Effective modern leaders use focused work teams to solve business
problems and to make business processes more efficient.
A work team is
a temporary committee formed of employees collectively charged with
responsibility for solving specific problems. Team members study their
problem, suggest improvements in how products are created or services
delivered, and then disband. Team members with different competencies
and perspectives are chosen based on their relevance for solving the
problem at hand. If the problem to be worked on touches multiple
departments, representative employees from those departments are on the
team. The diversity of team member's combined experience and hands-on
knowledge regarding business processes means that they are more likely
to come up with innovative and effective solutions than are management
types who have a more abstracted understanding of business processes.
By efficiently optimizing details of business procedure, teams free
leaders to spend more time attending to the more abstract but vitally
important customer experience. Teams are also good for moral as they
generate high levels of involvement by empowering employees.
Efficiently cutting across layers of hierarchy to solve problems,
work teams are one of the more efficient tools at a leader's disposal
for orchestrating organizational change. With creative leadership,
teams may address a variety of issues, including:
- Operations teams designed to streamline and make more
efficient the way an organization's products are created or services
- Process improvement teams designed to evaluate and improve work processes (e.g. responding to a customer complaint).
- Quality teams designated to measure, monitor and manage the quality of output for a division or organization.
- Planning teams designed to consider alternatives to
current strategies and propose new strategies or plans for addressing
issues of concern.
- Advisory teams reporting to executives on a range of
issues effecting the organization (Usually having representatives from
multiple levels in the organizational hierarchy).
Successful new leaders must develop skills in creating and managing
teams. When properly managed, teams can be a major asset. When poorly
managed, they can be counterproductive. The new leader faces the
challenge of using teams creatively and effectively.