• No results found

Leading teams towards high performance


Academic year: 2022

Share "Leading teams towards high performance"


Laster.... (Se fulltekst nå)



Leading teams towards

high performance

A qualitative study on the people and leadership characteristics of a high performing team.

Charlotta Eleonora Brile UiS Business School


 Charlotta Eleonora Brile, 2018 Supervisor: Aslaug Mikkelsen







Performance Management og Ledelse

ER OPPGAVEN KONFIDENSIELL? Nei (NB! Bruk rødt skjema ved konfidensiell oppgave)

TITTEL: Leading teams towards high performance.

ENGELSK TITTEL: Leading teams towards high performance.


Aslaug Mikkelsen Kandidatnummer:





Charlotta Eleonora Brile





Organizations in our time face an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing environment.

In an age of ‘lean organizations’, success depends on continually improving performance by reducing costs, improving current products or creating new products and processes, enhancing quality and productivity, and increasing speed to market. As such, all aspects of the organization must demonstrate their ability to meet targets and aspire on high performance. High- performance teams tend to raise productivity. By understanding how teams function and how individuals may work together on tasks, leaders can optimize the teams and how they work within their organization. Minimizing the behavioral distance within a team, can potentially drive synergy, improve retention, reduce conflict, and contribute to organizational success.

What a successful organization can do to differentiate itself from others is how they execute their strategy by developing a strong performance culture with high performing teams to back their strategic initiatives. Leaders need to recognize that the most important part of any strong organizational culture is its people and more importantly how they work together.

The purpose of this study is to examine what leaders do to influence a composition of people, working together as a team, to become high performers, what identical or similar characteristics are lying beneath these high performing teams, and how does the leader behavior impact a high performing team to become high performers? Research questions are defined as: What impacts a team to become high performers? What similarities and differences can be found among leaders? What can you do as a leader to support the team to become high performers?

This research has a qualitative design with semi-structured in-depth interviews. The work has been performed inductively in a deductive manner.

The findings of this study show that focusing on working in teams, with the ‘one team’ approach and not working as individuals are in fact truly essential to become high performers. Successful team leadership was indicated as “pulling the team together forward”, putting team members first, in front of the leader. The leader, making him/herself available for the team, is making the team perform at its highest. Being able to match the skills among team members and utilizing those in the correct way, achieving high performance, was indicated to require openness and trust within the team and towards the leader. A high performing team and its leader were assumed to have a precise and effective communication which meant they understand each other and the tasks that are to be performed, and if they do not, they know how to use the available means and methods to clear misunderstandings, conflicts or disagreements. High performance teams have clear understanding of their goals and considers the goals important.

The goals of a high performing team are personally challenging and elevating. The ‘one team’

demonstrates compliance, intimacy and support for each other and trust is the most important part of creating group cohesiveness which is needed to enable high performance within team work. Proficient communication within the team makes team members stop holding back and releasing their full potential. A high performing team is a team that ‘want to’ and ‘can do’.

Key words: High Performance, Performance, Team, Efficiency, Collaboration, Leader, Leadership, Trust, Cohesion, Structure, Conflict, Support.







1.1 BACKGROUND ... 7




2. THEORY ... 11










3.5 DATA ANALYSIS ... 41




4. ANALYSIS ... 44

4.1 RESULTS ... 44


















6. CONCLUSION ... 76

7. REFERENCES ... 80




List of figures and tables

Figure a: Wheelan IMGD stages. 14

Figure b: Comparison Group maturity towards Wheelan IMGD. 19

Figure c: Five Dynamics of Effective Teamwork, Larson and LaFasto (2001) 21

Figure d: Team Basics Model - Katzenbach and Smith (1993) 28

Table a: Informants – Area, Role, Region and Age overview. 40

Table b: Limitations to the research method. 43



The presented Master Thesis is a compulsory graduation paper for Handelshøyskolen at University of Stavanger, and it is the final ‘project’ for the Executive MBA, Executive Master of Business Administration program. I would like to thank all the informants that made this study possible, thank you for being positive towards participating in these types of studies, it means a lot to any student. I would also like to thank my academic supervisor for guidance along the way.

A quote that I believe says it all, in regard to a performance driven leadership…

"As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate. When the best

leader's work is done, the people say, 'We did it ourselves.' " (Lao Tzu)

Stavanger, May, 2018 Charlotta Brile


1. Introduction

1.1 Background

rganizations in our time face an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing environment. In an age of lean organizations, success depends on continually improving performance by reducing costs, improving current products or creating new products and processes, enhancing quality and productivity, and increasing speed to market. As such, all aspects of the organization must demonstrate their ability to meet targets and aspire on high performance (Luthans and Sommer, 1999; 2005). The more complex solutions we develop, the more central high performing teams are to our success going forward.

Research has long shown that when organizations focus on building effective teams, those organizations will reap significant rewards or returns on their investment. Such rewards apply not only to the individual work teams, but also to the organization as a whole. Procter and Burridge (2008) says that redesign of an organization along team-based lines can involve rationalization of the production process. Related operations are grouped together, thus allowing more efficient process flows and a reduction in product or information handling. The implementation of teamwork simplifies the organizational structure and reduces the need for coordination. Decentralizing decision making to self-directed teams can thus reduce the number of supervisors and middle managers (Ichniowski et al. 1996). Delarue, Cappelli and Neumark (2001) concluded in their research that high-performance teams tend to raise productivity. Manz and Sims (1980) argues that there are great benefits to self-directed teams and a self-leadership focus, hands-on decision making, and individual choices. As these are important motivating factors, and these will lead to employees who strive for greater efficiency and effectiveness (Manz and Sims 1980; Sims, 1996). Schneider Electric, switched to self-directed teams and found that overtime on machines dropped with 70 percent. Productivity increased because the setup-operators themselves were able to manipulate the work in much more effective ways than a supervisor could order. In 2001, clothing retailer Chico’s Retailer Services Inc. was looking to grow its business. The company hired a new president, two years later revenues had almost doubled. By 2006, Chico’s had nine years of ‘double-digit same-store’ sales growth. The new president created a horizontal organization with high-performance teams that were empowered with decision making ability and accountability for results (University of Minnesota, 2017).

