M9 – Understanding Work Teams

This week we are studying two chapters on Group Behavior and Work Teams. It is critical for managers and leaders to know about working in, working with and motivating work teams to increase productivity.  With two chapters to read, your class discussion post is due Saturday night.  Replies to your classmates are not required, but encouraged.

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Read the Point / Counterpoint article on page 333 of the textbook (17th Edition) “To Get the Most Out of Teams, Empower Them.”  Determine which side (Point or Counterpoint) you agree with. Write a paragraph (with references) on why you chose such. Don’t just do this as a class assignment, but really think about yourself in a managerial role and how you would “empower” your work teams.

When you are ready to reply, scroll to the bottom and “Post Comment.”

69 Comments for “M9 – Understanding Work Teams”

atfinnigan

atfinnigan

says:

I believe in the idea of empowering the people who are performing the work. Driving responsibility down to the people who are directly within your corporate structure empowers then and gives them a sense of responsibility. That being said it is important that leadership play the roll of managing the responsibilities of team members, planning, schedule management and ultimately being responsible for the success of a project. It is for this reason i agree with the counterpoint. Leaders must craft their approach based on the composition of their project team. A good leader can spot the skills and weaknesses of the people that make up his or her team, then delegate tasks accordingly. A good leader will give additional responsibility to people who they see having a strong personality and good work ethic and perhaps place less of a direct responsibility and workload to a person with a personality geared more towards following, they can be utilized in many support rolls within the team. Ultimately it is strong leadership that drives the project through planning, schedule control, and cost management.

Chris

Chris

says:

After reading the “Point” and “Counterpoint” I very quickly understood what side of the fence that I favored. Both points are very valid and both concepts can be applicable. I think that the difference in the two is “leadership” as opposed to “management”. I have been on both sides of the fence. I have worked for a leader and I have worked for a manager. First, I think that it is important to empower your people. Nothing generates greater “buy-in” that empowering your team. By empowering you demonstrate to your team that you trust them. This trust involves not only doing the right thing, or doing what is best for the company but it also demonstrates that you are willing to expose your own vulnerability by trusting in them to do what is also best for you. It is the “I’m putting my life in your hands” mentality. By doing so, your team members will be able to recognize that you are sincere, genuine and that you trust them, value them. You must always remember that this type of leadership may work with most but there are some that need the structure of the manager/employee dynamic. Your job is to recognize the worker styles of your team and tailor your leadership style accordingly. I currently lead a team or professional and paraprofessional people. I have learned that empowering my demonstrates that I value there efforts and that their opinions hold merit within our organization. They understand that I am their boss and there has never been any question regarding boundaries or expectations. I remember when I first came on board as their leader I met with my team and explained to them that most time I will lead from the back. They immediately got confused looks. I explained to them that I always want them in front. In front to receive all the credit, rewards, and accolades for the good work that they do. I then told them that if the “poo” ever hit the fan, it is then that I will lead from the front. I have found that by taking this approach my teams commitment to being successful remains high.

wmputman

says:

Empowering employees is, in most situations, the right course of action if you want the most out of your employees and want them to be dedicated to their company. When reading about Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, I once saw that one of the most mysterious things about his leadership style was how it was how he actually produced such a productive environment. I can’t remember where or when I saw this so it is difficult to cite but I suppose you’ll have to take my word for it for now. Phil Knight’s management style was largely about empowering his employees and creating an environment where they had responsibility and the freedom to make decisions. Much of his success came more in the employees he hired and how he let them operate than anything else. I feel this is a good real life example of the positive sides of empowering your employees and how it benefits a company. Along with making the company better, it seems to boost employees ties to their work and responsibilities. Aspects of their work life like team cohesion (page 328) especially, which have been linked to team performance. If higher responsibilities and decision making is given to teams they are more likely to work together as one unit and achieve a task. This is just one of the many ways empowering your employees benefits both them and the company they work for.

kcampbell8

kcampbell8

says:

I would have to say I lean more towards agreeing with the counterpart in this case. I believe that a good leader oversees their team, while also motivating them to take initiative and do a good job. A good manager can not only use empowerment alone to get work done. While empowerment is important, they should also be giving feedback and monitoring their workers. In page 333 of the text it states, “Empowerment can do some good in certain circumstances, but it’s certainly not a cure-all.”
Both management styles can be effective, but some work better in some situations over others. I do not believe you can have empowerment alone effectively, except for maybe in rare cases. In most cases a leader is able to show trust and motivate their team while also monitoring and working as support in a way that give them the keys to success without micromanaging.

