Team work and communication go hand in hand, and these two are the two most indispensable element of an organisational functioning. Organisations are commonly found to put emphasis on the ability of an individual to work in groups a team and carry out successful communication in due course. Working in teams brings about a wide range of benefits for the individuals and successively for the organisation as a whole. This includes the possibility of establishing new relationships within the organisation and outside, distribution of all major responsibilities and incorporating a sense of group accomplishment. Building up a team needs to have the foundation of good communication (Galegher, Kraut and Egido 2014). Conversely, team work might lead to anxiety and tension among the team members if communication is poor. Effective communication possesses the ability to reduce the possible chances of negative feelings and stress related to working in collaboration with each other in a team. Organisations encourage employees to communicate with each other in a clear and transparent manner, respecting each other’s viewpoints and opinions. This is more important for organisations where employees need to work in teams for fulfilling the objectives of the organisation (Maxwell 2013).
The present essay explores the complexities of team work within an organisation and examines the attributes and skills required by an individual to demonstrate effective team work skills. The discussion would draw upon evidence-based strategies that are beneficial for improving team work abilities. The essay would review the existing literature on team work and team effectiveness within the organisational context. The first section of the essay explains the key terms related to the essay topic. The subsequent section would analyse the relationship between communication and team work. The following section would review the literature on the importance of ethics in communication within a team. The essay would end with a logical conclusion to the whole discussion while summarising the key points from the essay.
A single individual is not always capable of taking critical and vital decisions alone and needs guidance and support of other individuals to come up with apt solutions to issues. When people with common interests come together on a single platform, a team is formed. All successful organisations are known to have different teams, each with their set of responsibilities and tasks, which together contribute towards the success of the organisation. A team is defined as the organised group of individuals who are directly involved in carrying out individual/shared tasks set by the organisation as well as fulfilling individual/shared objectives and goals for the purpose of accomplishing the broader organisational objectives. A team might be consisting of full-time and part-time human resources who work in collaboration with each other for fulfilling the deliverables and successfully completing the mission. A group of individuals become an enviable team when they understand all the aspects of the work to be done, can plan ideally for timely completion of the assigned tasks, can perform the tasks within timeline, budget, quality expectations, report on risks and changes relevant to the organisation, and communicate status of the progress made (Miller and Barbour 2014). Team building refers to the collective term used for groups of activities applied for enhancing social relations together with defining roles within any team. Team building often involves collaborative tasks, and it is not to be confused with team training. Depending on the performance of the team, team building activities are considered for improving the performance of the team (Modaff, Butler and DeWine 2016).
Team work is perfectly referred to the cumulative efforts of each team member for the fulfilment of objectives of the team. Regardless to say, team work is the backbone of all teams. For a team to work in alignment with the goals of the organisation, every member of the team needs to contribute and perform optimally in alignment with the predefined goals. What matters in a team is the collective performance of the team members and not individual performances (Kozlowski et al. 2015).
Liu, Cross, and Erez (2014) brought into limelight the concepts of team communication and team effectiveness and defined each of them. As per the authors, communication is an integral element of team work. Team communication refers to the process by which team members exchange pieces of information for conveying ideas, generating viewpoints and discussion, prompting actions and coordinating activities. Effective communication is the transmission of a message from one party to another so that the intention and concent of the message are well understood by the recipient. Team members can share the valuable information in different ways, verbal and non-verbal. Verbal communication includes meetings where face-to-face communication takes place, and communication in writing form includes memos, texts and e-mails. Norms within an organisation emerge regarding the timings, frequency and mode of communication.
Team effectiveness is the ability of the team to fulfil the objectives set up by the authority within the organisation. Whether a team is effective or not can be evaluated through different components of theories and research that describes a multi-faceted nature of the team. Team effectiveness can be adjudged by three primary criteria; learning, social processes and most importantly output. The final output of the team has to go beyond the standards that are prevalent in the organisation. Team performance refers to the final output of the team aligned with the predefined conditions and targets. Team performance is an indicator of how well the group dynamics is proficient. The measure of team performance includes, but is not restricted to, goa setting, fulfilment of consensus, adequate implementation of problem-solving aids and total achievements (Wang, Waldman and Zhang 2014).
Cheney et al. (2014) have provided a deep insight into the relation between teamwork and communication. As per the authors, for developing a proper team communication, there is a requirement to understand the impact of communication on team work both positively as well as negatively. The understanding helps the team member o promote proper habits of communication. The first area where communication makes a mark is increased interaction. Under circumstances where communication channel within a team has been established properly, and there is a smooth flow of information between the team members, there is an increased ability of the team members to interact with one another. Moreover, team members can gather knowledge about how one can interact with each other in a more efficient manner, so that job duties are performed appropriately. With effective communication in place, an individual is better able to understand own weaknesses and strengths. Poor communication has a drastic impact on team collaboration as any misunderstanding arising due to miscommunication paves the way for internal conflict. A team that needs to spend time on resolving conflicts arising due to miscommunication is never able to become a productive team. A robust system of communication readily eliminates all chances of misinformation, and as a result, the chances of conflicts is significantly reduced. A team focusing more on the set objectives and tasks and less on conflict resolution is better able to fulfil their set target in terms of organisational objectives.
As opined by Miller and Barbour (2014) members working together in a team needs to make efforts to understand the responsibilities that each one has towards the success of the team. It is also pivotal that they understand and acknowledge how the team’s duties can help the organisation to move in the forward direction. A strong channel of communication within the team would act as the vehicle to pass on the vital, necessary details to each member of the team regarding the individual’s responsibilities. It would also aid in having updates on the progress of the company. An internal communication system that is broken can make the members confused regarding what is to be expected from the endeavours carried out while working in a team. They might feel unmotivated to work and put in their best efforts, thereby contributing less to the success of the organisation. A team that exhibits effective communication system is easy to be trained by the organisation. When there is a lack of proper functioning of communication element in a team, training information might not be delivered to each individual adequately. Good communication aids in maintaining employee development and the entire team can be kept up-to-date on new information related to the company.