Scarnati (2001) finds support in his research that within team work there is a synergy, and it is a process of interaction, where 2 plus 2 equals 10. It has a magnifying effect of each component.

Team work makes sense and does have practical application. Scarnati exemplifies team work benefits with the work of a surgical team before, during and after a surgery. He says, “each



team member specializes in providing the chief surgeon with the facts and the data necessary to make decisions. Prior to surgery, collaboration among the team is sought and different views or alternatives are examined”. He continues, “however, once the operation has begun, the chief surgeon is the master, and all supporting efforts focus on the patient's (customer's) needs. The anesthetist co-ordinates closely with the surgeon, while the operating room nurses and technicians ensure that proper procedures are followed.” Scarnati (2001) argues that only a well-coordinated team can fulfill the requirements of a complex task. Teamwork is critical for any large organization. Leaders should not only find the right people for the right role, they must also ensure that the right people are working together most effectively. By understanding how teams function and how individuals may work together on tasks, leaders can optimize their teams and how they work within their organization. The use of teams involves a shift in focus from individual methods of performing work to team methods. The rationale for making this shift has previously been described as resulting from "the proposition that a team can more effectively allocate its resources when and where required to deal with its total variance in work conditions, than can an aggregate of individuals each of whom is assigned part of the variance"

(Susman, 1976). By understanding the behavioral distance, i.e. the difference in how we behave towards each other, from one another, covering both current and future team members, leaders may take more accurate decisions about establishing and managing teams (University of Minnesota, 2017). Leaders can contribute to the strengthening of organizational cultures by identifying key attitudes and values and ensuring that team members are aligned around these attitudes and values. Minimizing the behavioral distance within a team, can potentially drive synergy, improve retention, reduce conflict, and contribute to organizational success (University of Minnesota, 2017). Achieving a positive synergy among individuals, making the whole greater than the sum of its parts, is often seen as a complex task for organizations.

Achieving such synergy in a business is so much more than work processes and strategies, it’s about people working well together. According to University of Minnesota (2017) leaders spend 18 to 26 percent of their time dealing with conflict within teams that does not perform at its highest. If these leaders did not have to spend as much time acting as mediators, they would be able to focus more time on the strategic essentials of the organization. There is an importance for all companies to strive towards achieving a high-performance culture. The globalization effects, for most companies, today, in doing business on a wider span is increasing. Companies clawing for a market share, and it then becomes even more important than ever to have a high- performance culture, to achieve competitive advantage. With competition from not only local, but global organizations from around the world, these companies need to have something that


differentiates them from their competitors. With easy access to information, companies can easily imitate other successful companies. However, one thing they cannot easily match is a culture based on performance. Most organizations are followers. Their strategy is to simply copy what is successful in their industry. What a successful organization can do to differentiate themselves is how they execute their strategy by developing a strong performance culture with high performing teams to back their strategic initiatives. Leaders need to recognize that the most important part of any strong organizational culture is its people and more importantly how they work together.

1.2 Research question and purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine what leaders do to influence a composition of people, working together as a team, to become high performers, what identical or similar characteristics are lying beneath these high performing teams, and how does the leader behavior impact a high performing team to become high performers? With this as a background, I focus on the different theories on team development and the ability to maximize team development and learning and try to investigate whether the composition of leadership styles in teams affects performance and achievement. The suitable place for study teams is at organizations that are set up with “a team organization” and the experiences and stories from the real world will contribute in giving a multifaceted view of the reality of the leader/team leader.

1.3 Delimitations

Furthermore, this study will only review how different leaders in one region (Norway) work with creating high performing teams, to find similarities or differences. A more comprehensive study could also include gender diversity, country, or regional differences in terms of business culture, and ethnicity differences and/or difference in terms of leadership styles. Sectioning different industries, educational background or technology areas would also have been interesting to find out more about how leaders work with improving team work to produce outstanding results. However, I see the delimitation I have done as necessary to carry out the research with the time interval available.

1.4 Structure of this study

In chapter 2 of this thesis I present an overview of Wheelan, Larson and LaFasto and Katzenbach and Smith’s theories and empirical research. The section covers an overview of research about elements that are seen as necessary to create high performing teams. The research also contains an overview of what is seen as successful leadership behind these high


performing teams, independent of industry or area. In chapter 3 I present the methodology I have used which is a qualitative research with both a mix of an inductive and deductive approach. Chapter 4 contains the analysis of my findings and the results and in chapter 5 I discuss these findings with the help of the theories and the three models I have used as well as associated previous research. I finally conclude in chapter 6.


2. Theory

o understand the context in which I intend to do my research I am including the following definitions, performance is efficiency, effectiveness, productivity, quality of the product or service, innovation and customer satisfaction. Performance management aim at encouraging development of individual or team goals by providing tools that enable the participants to clarify and then work through ways to achieve those goals (Salas et al., 1999). Katzenbach and Smith (1994) defines a team with “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and common approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”. Lewin (1947) has described a group as a “dynamic whole which is characterized by a close interdependence of their members”. Shared characteristics used to define the term group and team: “complex, adaptive, dynamic, coordinated, and bounded set of patterned relations among members, tasks and tools” (Arrow, McGrath, Bergdahl 2000). Scarnati (2001) describes teamwork as a joint process that allows people to achieve extraordinary results. There are different reasons why we compose people as teams. Argued by Katzenbach and Smith (1993), teams are advantageous for a number of reasons: 1) a combination of corresponding skills and experiences, 2) an appreciation for a shared vision; 3) liability and flexibility when needed and 4) community ambiance for interaction and member development. However, people won't work as a team unless the structure, conditions, organization, and purpose of the organization support a team effort. A high performing team is considered a small group of people so committed to something larger than themselves that they will not be denied (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993).

