Role of Team Building and Interpersonal Skills

Introduction

The ability of an organisation to achieve its set goals depends largely on the ability of its employees to work effectively with each other in a group. Effective team implementation not only increases job satisfaction, but also improves employee motivation (Griffin, Patterson & West 2001, p. 537). There is enough evidence in literature to support the claim that team building benefits not just the employees, but also the organization as well (McAllister 1995, p. 24).

As such, it is important to ensure that an organization has established solid structures facilitate implementation of team work. If at all organisations are to realise positive outcomes from team building initiatives, teams need to be supported, developed, and nurtured (Klein et al 2001, p. 181). The current research paper endeavours to examine the importance of team building and interpersonal skills in an organisation. Specifically, it dwells on the issues of organisation commitment, human resource planning, job analysis, and testing and selection as they impact on team building. In addition, the paper also provides recommendations for adoption by organisations in order to help them improve their team building activities and interpersonal skills.

Literature Review

General Overview

Team building activities helps organisations to achieve their objectives (Klein et al 2002, p. 181). Organisations create team-building programs with a view to empower employees so that they can improve their performance and in the process, increase organisational productivity. Teams are valuable to organisations because they have the ability to empower and assemble employees so that they can fully utilise their talents to enhance the organisations.

Team building activities benefits both the individual and the organisation. For instance, a study carried out by Applebaum and Balt (as reported by Klein et al 2000, p. 182) and which involved 185 case studies and 12 large-scale surveys concluded that team building results in enhanced organisational performance. In addition, the authors concluded that team building benefit employees because of the increased likelihood of autonomy, skill development, and job enhancement related to these systems.

On the other hand, without support, development and nurturing, it would be very hard for organisations to achieve desired positive outcomes (Kelin et al 2001, p. 181). Team building was originally designed to improve social interactions and interpersonal relations among groups. However with time, group process intervention has evolved to include among others, a concern for accomplishing tasks, achieving results, and meeting set goals (Klein et al 2002, p. 185).

In an organisation with teams made up of highly organized individuals who are also concerned about the feelings of one another at the workplace, the management can be able to harness diverse knowledge and interpersonal skills possessed by team members. In addition, individual team members tend to be fully committed to maximum production. They are also able to work together (Barwick 1990, p. 1). Members of a team cooperate with each other to attain group outcomes. Teamwork allows for coordination within an organisation.

Teams enable organisations to harness diverse knowledge and skills possessed by individual members. This assists an organisation to realise its objectives. As a team within an organisation evolves, there arises the need to vary its coordination (Mickan & Rodgers 2000, p. 5) because increased complexity of teams requires improved strategies to handle the ensuing changes. Productive, competitive, flexible and strong teams are the competitive edge that organisations need to achieve higher quality, reduce costs for customers and the organisation, and produce better results.

Effective teams promote employees’ job satisfaction and the motivational properties of the work at hand (Griffin, Patterson & West 2001, p. 2). Nonetheless, the level of job satisfaction also depends on such other factors as group processes, team composition, and nature of work. For this reason, there is the need for the management of an organisation to ensure that team members have a common goal and are fully committed to helping the organisation achieve its objectives. This calls for recruiting and selection of the right kind of people. In spite of the potential benefits of teamwork, it does not always deliver the expected results for both the organisation and the individuals.

Nurturing of organizational commitment

The benefits of teams to an organisation are also thought to impact positively on such employee attitudes as job satisfaction, morale, and commitment to an organisation. Positive social relations associated with work teams within an organisation translate into enhanced levels of employees’ commitment to the organisation in question. As a result, the organisation is likely to witness reduced employee turnover because the workforce is satisfied with the working conditions.

In addition, social interactions and flexibility within a team improve (Testa 2001, p. 26). Committed employees are also likely to commit to their teams. This improves the effectiveness of the team. Committed employees have no desire to leave an organisation because they find the working conditions and environment conducive. Since they are actively involved in teamwork, committed employees are also active participants in the organisation’s decision-making process. This encourages innovation among employees, further boosting the company’s production and quality levels.