Chris

Chris

says:

Hi…I somewhat agree with what your saying. I think that one of the biggest reluctancy for people to utilize a greater empowerment mentality is insecurity. To empower your team takes a great deal of security with your ability to lead people. By empowering people you “cut the leash” in many ways and make yourself more vulnerable to many forms of misconduct. Because you’ve empowered your team doesn’t necessarily mean that you are no longer managing them. You still have a responsibility to your organization to ensure that those under your leadership are uphold the guidelines of the company. Chances are that you still have people that you have to answer to. I think that empowering people is outside the norm of management but can be an awesome experience for not only your team, but can make the role of leadership very fulfilling.

Just my $0.02

Chris

fagallagherroach

fagallagherroach

says:

I agree with the Counterpoint argument. I believe that teams need direction and leadership. The degree of oversight depends on the composition, context and process of the team (OB 331). Teams need defined leadership, parameters and goals. The vision of upper management should be outlined and addressed to give the team a context of what they are to accomplish. If this is not done the team is most like to flounder and drift. Sometimes they might go in the correct direction but all to often they will not and flounder. It is also that the roles of the team members be established; formally or informally (OB 336). This will deter infighting. We all know the saying to many Chiefs and not enough Indians. Not every team has all the roles given to individuals, sometimes many team members hold many roles.

Michael Dilny

Michael Dilny

says:

I believe that empowering teams is the best way to motivate team members and maximize the performance of the teams. By letting the team members make their own decisions you are letting them feel as though they are in control of their actions which according to self-determination theory is what people prefer due to intrinsic motivation (215). Additionally, it should lead to higher job engagement as well from each individual team member as they may believe their work is more meaningful (231) if they are playing an active role in the decisions. If these concepts along with goal setting motivate individuals; then the collective performance would be amplified as well. Having experienced being on teams both empowered and not; I can say without a doubt that empowering teams is the way to go with a few caveats. I think that this hinges on the team composition (321) overall but more specifically the ability of its members, and member preference to work on a team (326).
I think Empowerment is the best way to promote team efficacy, identity and team cohesion due to the make it or break it nature of empowerment.

fagallagherroach

fagallagherroach

says:

I would only agree in the case of a startup organization or when the team’s goal is to evaluate and or change the direction of the organization. Then this type of team should have autonomy in their process. I still hold to direction and structure are the most effective tools in a team.

Chris

Chris

says:

Hey Michael…I do agree with your post. Team dynamics play a big part but ensuring that your team members are in control of there own professional future goes a long way. Now there will always be that one person that you have to “put the manager hat on” to keep them within the lines, but for the most part people like to feel important in their roles. They also like to feel that there opinion counts. It will also show your team that you trust them and that they can trust you. Trust goes a long way in the dynamics of the workplace.

Chris

jsferlauto

jsferlauto

says:

In this instance I have to agree with the counter point in regards to getting the most out of a team. For a team to work well they have to have some kind of target in mind or the group work can get off point. I do think that management of a group should be minimal in order to facilitate good ideas, but some kind of direction is needed. A group that works together for 30 hours is no use to an organization if the results of said group are not in line with the expectations that are set by the organization. That’s where a supervisor comes in, to give those expectations to give the group direction towards their goal.
If I was in a management position and was in charge of work teams, I would give the expectation of the group work derived from the overall goals of the organization. My stance would then be to empower the group to an extent, letting them go about the work in the way that they see fit, but not so much that the group is directionless. I would check in periodically seeing what the group needs, and evaluating progress, and recognize ideas and performance, that way if someone is slacking they can be motivated to participate fully.
I feel that the motivation of a group can suffer If they feel like there is to much control over them, and can be more motivated if they are given control over the most aspects of the group work possible, which is why I would try to empower while still giving direction.