A high performing team is a team with a level of performance that describes a process that uses the lowest amount of inputs to create the greatest amount of outputs. High performing teams are teams that are productive and effective in their way of working (Lewin, 1947). High performing teams often provide businesses with a strong competitive advantage. Teams are considered high performing when they are effective and productive, delivering superior results.

Wheelan (2010) argues that knowing and paying attention to the different stages of group development is one of the keys to success for high-performing teams. Key features that characterize high performance teams include according to Wheelan: Members have a clear picture of the goals and agree on them. The leader style matches the team's level of development. The team is cooperative and has strong cohesion. And finally, the team devotes time to defining and discussing issues that need to be solved and decisions that must be taken.

In a high performing team, team members are intensely dedicated to each other’s personal growth while outperforming other teams. In working groups, members make decisions to help



individual performance within the area of responsibility (Scarnati, 2001). High performing teams are committed to form positive relationships among each other within the team as it will maximize the potential of everyone, not just the specific individual (Greenberg and Baron, 2008; Hultin, Zhang and Hu, 2017). Besides, where there is no interdependence among individuals, individual performance incentives, and personal employee ‘ranking’, there will also be disincentives for teamwork (Scarnati, 2001). Each of these structures creates a competitive environment in which there must be individual winners and losers. The focus of many organizational structures, as they are typically employed, is on the performance of individuals and not team effort.

My research includes three different models on team development, Integrated Model of Group Development or IMGD (Susan Wheelan), Effective team framework (Larson and LaFasto), and Team Basics model (Katzenbach and Smith). These three are both different and similar to what characteristics or variables they consider to be important in developing a high-performance team. The authors do not make a distinction between management team or work team in their models and thus it is assumed that the models can be applied to several types of teams. Wheelan (2003) reinforces this, she shows in her studies several similarities in management team and work team dynamics. Yet, it should be argued that significant differences in the work with these types of teams have been identified by Katzenbach and Smith (2003). These include expectations, demands, challenges, and degree of long-term responsibility, the latter is more often seen by management teams. My research is focusing on work teams. I have in my research linked the three models with supplementary pertinent theory within the same area.


2.1 Wheelan – Integrated Model of Group Development (IMGD)

Susan Wheelans’ model takes the perspective that groups achieve maturity as they continue to work together rather than simply go through stages of activity. In her model, "early" stages of group development are associated with specific issues and patterns such as those related to dependency, counter-dependency, and trust which precede the actual work conducted during the "more mature” stages of a group's life. Wheelan’s research is based on more than 700 teams, and she suggests a number of key areas that team members should be aware about to succeed and perform at their best: goal setting, role distribution, interdependence, leadership, communication and feedback, discussion, decision making and planning, implementation and evaluation, norms and individual differences, team structure and cooperation and conflict management. Wheelan (2010) maintains that, a strong confidence in that teamwork is a productive way of working has grown in recent times and she argues that this has led to an explosive development of research theory about team development, or “what creates a high- performance team”. In new research, difficulties have been revealed which have had a significant impact on how team development work is being seen today (Wheelan, 2010).

Wheelan (2010) does not agree in only creating team development methods based on theory to improve performance within teams, as she means that the diversity of available theory has made it difficult to distinguish what actually makes teams high performers. The work of Wheelan, on group development research, facilitates defining the shared elements between group development models. The significance of this model, is believed to be in the proposition of a statistically validated instrument measuring the maturity of a given group at a given time, the name of this instrument is Group Development Questionnaire or GDQ. This instrument, developed by Wheelan in 1993, is based on her IMGD (Integrated Model of Group Development). GDQ is designed to support teams in developing and reaching their goals in an effective way. GDQ gives a representation of the team's effectivity compared to a large number of other teams. It clearly shows where the team puts its focus. Most importantly, it shows what issues the team needs to work with in order to develop and improve.

The results deal with the team as a whole, and not individual team members. The focus is on the team's common responsibility for their own development, on co-workership as well as leadership. In many studies, the IMGD is used as a theoretical framework to examine the effect of group maturity on the productivity of teams in different contexts. Wheelan (2010) finds the following five key characteristics to be considered important in developing a high-performance team, and in order to do so she proposes a phased approach in the IMGD:


Figure a: Wheelan IMGD stages.

1. Sense of belonging and sanctuary within the group

This first stage is characterized by significant member dependency on the designated leader, concerns about safety, and inclusion issues. In this stage, members rely on the leader and other powerful group members to provide direction. Team members may engage in so called pseudo work, such as exchanging stories about outside activities or other topics that are not relevant to group goals. Team members acts in ways that increase the likelihood of making others and themselves feel like they belong and are included. Authority and credibility of the leader is not questioned but supportive. As a leader at this stage, the leader should not stick out too much being too positive or too forceful. The members are asking themselves questions like, what type of group is this, what is expected of me, and who are the others. The members try hard to fit in and adapt to the surroundings. Common behavior is that the members speak too much or are excessively open to everything. All light is on the leader because the leader is the one who has the clearest role. Conflicts are avoided. As a group the members want to create an affiliation between group members. When they feel greater loyalty with the group, they are also more confident in bringing ideas and suggestions on how the group will work to achieve its goals.

Since the group members did not have time to organize themselves, the leader must provide the group with structure. The leadership is governing and clear and the leader should formulate the goals as clearly as possible. Assign members information, avoid allowing the group to divide into smaller groups. The group tries to reduce anxiety and insecurity and fear of being rejected.

The team and its leader create opportunities for open discussions about values, goals, tasks and leadership so that different perceptions come to the surface. The team should start setting up high performance standards as soon as team members begin to feel loyalty to the group.


2. Conflict management and a common work structure

In the second stage members disagree among themselves about group goals and procedures.

Conflict is an inevitable part of this process. The group's task is to develop a unified set of goals, values, and operational procedures, and this task often generates conflict. Conflict also is necessary for the establishment of trust and a climate in which members feel free to disagree with each other and the leader. Team members often do not feel safe in stage one to discuss things openly, in stage two, the group is iterating items or repeating topics that already have been discussed and resolved.

