Steve W. J. Kozlowski and Daniel R. Ilgen write that “Given the centrality of work teams, it is more than a bit remarkable how much our society's perspective is focused on the individual. We school our children as individuals. We hire, train and reward employees as individuals. Yet we have great faith that individuals thrown into a team that has been put together with little thought devoted to its composition, training, development and leadership will be effective and successful. Science strongly suggests otherwise.”
“What team members think, feel and do provide strong predictors of team success—and these factors also suggest ways to design, train and lead teams to help them work even better.” They suggest that before we even get started, it would be prudent to ask whether or not a team is what is called for in the first place. Sometimes the work can be done more easily and effectively by an individual.
Their evidence indicates that while practical steps can be taken to improve the performance of teams, it rarely is. Leaders can play a crucial role in developing group skills. For example:
"Prior to action, for example, the leader can help set team learning goals commensurate with current team capabilities. During action, the leader monitors team performance (and intervenes as necessary). As the team disengages from action, the leader diagnoses performance deficiencies and guides process feedback. This cycle repeats, and the complexity of learning goals increases incrementally as team skills accumulate and develop. This kind of feedback loop has been shown to reliably improve team thinking and performance."
Read the full article in the June/July 2007 Scientific American Mind
or online at: The Science of Team Success
by Steve W. J. Kozlowski and Daniel R. Ilgen
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