cgmcmakin

cgmcmakin

says:

I find myself agreeing more so with the counterpoint argument. Mostly because the point argument claims empowerment to be a cure all and the counterpoint suggests that while it can be effective in some situations, most of the time leadership and oversight are more effective. I believe however that any good leader will be able to empower their team while maintaining oversight. This is possible by the leader instilling trust in the workplace. Trust is the foundation of leadership and it allows a team to accept and commit to the leader’s goals and decisions (Robbins 320). With trust, you can deliberately manage a team’s progress without inhibiting creativity and production. If they trust you as a leader, they will not fear thinking outside the box even if it is against your instructions. A good leader would listen and consider the proposition and explain why his/her approach makes more sense. Good leaders would also admit if they think the idea is better and no matter what thank them for their participation and effort. Creating that type of trusting culture both allows the empowerment of the individual and the team while maintaining oversight. The counterpoint also states that empowerment can be an excuse to ask teams to take on more responsibility without compensation for it (Robbins 333). This ties into my point about trust and leadership. A team must trust management to give them structure. This structure could be flexible or strict, but part of managements job is to give that team the baseline structure they can use to start pursuing the goal. “Agreeing on the specifics of work and how they fit together to integrate individual skills requires leadership and structure” (Robbins 320).

Robbins, S. (2017). Organizational Behavior. 17th Edition. San Diego, CA:
Pearson Education

Austyn

Austyn

says:

Both sides of this case make good points. I think the hangup is that this method of managing employees to empower them does not transfer flawlessly across all industries. I imagine a vehicle production facility versus a marketing team for Facebook. I would argue that the marketing team needs to exercise more creativity than production workers. In a creative setting, a manager serves as a sort of creative chopping block. All ideas must be finalized through your managers and company goals are likely set my them as well. In this setting, giving employees more freedom and empowering them would be absolutely beneficial. In a more monotonous production setting managers serve as simply an authoritative figure rather than a creative chopping block. They create schedules, sort out day to day difficulties and generally overlook production. A standard employee in this setting, who lets say attaches the windshield wipers on a vehicle, does not need to exercise a great deal of creativity. Thinning management in this case would just create excess work for employees, who would now be in charge of jobs that were out of their scope before.

Robbins, S. (2017). Organizational Behavior. 17th Edition. San Diego, CA:
Pearson Education

Moses

says:

I agree with counterpoint: “Empowerment can do some good in certain circumstances, but it’s certainly not a cure-all.” (pg 333 in text). This seems the most truthful because it implies the opposite can be true as well. Also because there is no “leash” to remove from management in all cases. Also because leaving a team to make it’s own decisions may not empower them but confuse them and/or break the team apart. Remember, “many people are not inherently team players”, pg 331 in text, and small, remote towns like we live in don’t have a huge pool of people to hire from, meaning less diversity to choose from. Ensuring a team can undergo fair performance evaluations and reward systems to work, I think having it come from management is better. Having a clear leader to go to that you can go to in confidence and who you will not be working with every working hour may be more effective; making the team more equal than having one of it’s member play leader all the time. Also because the pay may not trickle down to a team that works harder by leading itself. Also because teams frequently change and management doesn’t usually change very often, especially in our small town. In my current job, employees leave and get replaced, but replacing managers or directors isn’t easy, from my personal observation at work. Those jobs remain vacant for longer periods and the pay does not trickle down to those remaining who have to share the workload of a manager or director. Last but not least, there is no “leader” or “manager” role in the “Key Roles of Teams”, pg 324 in text.
IF we want to empower a team, management can support them with resources, chapter 10 in text, and “support the team vision”, from John Maxwell’s 17 Laws of Teamwork. Having a manager to go to for adequate resources leaves more time for the team to focus on it’s goals and tasks at hand. These resources come from various sources, such as: “timely information, proper equipment, adequate staffing, encouragement, and administrative assistance.”, from pg 320 in text.

ateslow

says:

Chapter 10’s counterpoint called To Get the Most Out of Teams Shows explains the good in bad in employee empowerment. However, in regards of how much empowerment one should give there team. I would have to say it ether side of the argument is valid based of the capabilities of the individual in the managerial position, and the individuals who are the composition of the team group. Personally If the Manager has done his job well, then the individuals in the team will be aware of the team processes (pg 326) and now each others strong points and weak points. If the team knows each others strengths and weaknesses, and are experienced or at least aware of the team processes. they are better fit the needs of the demand that the marketplace and are more effective as team, if they were to be given extra authorities and liberties in the business place, preformance levels , or business they work with will ask from them. If a team is ineffective, then empowering the team members will have barely any effect on the outcome of the goal.

ateslow

says:

Sorry, accidental submission. From were i left off, if the Team is ineffective, This is most likely due to inexperience and lack of the proper knowledge needed to act independently from management, however as time passes and the team members become more responsible, the leadership positions could probably began empowering those who show the aptitude, and the experience to be able to handle situations when the arise.

nkdong

says:

I believe that both management styles can be beneficial in different circumstances. Because of my most recent work experience, I will defend the point for team empowerment.

I currently work in a four person team, and micromanaging or a lack of empowerment is not an option. Each team has one person that is clearly in charge, and that person earns their spot through a clearly defined process. This responsibility, or power, is delegated to them from the main “manager”. Each member of the team has clearly defined responsibilities and are trained to carry out their jobs. This type of empowerment allows the team to succeed in dynamic environments and operations that don’t have the time or resources to succeed without it.

I do believe that the counterpoints stance will work for some occupations, however. In organizations that are much less dynamic, such as food or clothing sales, management may be expecting a much higher level of autonomy that does not require workers to be empowered in order for the organization to succeed.

Chris

Chris

says:

Micromanaging is the worst. I think that this style of management stems from insecurity. Sometimes that insecurity is rooted in a lack of knowledge or experience. Oftentimes people want to be ‘in charge” but they dont truly understand what that really means. As the old adage goes “if you have to tell everyone that you’re in charge, you’re not in charge.” . I dont think that I have ever witnessed a successful micromanager. I think empowering your team demonstrates that you are comfortable with them, comfortable with who you are and that you truly understand your position. I think that by empowering your team they will have a clear understanding that you are their leader and you wont have to remind them of that.

Just some random thoughts,

Chris

dcheek3

dcheek3

says:

David Cheek Post
The point and counterpoint arguments both could be considered when contemplating how to manage your work teams. The point side basically says to empower them to make decisions if you want them to like their jobs and each other. The empowerment could be legit, by giving them the power that managers would typically have. It could also be superficial, by making them think they have power when really, they don’t. The counterpoint briefly explains that managers and leaders are appointed for a reason and why would you want to take that power from them. The companies that empower groups are saving costs by not paying for managers because they are expecting lower end employees to do the work. I can see how each argument is plausible, however, I am for the counterpoint. I feel designated leadership is a must in order to avoid confusion and conflict. The book states, “Teams have different needs, and members should be selected to ensure all various roles are filled” (Page 323). Currently, I work in the oil industry which is predominantly male, there is a lot of testosterone and strong opinions on how things should be done. Most of the field hands would do absolutely nothing everyday if they could get away with it. The same would go for a lot of our corporate employees, except they know that we have occasional audits to ensure we are within certain standards. However, most of them still would do very little. Having a designated manager to ensure things are done correctly and legally is a must otherwise financial, safety, and environmental standards may not be met.

racheledson

racheledson

says:

After reading both arguments in the article, I agree more with the argument from the point side but believe that it is not quite as simple as just removing “the leash tied to them by management” (p. 333). This side of the argument shares that empowering team members leads to improved motivation, commitment, and performance (p. 333). In the past, I have always tended to have more job satisfaction in the places where I was trusted and treated as a valuable member of their company rather than just an expendable that could easily be replaced. In jobs where I was included in making team decisions and given opportunities to use my skills, I was much more satisfied and more loyal to the company than jobs where I was treated as an entry-level with no voice. As we see in the text, “individuals on teams report higher levels of job satisfaction than other individuals” but in order “for self-managing teams to be advantageous, a number of situational factors must be in place” (p. 314). If I were a business owner, I would want to empower my workers. In order to do this, I would use managers to empower workers by not only assigning responsibilities but also ensuring that co-workers are working together and being accepting of other’s ideas rather than working against each other (p. 316).