By many researchers, conflict resolution is debated to be the vital part of a successful team and its leader (Wheelan, 2010; Katzenbach and Smith, 2003;

Larson and LaFasto, 2001). In order to deliver, the leader is assumed to possess an awareness of different personality types within the team and how they influence overall team performance (Wheelan, 2010; Bradley and Hebert, 1997).

In the research of Ring and Van de Ven (1992) trust is defined as “confidence in another’s goodwill”. Trust is a commitment to cooperate before there is any certainty about how the trusted people will act (Coleman, 1990).

This stage is a norming stage where group development will be challenged. The group or team should examine the norms for their contributions to group effectiveness and productivity.

Frustration with roles may surface and subgroups might occur. Yet, members should learn that subgroups are important to the success of groups. The members show more open competition between each other and tries to convince each other about what opinions are right. They use excuses if behavior is questioned. Members might try to reveal the hidden motives of others but are cautious to disclose themselves. Capability of the leader can be questioned. Team members may remain loyal to the leader or divided into two or several subgroups. In order for the group to develop, a certain relocation of the leaders’ power to the group members is required. Some groups dawdle in stage 2. Managers or group members are replaced - nothing changes. Other groups act stressed and reverse back to the first stage and become addicted to the leader or to engage in irrelevant activities. The leader in this stage need to address issues and challenges not feeling threatened if questioned. Effective leaders expect members to demand greater influence over the group's governance. They do not see the challenges as a threat but rather as a positive sign that the group is developing and is mature enough to take the next step in defining its structure.

Argued by Bradley and Hebert (1997), an important dimension of team performance is the one concerning individual differences. They say that a team


that function well together and perform should be skill wise highly differentiated in terms of team member contribution. Still keeping an open, and positive communication. Bradley and Hebert (1997) have also found that a highly productive team is strongly related to individual differences, so has also Wheelan (2010), Katzenbach and Smith (2003), and Larson and LaFasto (2001).

3. Negotiation, procedures and structure for work

Member trust, commitment to the group, and willingness to cooperate increases when the group manages to work through the inevitable conflicts of stage 2. Communication becomes more open and task-oriented. This third stage, also referred to as the ‘trust and structure stage’, is characterized by more mature negotiations about roles, organization, and procedures. It is also a time in which members work to set positive working relationships with each other. As members begin to take over some leadership functions, moments will occur when the group reverts to its previous ways of behaving. Leaders, at this stage, should notice what types of issues arise and ask for thoughts and ideas around the same. A clearly increased tolerance for subgroups is related to this stage and it is ok for other group members to take on parts of the leadership. The members are keener to work and are interested in being efficient and productive. The group has come to realize that they need each other. The goals become clearer and a consensus is reached on the goals. Roles and tasks are adapted to the task goals that the group has. Having a direction of intermediate goals where the team can refer to clear priorities can also facilitate the processing of attentive problems in the decision-making process and avoid them from developing into major conflicts. The members are pleased with their role in the group and the group's activities. Wheelan maintains the importance of work roles distribution on the basis of the individual skills team members have. Team members should not be assigned to work roles where they feel unconfident and lack the necessary skills. The consequence of a poor correlation between skills and responsibilities can be conflicts of interest or role ambiguity where uncertainty exists on how the individual should act and what it is expected to achieve, leading to difficulties in completing the work. There might also be a too big of a focus of the groups energy on maintaining good relationships.

On the other hand, in orientation to good relationships, hostile climates that does not endorse openness causes team members to become restrictive (Larson and LaFasto, 2001; Wheelan, 2010; Katzenbach and Smith, 2003).

An effective leadership style in this stage is delegation. The leader no longer needs to be as prominent as the goals and roles have become clearer. When the group is allowed to let group


members begin to take on parts of the leadership, the leader's role will be to encourage greater responsibility and can then become more consultative. Leadership is still important for coordination, nevertheless the function is shared between the leader and the group’s members.

4. Productivity - group cohesiveness

High performance teams complete their tasks faster, they produce services and generate higher returns. This is a time of powerful team productivity and effectiveness. The group may focus on goal achievement and task accomplishment. The work group becomes the team. Team members may execute certain items to continue performing at a high level by reminding each other of the norm for quality as well as high performance. Team members should be encouraged to be innovative, but teams need to also make sure their goals are not too ambitious. To maintain high performance, it is important to assess team processes frequently. With team progress, process loss is seen, routines might need task re-distribution or adding new goals or new aspects of the work. Communication is open, and feedback is given. Wheelan argues that an important factor that wedges all collaboration is communication. She says that to work efficiently, the team must exchange ideas about information freely.

Successful communication is one of the crucial factors conditional to the outcome of a high performing team (Stevens and Campion, 1994). Druskat and Wolf (2001) argues that without confrontation, disruptive behavior can fester and erode a sense of trust in a team. Emotionally competent teams don't wear blinders; they have the emotional capacity to face potentially difficult information and actively seek open communication and opinions on their task processes, progress, and performance from the outside (Barrick et al. 1998). The most effective teams have established norms that strengthen their ability to respond. Teams are most creative when their members collaborate unreservedly. People stop holding back when there is mutual trust, and communication rooted in emotionally intelligent interactions. They create resources for working with emotions, foster an affirmative environment, and encourage proactive problem solving (Druskat and Wolf, 2001).