Conducting a successful job analysis

If facilitators are to conduct a successful job analysis within an organisation, possession of good interpersonal skills is critical. Team work reinforces communication amongst members of a team and as a result, such members are likely to improve their interpersonal skills. Facilitators are also able to navigate the feelings and attitudes of the participants. In addition, facilitators are also able to respond to participants more tactfully (Testa 2001, p. 26).

HR planning

Teamwork improves interactions among team members through resolution of dissent, application of motivational reinforcing statements and co-operative behaviours. Consequently this allows the human resource department to resolve emerging conflict among employees through synergy (Mickan & Rodger 2000, p. 204). In addition, team work increases employees. Morale behavioural reinforcement further helping to resolve conflicts at the workplace. This also enhances interpersonal co-operation through teamwork (Salas, Burke & Cannonn-Bowers 2000, p. 4). Interpersonal skills enhance individual as well as organisational effectiveness.

Training and selection

In selecting new personnel, the company’s management is concerned with identifying employees who can blend with the rest of the team, increase performance, and assist the organisation to achieve its objectives (Cohen & Levesque 1995, p. 489). Effective team building enhances testing and selection of human resource. This is because the team leader is better able to delegate responsibilities more effectively and clearly. In addition, the team leader is also in a better position to appropriately match the strengths of an individual employee with the task at hand.

Conclusion

Many organisations today have incorporated the concept of team building as part of their strategy to achieve their objectives. When individuals are able to work with each other as a team, this improves the efficiency and effectiveness of an organisation. In addition, employees working in successful groups are also likely to be highly motivated because of the ensuing synergy. Consequently, this increases job satisfaction, resulting in decreased cases of employee turnover. Organisations that wish to realize positive outcomes of their set goals must be ready and willing to nurture, develop and support teams.

Teamwork allows for nurturing of employees’ commitment to the organisation through improved social interactions and involvement in organisational decision making process. Team work reinforces communication among team members and this facilitates conducting successful job analyses through navigating of the feelings and attitudes of participants. Team work enables the human resource department to resolve emerging conflicts among members through behavioural reinforcement. This improves co-operation among team members. The management is also better able to train and select individuals who support the organisation’s goals.

Recommendations

On the basis of the emerging issues in the literature review section regarding the role of team work and interpersonal skills within an organisation, the current research paper proposes the following recommendations for adoption by organisations:

  • The human resource department within an organisation should involve employees in various planning activities or in making certain decisions. This will avoid disgruntled employees, improve employee morale, and increase employee retention.
  • While conducting training and selection of employees, the management should endeavour to match the skills and competences of potential candidates with the goals of the organisation. In addition, management should also endeavour to match like-minded employees to build synergy in team work and improve employee morale.
  • While conducting job analysis, enhanced communication should be encouraged among team members to improve their communication skills, build trust and commitment to the team and by extension, the organisation.

Reference List

Barwick, J. T., 1990. Team Building: A Faculty Perspective. Community College Review, 17(4), pp. 33–39.

Cohen, P. R., & Levesque, H. J., 1991.Teamwork. Noûs, 25(4), pp. 487-512.

Griffin, M. A., Patterson, M. G., & West, M. A., 2001. Job satisfaction and teamwork: the role of supervisor support. Journal of Organisational Behavior, 22, pp. 537-550.

Klein, C., DiazGranados, D., Salas, E., Le, H., Burke, C., & Lyons, R., 2009. Does Team Building Work? Small Group Research, 40( 2), pp. 181-222.

McAllister, D. J., 1995. Affect- and Cognition-Based Trust as Foundations for Interpersonal Cooperation in Organizations. The Academy of Management Journal, 38(1), pp. 24-59.

Mickan, S., & Rodger, S., 2000. Characteristics Of Effective Teams: A Literature. Review. Australian Health Review, 23(3), pp. 201- 206.

Testa, M. R., 2001. Organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and effort in the service environment. The Journal of Psychology,135(2), p. 226.