Please read the scenario below, and then answer the questions that follow in a 3-page analysis. The questions will guide your analysis of the situation, but they will need to be presented as part of an analysis on the stages of team building.
“I can’t take it!” said Lacey. “This team has created nothing but problems ever since it began.”
“That’s not true,” said Tim. “When the project team to select a new software system and create a training plan was first formed, people were very respectful to one another. But ever since they’ve had to make decisions to move forward, there’s been nothing but conflict.”
“That’s not really true,” said Lacey. “I mean, there are some team members who seem to have forgotten that the primary focus of the team is to find the best vendor possible and to choose the best possible product. But others seem afraid to raise any objections at all. Take Lisa, from IT. She has greater knowledge than just about anyone on the team. But she avoids conflict at all costs.”
“On the other hand, there is Steve, from HR. He knows almost nothing about IT, yet he always has an opinion about everything. He comes in late and leaves early. He makes a few comments and complains about the current system or about the work ethic of other members, clearly wanting to show off in front of our supervisor when he is in the room. But he offers no meaningful data to help our team reach its goal. I don’t think he’s done any research at all,” said Tim. “He has good ideas, but no follow-through.”
Lacey sighed, thinking of how far the project was falling behind schedule and how much work she still had to tackle. “I think it’s time to call a team briefing to refocus our energies. We need to discuss the more general organizational objectives, engage in more effective messaging, and also enable team members to ask any questions they might have. We need to move our team into the next stage of performing, or at least set norms for behavior.”
“It’s also a great way, frankly, to let team members know that their performance is not up to the standard that’s expected by the supervisor. Perhaps we should ask him to be there,” said Tim.
“I think it’s also important to look at our roles. Not just the formal ones, but also the informal ones. Too many people are simply thinking of themselves and what membership on the team can do for their own careers. But every team needs four key players: a producer, an administrator, an integrator, and an entrepreneur,” chimed in Lacey.
“Let’s think in terms of how the team members can fulfill those roles. Take Liz, for example. She’s clearly the producer. She’s so focused on getting things done. Even though she’s quiet, she’s never happy unless we can cross something off our agenda by the end of the meeting,” said Tim. “We need to give her more responsibilities—and also more credit, publicly.”
“You know, as much as Steve annoys us, I think that he could play a useful role as an entrepreneur, or a person who comes up with new ideas. If only we can channel his energies, and give him some productive outlet for his ideas, he might be a force for good.”
“And you’re clearly a great integrator, Lacey. See how you’re always searching for a positive way to make lemonade out of lemons, and to find the best way to use every potential negative in a positive way? You’re great at building bridges.”
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