members to invest, collaborate and investigate the most appropriate leadership style that will ensure achieving the objectives of the team. As mentioned, there are various leadership styles each with its advantages and disadvantages, therefore it is indispensable for the group to select the option that coordinate the objectives of the team. Primarily, the leadership style chose influences the development of the team and consequently its performance.
Apart from establishing norms, the third phase of team building also involving setting social and economic standards associated with the activities intended to be carried out by the group. Similar to the norms, leaders determine the social and economic standards of the team since leaders can influence and inspire a group of individuals to work together to achieve specific objectives. It is vital for the team leader to inform the members of the risks associated with the task. Sharing of information between the leaders and the team members and among the team members implies open communication which is another important attribute in an individual with leadership instincts (Wang, Waldman, & Zhen, 2014). Ultimately, leadership predispositions in the team leaders and the members play a crucial role in ensuring each member of the team feels a sense of belonging in the team.
The last stage of team building is the performing phase, which describes the characteristic of the team working in harmony. It involves handling challenges effectively and concentrating on accomplishments that are in sync with the objectives of the team. The performing stage illustrates the team’s ability to manage new tasks efficiently. The success of the performing stage to no small extent depends on not only the attributes of the team leader but also the members’ predispositions to good leadership characteristics (Aga, Noorderhaven, & Vallejo, 2016). The applicability of leadership attributes in the performing stage illustrates the importance and effectiveness of leadership in team building. Undeniably, it is satisfying and motivating when the team accomplishes its predetermined objectives before the disbandment of the group. Success can only materialize if the different facets of a good leader are utilized throughout the different team building phases.
Role of a Leader in Effective Team Building
Apart from the applicability of leadership attributes in the different stages of team building, it is necessary for the leader to understand the role he or she plays in ensuring the team achieves its objects. It is recognized that one of the core challenges that leaders face in team development is resolving conflicts within the group. While in some cases conflicts can be beneficial to the group through motivating the members to expand their skills and subsequently contribute to team development, at other times conflicts may derail the successful growth of a team (Root, 2014). It is the responsibility of the team leader to manage the conflict, determine when it is the right time to intervene and also decide the best interventions to be applied in resolving the conflict. Therefore, the role of a leader in resolving conflict is vital to successful team building.
Additionally, as showcased in the definition of a leader, the team leader is involved in giving direction to the team. Giving direction constitutes developing the rules and policies that are designed to ensure the team achieves its goals. A term leader actively works with the members to ensure they understand the objectives of the term and develop a technique for interaction to facilitate the process of guidance. The direction role of the leader also describes their ability to punish the team members who fail to adhere to the rules (Root, 2014). Moreover, a leader in a group often works as the team’s spokesman in the event the team needs to speak as one entity. The leader needs to adequately understand the details of the team’s activities to represent the members well. The role of a spokesman illustrates another applicability of leadership to team building and growth.
Leadership influences the development of a team through affecting the activities of the members with the intention of achieving the objectives of the team. Different leadership skills are necessary throughout the four distinct stages of team building. Specific leadership characteristic such as compassion, innovation, creativity, appreciation of the strength and weakness of the members in addition to supporting open communication channels are essential in team development. Additionally, the leadership style adopted by the team leader determines the norms and social standards of the team, which has an impact in the day to day activities of the group. Through analyzing the role of a leader in team building particularly in areas of problem-solving, giving direction and representing the group, it is evident that leadership is not only applicable in team building, but also its utilization facilitates the development of a capable team. Undeniably, teams can achieve more when they have a competent leader who is knowledgeable in the different process associated with team building.
Aga, D. A., Noorderhaven, N., & Vallejo, B. (2016). Transformational leadership and Project success: The mediating role of team-building. International Journal of Project Management, 34(5), 806-818.
Daft, R. L. (2014). The leadership experience. Cengage Learning.
Root, G. N. (2014). Effective team development and the role of the leader. Retrieved November 28, 2018, from Small businesses communication and etiquette: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/effective-team-development-role-leader-11520.html
Tinuke, F. (2013). Towards Effective team building in the work place. International Journal of Education and Research, 1(4), 1-12.
Wang, D., Waldman, D. A., & Zhen, Z. (2014). A meta-analysis of shared leadership and team effectiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(2), 181-98.