jbjohnkins

jbjohnkins

says:

The definition of empowering is to give someone the authority or power to do something. Pg(330).Some people already posse interpersonal skills and empowerment to be effective team players, and some people don’t. I believe in the point rather than counterpoint. There are certain circumstances where teams need empowerment. I think empowering your team allows for a more productive work environment. Instead of leaving all the decision making to your managers and having them develop their strategies. And then allowing your team to have more authority. Which empowers them, psychologically. For example, I have had a job where it was team-based, It was managing a clothes shop, we had someone buy the clothes, handle fiancées, do sales and organize the shop. So everyone had roles and specific to do. Our manager empowered us by giving up job titles and authority over our positions, which motivated us by having a higher level of commitment and we didn’t have to be managed by upper management. Versus the counterpoint which is not giving empowerment to people which leaves them not motivated.

mreichgott

mreichgott

says:

Both point and counterpoint for chapter 10 build arguments based on the de facto strong power distance that’s built in the United States over the last thirty years symbolized in the disproportionate pay between management and workers. If our individualistic culture could close the wage gap, employers could diffuse issues of equity theory and organizational justice and balance team usage with individual efficiencies to improve productivity; we’ve already learned that compensation, at a certain pay scale, is not the primary motivation for employees. The “flatter” organizations can successfully continue, best modeled by the multiteam systems: management really are the “boundary spanners” and do not need extraordinary wages to play their role (318, 323); they do stand as the structural spine negating the threat of dissipated responsibility and social loafing. And we have learned that the best way to motivate employees is to provide specific and challenging goals with consistent feedback (216). The argument that unleashing teams empowers them is really a call for supporting individual decision-making because it implies speed and efficiency breaking through bureaucracy that groups do not produce; they can also be dominated by one or two members (296). An analogy for each extreme might be a football coach scripting the first twenty plays of the game versus allowing a quarterback to call each play based on the flow of the game, and then discussing the decision-making on the sidelines. Overall, select your personalities and roles within the culture and set strong boundaries to free decision-making. Remember that as team sizes grow in sports, rarely does the highest paid player in the league compete in the championship; strong cooperative player, coach, and front-office relationships do.

arbankston

says:

I can’t agree with the point as much as I agree with the counterpoint based on my experience. I’ve had the best experience where decision-making authority came from management and not from when the responsibility is passed down and spread amongst team members. I suppose there’s a time and place for everything and I want to think that empowerment comes from decision making at the team level but then that also needs to be accompanied with accountability. When responsibility is split, it’s so easy to point fingers at someone else to put the blame on when things are not done “correctly” or they way someone else wanted things to get done. I’d rather have clear orders and expectations coming from management, or as a manager, I’d like to keep things simple by utilizing my role as a leader for things to get done effectively. Of course, I do think in these circumstances, empowerment can also come from input and suggestions from the team members because they see things from a different perspective from management. I suppose that would be a mix of both points because if assignments come from management, allowing for communication between management and employees as to how the job can be done to ensure employees have order but also flexibility to get the job done.

mabarreto2

mabarreto2

says:

I’ve clearly seen both sides of the spectrum in my years in the restaurant industry. It’s hard to choose one side as being right or wrong. I feel like it depends on the circumstances and situations. For example, I’ve had a situation when I was working at a restaurant called The Boiling Crab where we had no shift leader for the day. I texted the owner personally and mentioned this. She asked if we’d be okay without one and if we could take charge in lieu of one. I jumped at the opportunity and performed my best to make sure I could prove myself worthy of the next possible promotion to shift leader. The store ran flawlessly; I stepped up in my role as a leader and thoroughly executed command of the store with no issues. This was a positive example of empowering employees.
On the contrary, I worked for a different restaurant years later called The Big Catch. This restaurant had some questionable issues with management. The supervisor quit on a whim and I was asked to take over the position. It was exciting, but it also felt like I was his last and only choice to assume the position. I didn’t feel empowered, I felt like a last resort. Regardless, I did my job thoroughly and to the best of my ability. The store ran great. Shortly after, my general manager was terminated and our district manager asked me to fill his shoes as the genereal manager for the time being because ‘i was the only one who knew the store operations and could run it accordingly’. Again, I didn’t feel empowered, but the store ran fine. The difference between the situations being that without the feeling of empowerment, I felt like the company was trying to fill a gap that made me the best option. With the other company, I felt a sense of empowerment and trust; I wanted to prove myself.
I see both ends of the spectrum, and I truly feel it depends on circumstance. I feel empowering a group of individuals is definitely the better of the two. Empowerment is the greatest asset a manager can give an employee.

nkdong

says:

It seems like in your situation, that you had great pride in your ability to succeed in the positions you just sort of fell into. In that case, you were still able to succeed even though you didn’t feel empowered. I think that if someone else with less pride in their work were to just “fall in” to a position like that, operations may have been less successful.

Jennifer Griffen

Jennifer Griffen

says:

I lean more toward agreeing with the Counterpoint because if I am a manager, any project that I oversee will weigh heavily on my personal business reputation and my own relevance within a corporation. Relying on a team with no parameters other than “get it done”, is not a scenario I would completely trust. In a managerial role, it is important to maintain a level of control within a project and a more formal group approach allows this. Setting up a bare bones outline with clear time frames and expectations is a must. I found a great video by John C. Maxwell where he talks about the importance of clear communication about expectations to your team (Maxwell, 2019). He suggests being upfront with what you expect from your group. In doing so, he believes his organization is more productive. They do not waste time attempting to read his mind about what he wants from them. A good manager can see the strengths of their team and know who would be best for the tasks at hand. Once my clear expectations are communicated, I could then let go and allow my team to create away. I think it is important to allow people space so they can give their best work and shine, and to listen to new and fresh ideas. With an open-minded approach, a manager may be pleasantly surprised at what their people may accomplish. Micromanaging people can put a damper on creativity and make for resentments on the part of the team. Relationships within a team must be cultivated and appreciated; you are dealing with humans, not robots. In his video Leadership Starts with Relationships, Maxwell states that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. He believes that when you relate well to other people and love who you lead, you will have influence with them. When you have influence with people, then you will have an impact upon their lives (Maxwell, 2019). People can easily detect insincerity, perhaps not consciously, but in feeling a general negative vibe that something is off. An atmosphere of negativity can bring everyone down which is counterproductive to your purpose. In Organizational Behavior (Robbins & Judge, 2017), it states that “trust is the foundation of leadership; it allows a team to accept and commit to the leader’s goals and decisions” (p. 320). Without having a healthy working relationship with people, it is unlikely that you will gain their trust enough to lead them.

References

Maxwell, J. C. (2019, September 20). What Do You Expect? Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YHoEzUEhJ8.
Maxwell, J. C. (2019, October 15). Leadership Starts with Relationships. Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AJmuGxgrAk.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2017). Organizational Behavior. Boston: Pearson.

Shayne Jones

Shayne Jones

says:

This week’s reading for me brings to mind times when I have seen both points demonstrated. Empowering a team and letting them go seems like an easy thing to do. However, a vast majority of managers do not know how to let go. Self-managed teams do not have research that is overly positive because of the problems associated with a self-managed team (Pg 314). Empowering a team can have the same impacts that self-managed teams have.

One team I witnessed was given a task by the CEO of a non-profit and provided the necessary components to make the team successful in an example of a truly empowered team and set up for success, and the team failed miserably. No one knows why it failed; it just imploded. The finished product was nowhere close to the ideas of the CEO or Board.