Larson and LaFasto emphasizes that teams that are unaware of what limitations exist are often the teams that are the most engaged in a constant exchange of knowledge, with mutual understanding (Larson and LaFasto, 2001). Wheelan (2010) and Larson and LaFasto (2001) claim that abandonment is also evidence


of a deprived feedback climate. In a well-functioning communication environment, feedback is an important factor (Wheelan, 2010; Larson and LaFasto, 2001; Katzenbach and Smith,1992). Challenges are impossible to avoid but a team that is functioning well is required to challenge each other when focus of work is wrong (Wheelan, 2010; Larson and LaFasto, 2001; Katzenbach and Smith,1992). Wheelan (2010) and Katzenbach and Smith (2003), describes the risk that feedback develops into an expression of hidden agendas about specific individuals. They also mention that a large number of team members have difficulty communicating effectively as a team. Scarnati (2001) gave a good example of how important communication and conflict resolution is to/within team work. He tells his story, “around the area in Pennsylvania where I grew up there were two brothers who owned a small farm. Although not rich by any person's standards, they saved enough money to buy a workhorse. The brothers, being of disagreeable temperament, often did not work as a team, even though it would have been mutually beneficial. During an ensuing argument over whose turn it was to feed the horse, each accused the other of not taking his fair turn.

Therefore, because of their stubborn and uncooperative attitude, no one fed the horse, and the horse died. The moral is to use a little common horse sense and teamwork to feed your dreams, or you'll never be able to put them out to pasture.”

Wheelan explains that in teams where individual skills are not attended or valued, team members are often unable to contribute with useful input. Active contribution and support in exchanges of opinions also create better conditions for constructive handling of obstacles, thus helping to advance the work process into a productive force. In this stage the leader is even more less controlling and increased consultancy is evident. The leader's task is to pay attention to signs of regression.

5. Experiences and feelings about outcome

Groups that have a distinct end point experience the fifth stage. An evaluation of the work and process is taking place. Awaiting termination may cause disruption and conflict in certain groups. In other groups, separation issues are addressed, and members' appreciation of each other and the group joint experience can be expressed.


The five stages explained above can be compared to the steps a person goes through during their development from child to adult. Stage one: belonging and security - can be compared to the small child's need for safety and dependence on the parent leader. Stage two for groups reminds of teenager's behavior with conflict, independence and liberation from the family and parents group and leader. Stage three can be likened to the young adults who have not yet found the right one but try relationships and different jobs while finding an adult relationship with the parent. At stage four, the group can cease to focus on security-creating, mutual positioning and other things that steal energy and instead start focusing on the task.

Figure b: Comparison Group maturity towards Wheelan IMGD.

A group passes all stages but can also get stuck in any stage if the leadership or other factors limits its development. These stages can also be associated with one of the most commonly known team maturity models proposed by Bruce Tuckman (1965). Tuckman's model has similar stages as Wheelan’s. Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Forming refers to when team members as individuals get to know each other. Resemblance may entice team members (Cartwright, 1968). Storming refers to the stage where team members reveal their true self and disagreement, or conflict may be raised to the surface. The norming refers to when a sense of cohesiveness is shown within the team and among team members. Lastly, performing is when the team as a whole has gotten into performing and being productive as a team.

However, looking at the empirical use of Wheelan’s model, the IMGD is founded on a metastudy based on the majority of group dynamic models that have been validated and summarized in her research. Her position is that the success of a group is a result of a number of elements that derive from dynamic factors as well as members' relations, communication patterns and other norms such as structural factors, for example, occurrence of goals, rules of play and policies. In Wheelan’s own observational support of her model (2003), she has also examined the connection between the period of time that a team has been working together and


the verbal behavior structures of its individuals and additionally the part's view of the condition of improvement of the work. She argues to show that there is a notable connection between the time portion that a team had been working together and the verbal behavior structures of its individuals. Furthermore, individuals from more established teams had a tendency to see their work, and venues together to have a greater amount of the qualities of stage 3 and stage 4 gatherings and to be more rewarding. For example, emergency care in the United States has observed patient survival and found that workgroups in stage 1 and 2 have more patients who die. Another example, in the American school system, there has been a correlation between how well the teachers' teams collaborate and how well the students are performing national tests. Genius lies within the collaborative efforts of an empowered team (Scarnati and Scarnati, 2002).

Scarnati (2001) as well as Wheelan (2010; 2005) believes that the key benefits originated from teamwork are the collectively intellectual capital, gained from the members. Effective team development must always evaluate the development stage of the team and interventions should be based on the current stage. Focus will be on the needs of the team as one unit, not with the team’s members as individuals (Wheelan, 2010; 2005; Katzenbach and Smith, 2003). Larson and LaFasto (2001), argues that within teams, having a clear view on how competitive forces and opinions about decisions are managed and prioritized by whom, creates an effective decision-making process for the team. However, Katzenbach and Smith (2003), stresses the importance of, in such situation, that team members being flexible and can make the necessary compromises to achieve success in shared decision making. Wheelan (2005) believes that the team needs to acquire a number of elements: a clear view of the current stage and efficiency level and focus on the team and not on the individual personality.


2.2 Larson and LaFasto - Effective Team Framework

Larson and LaFasto (2001) developed an influential framework for successfully facilitating a team. This was done for a private health care corporation. They conducted a three-year study of individual teams and what they achieved. Larson and LaFasto studied the 600 teams and developed a set of dynamics of teamwork and collaboration. The following questions were subject to the research: Do team members have experience, problem-solving ability, openness, supportiveness, action orientation, and a positive personal style? Can team members give and receive feedback? How focused is the team? Is it a positive climate? Is there open communication? Does the team leader focus on the goal? Ensure a collaborative climate? Build confidence? Demonstrate sufficient technical know-how? Set priorities? Manage performance?

And are there helpful management practices, structure and processes, systems? After interviewing this wide range of effective teams, including a space shuttle team and a championship American football team, they discovered a number of consistent characteristics.

They developed a strategy framework for building an effective team that involved creating a team culture with the following characteristics: a clear, elevating goal, a results-driven structure, competent team members, unified commitment, collaborative climate, standards of excellence, external support and recognition and principle supportive leadership.

Figure c: Five Dynamics of Effective Teamwork, Larson and LaFasto (2001)

According to Larson and LaFasto (2001; 1989), and Hultin, Zhang and Hu (2017), high performance work teams are generally composed of a combination of purpose and goals, talent and skills, incentives and motivation, efficacy, conflict, communication, and power and empowerment. Inordinate results are achieved by team members talents and skills. These must be employed effectively. High performing team members’ talents and skills must be recognized, applied and refined to achieve unlimited results. Larson and LaFasto believe that individuals with certain capacities, such as for example, problem solving and conflict resolution, tend to be more engaging and united in contributing to effective teamwork (Larson and LaFasto, 1989).


