- 14 May 2009
- Sharpening Your Skills
The ability to lead teams is fast becoming a critical skill for all managers in the 21st century. Here are four HBS Working Knowledge stories from the archives that address everything from how teams learn to turning individual performers into team players. Closed for comment; 0 Comment(s) posted.
- 31 Jan 2007
- HBS Case
Know when teamwork doesn't work—and how to fix it. Professors Jeff Polzer and Scott Snook teach "The Army Crew Team" case and the dilemma faced by a rowing coach who has great individual parts but can't get them to synchronize. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Key concepts include: A potentially great team with strong individual contributors can quickly be undone by issues around trust, conflict, team accountability, and intergroup rivalries. In business, competition between groups can provide motivation, but if competition becomes too strong, it can inhibit cooperation and lead to dysfunction. The best teams are those that not only combine the skills of their members to fit the demands of their task, but also energize team members through the bonding that comes with striving toward a common goal. Solutions can include changing team members, but an event to clear the air can help to relieve frustration and resolve conflict. Closed for comment; 0 Comment(s) posted.
- 05 Jul 2006
- Working Paper Summaries
Team diversity can harness strengths or drive a team apart. Troublesome faultlines appear when team members identify with a subgroup more strongly than with the larger team. Previous research, conducted on teams who worked face-to-face, has shown that these faultlines can be based on demographic factors (such as differences in nationality). The authors of this paper conducted a study on faultlines that arise between subgroups in different geographic locations. They found that faultline dynamics did indeed occur in teams with subgroups in different locations, and that their geographic diversity caused disruptive group relations, diminished trust, and increased conflict between subgroups. Key concepts include: Geographic diversity is becoming increasingly important as more organizations rely on dispersed work teams to perform their core work activities. The existence of subgroups in different locations creates an "us versus them" mentality, which leads to misunderstandings and negative feelings between team members. When managing geographically dispersed teams, build relationships and instill a collective identity to integrate subgroups in different locations, and be aware of the very real potential for disruptive group dynamics. Closed for comment; 0 Comment(s) posted.