The point about high-performance teams seems a little hopeful. Maybe it is my bias for that kind of organization, but I have never seen them succeed and have seen teams in both point and counterpoint fail.

bfarnes

bfarnes

says:

Hi Shayne
Your second paragraph describing the team that basically imploded really illustrates something that seems to be missing from the point/counterpoint arguments. Namely that in most cases when a team is created and given a task, senior management will have some idea as to what they want the end result to be, so even the most independent and empowered teams will need to have at least occasional touch-bases with management to make sure that they are working towards something that matches the requirements. Communication isn’t always clear, and a single initial directive is unlikely to be clear enough for a team to produce a final result that matches what management was envisioning. It would be really interesting to do an investigation into the team in your example to see where things started to go off the rails.

Saskia.Parkerson

Saskia.Parkerson

says:

Good morning Shayne,
After reading your post there are things that really stood out to me. You stated that, “Empowering a team and letting them go seems like an easy thing to do. However, a vast majority of managers do not know how to let go. Self-managed teams do not have research that is overly positive because of the problems associated with a self-managed team (Pg 314).” I really like that you pulled this from the reading because it is something that is very important in a business. Empowering your team can make or break your business from the start. The best thing a person can do for their business is to empower their employees to manage themselves.

bfarnes

bfarnes

says:

This was one of the harder questions for me to answer because I can see very valid arguments on both sides. I’m approaching this from the perspective of a more corporate environment rather than say, emergency services, where teams need to make rapid independent decisions. In a typical corporate environment I think in most cases its fine for teams to have general goals and objectives and then be given the ability to decide on the best approach with minimal interference from management. However, much of my experience has been in roles with regulatory compliance responsibilities, and I know how important it is that certain actions or decisions be vetted by people with the appropriate expertise to avoid creating risks or liabilities. For example a team in a warehouse environment might be given broad decision making authority on how to package and ship products, but someone who is familiar with DOT or IATA hazmat requirements needs to be involved at some point to ensure that regulatory requirements are being followed. Or a team creating an app that can could possible collect user information probably needs a legal review at some point to ensure that no laws are being violated. I’ve personally come across teams that came up with very clever solutions to problems, which also happened to create significant hazards and violate workplace safety regulations. So I guess if I had to pick a side I would come down very slightly on the empowerment side, as long as there is still some degree of review and oversite of the process by the appropriate people. So teams should have less direct interference from management, but still be subject to oversight from corporate compliance-related and audit groups.

ccgallegos

says:

As a manager I would employ the use of teamwork. The opposing argument states that a team may not be able to deliver the precise objective the manager has in mind, so I would suggest to this manager if the objective is so specific, to task an individual with completing the project to their exact requirements. If the means to get to a goal are outlines that are very specific, then what is the point of the group? Save those tasks for motivated individuals who excel with such work. For the rest of the tasks that need to be completed though, the manager should loosen the reigns and have faith in the team to complete the objective with their own design. Depending on the nature of the work it will help to determine which type of team is needed, and in my field, which is Emergency Management, it is often a combination of teams. For example, say an oil rig had a major spill on the highway near a body of water. Multiteam systems are necessary as multiple fields are involved such as law enforcement, HAZMAT, DOT, EPA, etc. and within the dynamics of a multiteam system cross-functional teams will also be created. The officer in charge of diverting traffic will not know the level of contamination to the water, and the guy from the EPA testing the water will not know what the DOT needs to report. However often these decisions need to be completed quickly and it is best to cut out redundancy. Therefore, a collaboration is not only appropriate but necessary. It is understood that not all fields may require this level of complexity and cross coordination, but what it does bring about are the strengths in each individual, that one person alone could not have the same perspective and therefore a less creative turnout.

Saskia.Parkerson

Saskia.Parkerson

says:

Good afternoon,
I really like that you chose to do it from your personal perspective. There was a lot involved in this specific discussion. You brought up many different areas where there are different kinds of teams. The one that spoke most to me was Emergency Management, just because I am an Emergency Manager full time. There are many different kind of teams when it comes to this career field, and self management is huge. The importance of those teams to self manage is what will make or break those teams. The ones going down range or the ones that are staying home station and running things back in the Emergency Operation Center.