Modaff, Butler and DeWine (2016) pinpoint that each member of a team must be aware of the signs of poor communication within the team. Missed deadlines fo projects, slow progress in achieving organisational goals and less problem solving attitude are all indications of communication issues. Teams spending unnecessary time to discuss strategies rather than implementing them are usually lacking the required level of communication skills for delegating tasks and getting the job done. Other signs of poor communication are no team direction and distinct focus, the argument among members and team dissension. Organisations must take appropriate steps to train the team members to communicate effectively for changing the working environment within a team. Team members also need to make initiatives to change the team environment in a positive way, thereby increasing the revenue and productivity of the company.
There are a number of barriers to effective communication within a team, the most prominent one being the absence of shared vocabulary. The other issues are a lack of understanding of concepts regarding tasks, divergent styles of expressing viewpoints and difference in gender or age. Time constraint is another factor for poor communication. Lastly, virtual teams with members widely dispersed come across additional challenges while communicating. Beebe and Masterson (2014) highlight that team communication leads to both professional and personal development. Team members can be influenced to a large extent by the counselling and coaching skills of the team leaders and under circumstances when the leaders act as a role model, team members can being rapid improvements in their own communication skills. Sturdy team communication skills enable team members to learn the process of managing conflicts in appropriate ways. By applying apposite methods to avoid conflict, one can bring multi-dimensional benefits.
Research has indicated that ethics needs to be involved with team communication at all levels for having a sustainable team. From the organisational viewpoint, communication ethics can be considered to be an art of imposing an influence. Communication ethics is the predefined concept that behaviour of an individual would be governed by the morals that eventually makes an impact on the different forms of communication. Communication ethics have been made a significant element of work ethics whereby employees manage their responsibilities through communicating in verbal and nonverbal mediums. Ethical communication as a major team venture has drawn the attention of stakeholders within all organisations in the recent past. The reason for being ethical when working in a team is to act according to the best interests of the team members and to avoid any harm being done to any of them. The ultimate result is building up of trust that is crucial while working in a team. It is easier for all members to outline a discrete definition of what can be acceptable under all conditions. The relationship between the members of a team is made strong in this process (Dale et al. 2016). Goetsch and Davis (2014) point out that ethical communication is always inherent in a team as ethical principles serve as the tool for maintaining relationships among the members of a team. These relationships become reasonable when each member follows the basic ethical principles. Maintaining ethics can reduce the chances of conflict and misunderstandings among the team members, thereby fostering communication. Ethical communication holds immense potential to enhance the dignity and worth of humans by nurturing personal veracity, accountability, equality, candour and respect. Resting upon this concept, it can be stated that ethical communication in teams takes care of benefits of self as well as of others.
According to Kirk, Coyle and Doolittle (2015) honesty, accuracy and truthfulness are all essential for communicative integrity. Members of a team must strive to have a better understanding of the viewpoints and decisions of others. Ethical principles are to be maintained by promoting a climate of mutual understanding through acknowledging the unique needs of other team members. The authors further state that communication is to be avoided within a team that degrades relationships through intimidation, hatred and intolerance. Advocating for sharing feelings and opinions enables a team to access a wide range of choices with regards to what tasks are to be fulfilled. Integrity and openness are two prime ingredients for building up strong teams. Individuals who follow ethics feel a connection being established between own values and those of the organisation and hence are motivated and encouraged.
Williams (2013) suggests that organisations must come forward to communicate ethics within the teams and hold internal campaigns on the same. High impact messages would possibly direct the role of the team leaders towards raising the awareness about the importance of ethics in communication. The matter of considering ethical values while communicating within a team needs to be discussed openly in all organisations that want to follow ethical principles within the teams. The benefits of having a strong ethical culture within a team are manifold. There is a repetitive indication by organisational research that teams with tough and unbreakable ethical continuance outperform the teams that do not abide by such principles. Ethical individuals have more tendency to be committed and engaged with work. Communicating ethically enables a team member to feel less pressure at work and more comfort carrying out the stipulated tasks. The bottom line is that a team is protected from major risks of failure when the culture within the team is ethical.
Coming to the end of the essay it can be concluded that team work, team communication and ethics are all related to each other within the wider organisational context. Teamwork gives rise to increased productivity, improved staff efficiency and enhanced morale, which are highly desirable for a team to achieve the set goals and fulfill the vision. For having an effective teamwork, it is necessary to have a stong communication channel. Communication, on the other hand, can be made strong by following ethical principles. Against the backdrop o economic turbulence and globalisation, teamwork has made its place as the best method of carrying out work within the organisational context. There can hardly be any alternative to teamwork, and therefore all attempts are to be made for upholding effective communication and ethical principles. All employees at the present world would need to work in teams at some point in time or other while attached to organisations big or small. Communication would be crucial while working in collaboration with others who come from diverse backgrounds. A growing body of literature proves that good communication along with competence and orgasnaitional support acts as the ladder to climb towards success. It is pivotal that individuals going to work in organisations consider developing their communication skills and team work ability so that they can make a place for themselves within the organisation. Long with efficient communication skills come the urge to follow ethical principles while communicating and working within a team. On the whole, effective communication would be the entity congruent with ethical behaviour and actions that would lead to ideal team work.
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