Csikszentmihalyi (1990), also tells us that, skills such as problem solving, and conflict resolution should be applied by team members to manage issues.

Larson and LaFasto (2001; 1989) describe the elements that must be managed to optimize the probability of a high performing team and to be considered significant in developing a high- performance team:

1. Team members knowledge of how work is to be performed and ability to collaborate Competent members. An effective team must have clear understanding of its goals and must consider the goals important. The goals should be personally challenging and elevating in the sense that they are important. Team members must believe that accomplishment of the goals will make a difference. Common team goals are the result of team incentive to reach goals with less number of conflicts or issues. Effective teams must have members who possess the necessary technical skills and knowledge and who have personal characteristics required to achieve excellence while working well with others. Team members must also have a strong desire to contribute and the ability and desire to collaborate with others. When team members learn how to collaborate efficiently teams become most creative. When trust is mutual, and communication is entrenched in emotionally intelligent exchange the members stop holding back and collaboration may be increased. Groups should be composed of the right number and mix of members to accomplish the tasks. Members need to be provided with sufficient information, training and education. Team members need to not only be able to do the job, but to be able to collaboratively work together.

2. Productive team relations with interaction, mutual understanding, trust and commitment to decisions

Effective team members must have a sense of loyalty and commitment to the team. Unified commitment involves dedication and enthusiasm for the team’s goals and an intense identification with a group of people. Fosters trust, involvement and co-operation among team members. Encourages thinking about problems in new ways and questions assumptions.

Exhibiting trust in assigning responsibility, being fair and impartial, and accentuating the positive. A high performing team need to have a unified commitment. The team need to develop a sense of unity and identification with each other and the tasks. Larson and LaFasto (1989) argues that this may be developed by involving team members in all aspects of the process.

Trust is argued as the most important feature in problem resolution teams, while organizational autonomy is noted as the key feature in creative teams and task clarity in tactical teams. The


most effective teams are creating emotionally intelligent attitudes and behaviors that support building trust, group identity, and group value. Many teams build high emotional intelligence by considering pains from an individual member's perspective (Larson and LaFasto, 2001).

Both Argyris (1992); McGregor (1967); and Larson and LaFasto (1989) argue that trust may have important influences on team performance. Integrity or trustworthiness is an important attribute of leaders (Bass, 1990). All these studies share a common idea as to why trust in leadership is assumed to be an important determinant of team performance. When a team trust the leader, the team is willing to accept the leader's activities, goals, and decisions and work hard to achieve them. Druskat and Wolf (2001) debates that the most successful teams have a need for cooperation, participation, and commitment to goals. They have found that conditions that forms a high performing team is assumed to be fundamental essential processes like, group trust, group identity, and awareness of group value. Once these conditions are absent, team members may to a larger extent choose to hold back rather than to engage thus making the team not as effective as it could be.

To respond constructively to other team members a team needs to build up a team atmosphere in which it can influence emotions in constructive ways. Emotional intelligence within a group of people is more complex than on an individual basis since teams are made out of several individuals and these interact at several levels (Druskat and Wolf, 2001). A person or a team with high emotional intelligence, is aware of emotions and can regulate them in any direction (Goleman, 2005).

Personal emotional intelligence is being aware of and regulating one's own emotions. Social competence is awareness and regulation of others' emotions. A group of people must attend to yet another level of awareness and regulation. It must be attentive of the emotions of its members, its own group emotions or moods, and the emotions of other groups and individuals outside its boundaries (Druskat and Wolf, 2001).

3. Collaboration in recognizing and solving problems

The working climate need to be collaborative. High performing teams thrive in an environment of trust. This environment is characterized by honesty, openness, consistent and predictable behavior and respect. Trust allows team members to stay focused on the problem at hand,


promotes effective communication and improves the quality of collaborative work. Involving team members in problem solving and decision making. The team and its leaders empower team members by ensuring they have the authority to implement policies and members' decisions. Agreeing on principles for discussion, managing any assumptions or prejudices associated with the problems being discussed. Team members should feel free to compensate for one another, take risks, be focused on the problems, and listen to each other.

4. Transformational and supportive leadership

Leadership is central to the team effectiveness. Effective leaders establish a vision of the future, create change and unleash the talents and energy of team members. Effective leaders influence others to move from the status quo towards a vision of the way things should be. Effective leaders have a plan for change and demonstrate to team members that change is not only possible, it is positive. Effective leaders also motivate team members to take action by generating enthusiasm and commitment to the team’s objectives. An important factor of creating a high performing team is the desire and willingness to help others succeed, both on a team level and leadership level. Often there are unequal status positions within teams, competitive forces and shared opinions about decisions. Clarity of how these potential obstacles are managed and prioritized and by whom creates an effective decision-making process for the team. Great team leaders are a combination of the right skills and personality type to be effective. A transformational leader drives encouragement and recognition to its members.

These leaders are unleashing talent as they work with team members.

