Management involves a lot of diverse skills which range from things like leadership and motivating to planning and financing. While you might use a range of different skills though, ultimately the goal is always the same – and that is to get the most out of your staff and your resources in order to increase output while reducing overheads.
If you’re failing to get the maximum productivity and efficiency from your staff then you aren’t doing your job as well as you could be and your business will be suffering as a result. Here we will look at some ways you can get more from your organization then focusing on the teams you use and how you put them together.
Understanding Team Mindset
First of all it’s very important to recognize that your teams work in very complicated ways. This isn’t just a matter of your staff putting their heads together and working alongside one another – but rather you will find that their effectiveness changes as a result of changes in the dynamic – having an extra person can change the way that everyone else in that team works and affect them on a fundamental and psychological level.
Here we will explore some of these factors.
Convergence and Divergence: Convergence and divergence describe two psychological phenomena that occur when you have people working together in groups. Essentially this means that groups that spend time together become more alike to one another, but more different from other outside groups which is how cliques are formed. Convergence within your workplace can be a good thing if it involves the whole office, but not if it occurs in ‘sub groups’ which can result in animosity between the micro cultures. Avoid this by mixing up your groups, and by promoting camaraderie within the entire organization.
Creativity: Another good reason to mix your seating and teams up is to enhance creativity. Studies have shown that mixing up groups can result in more original ideas from those groups – even if it means introducing just one new person to the set up. If you have a team that works particularly well once, then you might be tempted to replicate that group exactly every time you need a similar job doing. This research though suggests that this would be a mistake, and that you would be better off changing your teams from time to time even when they appear to be performing well.
Personality Types: This doesn’t give you a green light though to mix your groups up completely at random whenever you want to inject new life though as not every group will work well together and some personalities will be more likely to clash. While every group should have a natural ‘leader’ in it for instance to help give them direction, you should conversely avoid having multiple leaders as this can result in a power struggle and nothing getting done. There are many different metric tests and personality measures you can use to identify certain ‘types’ in your workplace, and using these is a great way to choose who will work best together.
Note as well of course that you will also need to take into account bad blood, friendships and other issues in your groups to avoid friction and keep your employees happy.
Diffusion of Responsibility: There are some times though when working in a group at all can be detrimental to productivity. This seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom which supposes two heads are always going to be better than one, but again it’s supported by studies.
The problem is a process called ‘diffusion of responsibility’ in which the members of a team feel less responsibility to work hard because the outcome isn’t resting on their efforts alone. The assumption is that if they don’t work as hard as they could no one will know because other people will pick up the slack. It’s not necessarily even a malicious or lazy impulse – it happens almost unconsciously so we have little control over it.
The point is though that if you have a straightforward task that requires focus and hard work, you may actually do better to isolate your staff rather than put them in groups. If nothing else, make sure that you measure the individual contributions of each member.
About the Author: John Morgan is an established businessman. He like sharing business, marketing and productivity tips in his blogs. He says that every once in a while sending your employees for business management training is a good thing.