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    Study Reminders

    A key area where you’ll need to demonstrate workplace success is in teamwork. The ability to work as part of a team is one of the most important skills in today’s job market. There is a link between customer services and teamwork as more than one person is responsible for customer service, and there can be teams working with the same customer.
    On the other hand, businesses succeed by getting, keeping and growing customers. Firms must figure out how to keep their customers longer, grow them into bigger customers, make them more profitable and serve them more efficiently. So, all practices should link back to overall company strategy and organisational culture and values, with clear processes in place to achieve these. The learning objectives will help you to:
    Understand how your role fits with organisational values and practices and be able to work effectively in a team to meet organisational needs, values, to achieve goals and objectives
    Understand how to communicate as part of a team; dealing with problems and disagreements and how to use feedback processes
    Understand the contribution of individuals within a team and be able to use feedback on objectives in a team

    Action Centred Leadership: a Model for Team Leadership and Management
    John Adair's simple Action-Centred Leadership model provides a great blueprint for leadership and the management of any team, group or organisation. Action Centred Leadership is also a simple leadership and management model, which makes it easy to remember and apply, and to adapt for your own situation.
    Good managers and leaders should have full command of the three main areas of the Action Centred Leadership model, and should be able to use each of the elements according to the situation.

    The three parts are:
    achieving the task
    managing the team or group
    managing individuals
    Adair's action-centred leadership task-team-individual model adapts extremely well (as below) for the demands of modern businesses. When using it in your own environment think about the aspects of performance necessary for success in your own situation. It also helps to link your own individual performance to strategic objectives and company values.
    The responsibilities as a manager for achieving the Task are:
    identify aims and vision for the group, purpose, and direction - define the activity (the task) and link it back to overall company objectives and values
    identify resources, people, processes, systems and tools (inc. financials, communications, IT)
    create the plan to achieve the task - deliverables, measures, timescales, strategy and tactics
    establish responsibilities, objectives, accountabilities and measures, by agreement and delegation
    set standards, quality, time and reporting parameters
    control and maintain activities against parameters
    monitor and maintain overall performance against plan
    report on progress towards the group's aim
    review, reassess, adjust plan, methods and targets as necessary
    The responsibilities as a manager for the Team are:
    establish, agree and communicate standards of performance and behaviour, ensuring the link to keeping in line with company values is established
    establish style, culture, approach of the group - soft skill elements
    monitor and maintain discipline, ethics, integrity and focus on objectives
    anticipate and resolve group conflict, struggles or disagreements
    assess and change as necessary the balance and composition of the group
    develop team-working, cooperation, morale and team-spirit
    encourage the team towards objectives and aims - motivate the group and provide a collective sense of purpose
    enable, facilitate and ensure effective internal and external group communications
    identify and meet group training needs
    give feedback to the group on overall progress; consult with, and seek feedback and input from the group
    The responsibilities as a manager for each Individual are:
    understand the team members as individuals - personality, skills, strengths, needs, aims and fears
    assist and support individuals - plans, problems, challenges, highs and lows
    identify and agree appropriate individual responsibilities and objectives
    give recognition and praise to individuals - acknowledge effort and good work
    where appropriate reward individuals with extra responsibility, advancement and status
    identify, develop and utilise each individual's capabilities and strengths
    train and develop individual team members
    develop individual freedom and authority
    As individual work objectives are a key part of how your performance is measured, and link closely with overall strategy, goals and values, let’s take a look at these in more depth.
    Work Objectives
    An example of a work objective a team leader may ask a team to develop on an individual basis:
    General Objective: Identify at least two work process improvements having quantifiable operational or financial benefits during the next Quarter
    How it translates into real-life examples:
    Redesign the customer folder system by product/category so that it is easier to access data, and prepare reports. To be delivered within the quarter period.
    Evaluation checks: Usage feedback and quicker timescales for delivery – hitting operational benefits)
    Re-design the company PowerPoint templates for sales, marketing and financial teams by using the logo, brand colours, for the consistency of message, and uploading them onto the company intranet within one month
    (Evaluation Checks: Determines level of a commitment to reinforcing the brand message to all customers, both internal and external; allowing ease of access via the intranet, time delivery for achievement and feedback form employees sought).
    Resolve a basic customer query within 12 hours or an intermediate query within 36 hours.
    (Evaluation Check: Monitoring customer feedback and delivery time met)
    Write a work objective for someone who works in a purchasing department as an Buying Assistant responsible for purchasing office supplies with a budget of £40000 per annum. As a clue, think about the role of purchasing and how you could help to reduce costs of office supplies and/or wastage.
    Use this structure to help you:
    SMART – keep your objective:
    Suggested Answer:
    Review all office supply contracts due to renewal within the latter six months of the financial year, and compare against competitor prices, with a view to renegotiating contracts with existing or new suppliers, and also review the need for future purchases, thus reducing purchasing costs over the next financial year by 15%.
    Audit current suppliers – feedback on quality of supplies and any damage/returns you’ve had to report to them
    Audit any new suppliers by checking out prices, delivery, terms and conditions
    Meet with department employees to identify any unnecessary supplies, wastage and prioritise supplies to cut
    Monitor supplies over the next 60 days
    Submit suggestions to manager within 90 days
    Involve key buyer in negotiations and
    Prepare new service level agreements
    If all processes followed the project can be achieved
    Review if the 15% reduction has been achieved in the timescale.
    Understand how to communicate as part of a team; dealing with problems and disagreements and how to use feedback processes

    Why Effective Teamwork is Important
    Employers are looking for workers who can contribute their own ideas, but also want people who can work with others to create and develop projects and plans. Teamwork involves building relationships and working with other people using a number of important skills and habits.
    Successful teams are driven by a deeply rooted sense of mission and every team member will have to understand the mission and goals right from the start. With this approach, shared team goals become more important than individual agendas. When you establish team goals upfront, the pay-off is enhanced productivity later on.
    Effective teams have numerous benefits:
    Higher efficiency: Since teams combine the efforts of individuals, they can accomplish more than an individual working alone.
    Faster speed: Because teams draw on the efforts of many contributors, they can often complete tasks and activities in less time.
    Team objectives: These help bind a team together and keep it cohesive, even when obstacles or internal disagreements arise.
    What other benefits can you think of when being in a team? Aim to list at least 4.

    Suggested Answers:

    More thoughtful ideas: Each person who works on a problem or set of tasks may bring different information and knowledge to bear, which can result in solutions and approaches an individual would not have identified.
    Creating More Options: Team members can build on individual ideas and create more options to resolve problems. Diversity in the team can help this too.
    Greater effectiveness: When people coordinate their efforts, they can divide up roles and tasks to more thoroughly address an issue. For example, in hospital settings, teamwork has been found to increase patient safety more than when only individual efforts are made to avoid issues or mishaps.
    Agreement: team members are more likely to go along with changes that they’ve arrived at as a team.