High performing teams are impacted by the amount and level of problem solving they manage (Priest and Gass, 1997), it is also reliant on applicable role allocation and that job satisfaction increases from among other clear job description and support from the leader, which will in return increase motivation and performance (Wheelan, 2010; Larson and LaFasto, 2001). Similarly, Larson and LaFasto (1989) claims the importance of team leader ability to influence team members to their best ability by supporting a healthy climate, a clear vision and a high energy level. Team members should adopt the vision and required objectives to reach a high-performing state. This is also argued by Katzenbach and Smith (1992), stating that leaders should, in order to create a high performing team, create opportunities for others by being supportive. Transformational leaders involve team members in decision making. Such leaders share power and information with their employees and encourage independence. This leadership style treats


team members as individuals, supports and encourages their development. High performing teams often require a leadership and group dynamics that allow an informal and encouraging team environment (Katzenbach and Smith, 1992;

Stevens and Campion, 1994). The leader should, in order to increase the likelihood of success help the team understand the problems they face. He or she should also help the team become cohesive and capable of setting high performance standards and accomplishing them. Help providing the team with career goals, assignments and strategies and in the same way coordinate team activities by matching skills with roles. Hackman (1990) argues that a common mistake is to give organizational teams challenging assignments, but no organizational support to accomplish these assignments. Other research also points out that success factors for productive high performing teams are effective and supportive leadership (Bradley and Hebert, 1997). Bradley and Hebert (1997) highlights that ineffective leadership will sabotage team productivity. Argued is that “a knowledgeable, assertive leader must not only be available and properly trained in group dynamics techniques but must also be the type of person who can lead people who represent different functional areas and different levels of management”.

5. Organizational context which supports active management and provision of structure and controlling systems.

External support and recognition. The absence of external support and recognition is quite noticeable in poorly functioning teams, and its existence is a sign that a team is successful. The team is given the resources it needs to perform and is supported by other outside the team. High performing teams have clear work structures that cultivates engagement, trust and accountability within the team. Systems must offer, on a group level, consistent and advantageous information and drive behavior toward desired results. The design and structure of the team must be appropriate for the goals of the team. Personal, financial and psychological returns are to be linked to group goals as it affects team success more than personal success. It is important to setup standards of excellence within a team for their processes. This will boost team members to perform at their highest levels. The standards need to be clear and concrete.

The structure must make sense to the members and most not confuse efforts with results. The team leader can facilitate this process by making expectations clear, constantly providing feedback to resolve performance issues and acknowledge superior performance. The effective


team has clear roles and responsibilities, an effective communication system, methods for evaluating performance, and objective and factual information for decision making. Effective teams establish and meet standards of excellence in terms of performance, individual commitment, motivation and self-esteem. Performance standards are formally established and evaluated, but commitment, motivation and self-esteem rarely are. They are established informally, sometimes unconsciously, and play a role in the performance evaluation. Individual team members need to require one another to sustain standards of excellence. The team also needs to apply pressure on itself to establish and sustain standards and not rest on its successes.

Ineffectiveness within teamwork often takes place when insufficient information exchange between units within the organization, creating uncertainties and frustration where teams experience segregation (Larson and LaFasto, 2001).

Larson and LaFasto (2001) argues that a team is inefficient without a well- functioning interaction with the surrounding organization. Teams must own the responsibility to improve their organizational relationships. The team also need the ability to acclimate itself to changing external requirements (Wheelan, 2010).

To obtain high team performance, it is needed for team members to have faith in themselves, their organization and their team (Brown, 2003).

In 2005, Larson and LaFasto conducted an in-depth study of 50 effective teams ranging from a field team from the CDC, Centers for Disease Control, to the 1988 Notre Dame football team and found that failure in the teams that did fail was due to one main reason and that was that personal goals superseded group or team goals. Teams are at the very foundation of an organization, and they won't work effectively without mutual trust and a common commitment to goals (Druskat and Wolf, 2001). When the team does not work toward the performance related objectives and strategies set by the leader, it becomes difficult for the team to work together effectively and perform at their highest level (Dirks, 2000). Nonetheless, in a team, the team members share responsibility for creating the effective team (Wheelan, 2003). Creating an effective team is not leader focused. Wheelan (2003) believes that all team members are involved in the creation a team’s distinctive culture. Leaders alone cannot and should not be held responsible for the team success or failure. Teams are codependent structures.


2.3 Katzenbach and Smith – Team Basics Model

Katzenbach and Smith (1993) argue that we cannot meet the challenges ahead, from total quality to customer service to innovation, without teams. They say that teams are a flexible and efficient way to enhance organizational performance.

An employee’s contribution to organizational operational performance may depend on four levels of relationship: competence, teamwork, organizational commitment and customer orientation. These four dominant variables, individually and collectively, influence organizational performance parameters (Paul and Anantharaman, 2003).

Katzenbach and Smith (1993) believe that as teams trust the individuals of the team and their collective accountability, team performance is greater as it harvests results based both on individual efforts in addition to the joint contribution of the team members. Katzenbach and Smith's research involves interviews with hundreds of people from thirty companies, and reveals what differentiates various levels of team performance, where and how teams work best, and how to enhance their effectiveness and productivity. Among the findings were that a formal organizational hierarchy is good for teams, successful team leaders fit no ideal profile and commitment to performance goals is more important than commitment to team-building goals.

A good team leader creates opportunities for others (Katzenbach and Smith (1992). Team performance is not possible if the leader grabs all the best opportunities, assignments, and credit for him or herself. The leader must provide performance opportunities for the team (Katzenbach and Smith (1992). A good team leader gives up decision space only when and as the group is ready to accept and use it, striking the right balance between making tough decisions and letting others make them, between doing difficult things alone and letting others learn how to do them (Katzenbach and Smith, 1992). As part of team development, teams must learn to take risks involving conflict, trust and interdependence. Too much command will suffocate the capability, initiative, and creativity of a team; too little guidance, direction, and discipline will have the team struggling. No two teams have the same mix of people and skills, choice of purpose and goals, best approach, or threshold of mutual accountability. Rarely does a leader's experience with one team exactly match the needs of another.

The wisdom of teams lies in recognizing their unique potential to deliver results and in understanding their many benefits. Different tasks require different teams (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993). As well as Wheelan and Larson and LaFasto, Katzenbach and Smith proposed a similar type of team development model that describes the journey of a working group to a high


performing team. Katzenbach and Smith (1993) argues that there is a natural resistance to moving beyond individual roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities. Individuals do not easily accept responsibility for the performance of others or cherish others assuming responsibility for them. Overcoming this resistance requires that team members understand, accept, and apply the

‘the basics’ of team work. In the ‘team performance curve’ the team starts out as a working group and ends up by being a high-performance team. Katzenbach and Smith (1993) uses the following six questions to identify the success of teams and also to enhance this effectiveness:

Is the size of the team appropriate? Do members have adequate complementary skills? Is the purpose of the team truly meaningful and understood? Are there team-oriented goals – are they clear, realistic, and measurable? Does the team have a voiced working approach? And, is there a sense of mutual accountability? For teams to be efficient, all six questions need to be addressed adequately. Furthermore, there are three predominant goals in the Katzenbach and Smith model: 1) Collective Work Products, 2) Personal Growth, and 3) Performance Results.

Team elements required to make these three happen are: 1) Commitment, 2) Skills, and 3) Accountability. These outcomes are presented in the vertices of the triangle and indicate what teams can deliver. In contrast, the sides and center of the triangle describe the team elements required to make it happen – Commitment, Skills, and Accountability.

Figure d: Team Basics Model - Katzenbach and Smith (1993)

To explain the Katzenbach and Smith model, the six rudimentary elements that are key characteristics important to consider in developing a high-performance team are:

1. Small teams - less than 12 individuals for a good work flow


More than this number and it gets complicated to work together effectively. Smaller groups have less logistical issues with meeting often enough for them to form a real team. In a small group, each person’s contributions and responsibilities are clear, whereas larger groups have more difficulties progressively defining those responsibilities. Too few team members could limit the range of skills, while too big a group will encourage teams within the team to emerge.

2. Complementary skills related to functional expertise, problem solving and decision- making, as well as interpersonal and social skills

Complementary skills and experiences gives the benefits of team members stimulate each other on overcoming hindrances. They focus on performance which makes the team a powerful tool for learning and professional development. The members of the team have to have all of the necessary skills for them to achieve their goal. This requirement is somewhat less important than the others, as Katzenbach and Smith observe that real teams give their members the incentive to go learn the skills they need for the team to be successful. High-performance teams begin by engaging the best talent, while quickly helping low-performing members find other places to work. Morale normally increases as performance rises. Selecting talent, criticality is ensuring the team members hold complementary skills (e.g. technical, problem-solving, decision-making and interpersonal skills). Team members must show a continual obligation to performance excellence, exercise openness and mutual respect, and hold themselves and their organizations accountable at both the individual and team levels. The active leadership role in a team often shifts from member to member, depending on the situation. Team leaders should adopt a team approach as to the leader avoids on his own making all important decisions or makes all work assignments and all evaluations of individuals. They mean that the leader should promote constructive conflict resolution, use distance and perspective to keep the team's actions and directions relevant and constantly challenge the team to sharpen its common purpose, goals, and approach. It is argued that conflict is necessary in becoming a high performing team.

Improved performance may come from disagreements and constructive debating. It is further argued that teams should openly and honestly examine who best suits what task and also evaluate how the roles work together. Katzenbach and Smith maintains that leaders need to trust in the people of its team otherwise he or she cannot be effective.

For a group to come forward with productive and resourceful problem solving, they would need open discussions about conflict adjacent to a task (Pratkanis and Turner, 1999). Esquivel and Kleiner (1996) claims that the dynamic of conflicts and its effect on work teams’ decision-making processes is necessary to become


high performing. Esquivel and Kleiner (1996) means that the focus of team members’ discussions and differences on issues related to the task at hand fosters creativity, open and honest communication and utilizes members’ skills and abilities. Esquivel and Kleiner (1996) in addition to Katzenbach and Smith, discuss the ability to understand different types of conflict and to manage them successfully will give teams the competitive edge they need to become high performers.

Spring (2007) mentions that successful leadership maintain team congruence by focusing on mission specific task outcomes and personal qualities of team members. There is also said to be an association between leadership and team cohesion that is affected differently depending on leadership behavior, team categories, different tasks, and formal structures (Spring, 2007). Leadership behavior, impacting development of team cohesion, may harvest superior performance (Michalisin and Karau, 2007). Team leadership demands a set of attitudes and behaviors and many of us can learn these, but the attitude and behavior of a team leader will have to be re-learned and re-applied over and over, since these are not instinctively found in us (Katzenbach and Smith, 1992). Many different kinds of people can be effective team leaders and most people have to develop as team leaders on the job (Katzenbach and Smith, 1992). Katzenbach and Smith (1992) also argues that each team is unique and requires its leader to strike a distinctive balance between action and patience, in each separate team.

They say that this requires the leader's unbroken attention to strengthen the mix and level of skills, build commitment and confidence, relationship building with unknowns, and remove hindrances. Leadership style is a key factor for positive impact on team outcomes. Somech (2006), mentions in his research, participative leadership style was found positively associated with team reflection, which in turn fostered team development. Manz and Sims (1987) found indications in their research that leaders' most important behaviors are those that through participation facilitate the team's self-management, this through self-observation, self-evaluation, and self-reinforcement.

Michalisin and Karau (2007) found that no single style of leadership is effective across all work to be executed. Furthermore, Katzenbach and Smith (1992) expresses they have encountered many situations where successful leaders of one



The aim of the study was therefore (i) to examine potential changes in performance in high level female team athletes during different phases of the MC and (ii) to examine

15 In the temperate language of the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), the operations of NDS Special Forces, like those of the Khost Protection Force, “appear to be coordinated

Even this part of the “model” can be motivated as an institution completely aligned with economic growth. Since collective agreements always rule out local

In the present study, we simulated 1- and 2-hour drone flights using an extensive range of vibrations and turbulence with g-forces ranging from 10 G to 30 G to test the effects on

In the following sections we will discuss the variational multiscale method as a turbulence modelling tool, and describe the implementation of the method in a spectral element

Consequently, a high task interdependence of employees in teams high in mastery climate might lead to an even more negative relationship between knowledge

To that end we compared the well-known team myth in Western contexts “Ideal Team (Myth 1)” with the tacit myth that there are no teams as such in the Chinese context

The social support given to each other in the team and the team efficacy do not need to be high when the stress level is low, the need for samhandling is low, and not much is