Phillip

Phillip

says:

While reading the point and the counterpoint, it became apparent that they were energetically discussing different examples of management within the organizational sense as a whole. In most cases, I agree with the argument that was presented in the point section. As the text describes, the use of the team opens up the possibility of more creative and productive employees, and empowering them to act on there own gives a sense of freedom that helps stimulate this objective. It is essential to point out, though, that as the text states on page 321, it necessary to still provide the structure and leadership required to maintain direction.

jbjohnkins

jbjohnkins

says:

I think you are right. the use of the teams opens up the possibility of more creative and productive employees. I think empowering them opens up that possibility of seeing what employers are capable of.

mawetherington

mawetherington

says:

For the response to teams and getting the most out of empowering them, it is important to understand that teams may not always be suitable for every task. However, as I read chapters 9 and 10, first argument made the most sense to me. I have experienced from being a teller that teamwork, rooted in one’s specific role in the team was vital to the success of the working day. From two places I have worked, cross-functional teams have made the difference. For example, I worked for a local financial institution, and the operations and electronic banking department we commissioned to work on providing quality services and updating the website. E-banking had the technical experience, while those in operation had the experience with customers. Although it was successful, the cross-functional method as described in Organizational Behavior, the longest and most difficult process to establish was trust in various team members and their abilities (316). As a manager, I would want a more hands-off approach and I would like the team to focus on the task instead of making me happy. An effective manager empowers their workers by providing resources and encouragement that the team believes is necessary to establish a cohesive group (320). When a team faces daily projects, I believe it is important to emphasize strengths in the team. When experienced and conscientious workers are put in central roles it strengthens each person’s sense of belonging and it pinpoints what each team member brings to achieve the task at hand (324). Lastly, cohesion symbolizes the glue of the team after trust and efficacy have been established. According to the textbook, when members are emotionally attached to one another and motivated towards the team because of that attachment it highly predicts the team’s outcomes and successes (328). Ultimately, when the team is given the freedom to expand in the areas listed above, they can achieve not only external success within the company but develop a respect for fellow colleagues striving for the same goal.

nahong

says:

After reading the point/counterpoint on page 333, I would have to side with the point side. I believe that by empowering their employees by allowing them to develop their own strategies to accomplish their work would benefit not only themselves but the company. In our textbook it states that that effective teams have confidence in themselves; they believe they can succeed ( pg 327). Teams that have been successful raise their beliefs about their future success, which, in turn, motivates them to work harder (pg 327). If managers put that much trust in the other employees it is showing them they respect their decisions and also show them they respect what they do for the company. I believe respect and trust is a very good way to empower an individual and allow them to show what they are capable of.

mbeza

mbeza

says:

Both points have a great view, and as much as I would want to agree with the “point”, I must agree with the “counterpoint”. To have the ability to empower your employees, your team, and your coworkers can have great benefits. But, it can also become a train wreck. Team empowerment if not done properly, monitored and boundaries given can leave you in a worse state. How much of that self-management authority is to be given to the team members? What happens when the team members are pushed beyond their abilities in regards to having such authority? A leader must t be aware of each of the team member’s capabilities to be able to empower the team with the ability to manage themselves. In this case do you just give members that show the ability to self-manage the authority to do so? If that is so then you have just created lower level managers.
You also have those that take the authority to the extreme and believe that they can do whatever they want. A power struggle within the team is never good. It causes a rise in stress and with that comes low performance. What will happen when that author to self-mange gets taken away?
I can see how a team has been given the freedom to do as the please can be beneficial. But if not done properly can be devastating. A leader attempting to empower a team does not always equal better performance. According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, a study was performed that showed no difference from an empowered team to a non-empowered team in regards to performance. It did show an increase of stress levels within the empowered teams when compared to the non-empowered. There are so man variable when it comes to empowering teams and employees. One must be careful. It is not a one size fits all.

Schwantes, Marcel. “3 Ways Employee Empowerment Can Turn Into a Train Wreck.” Inc.com, Inc., 3 Aug. 2016, https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/how-giving-too-much-employee-empowerment-leads-to-disaster.html.
Tian, Allan LeeSara WillisAmy Wei. “When Empowering Employees Works, and When It Doesn’t.” Harvard Business Review, 5 Mar. 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/03/when-empowering-employees-works-and-when-it-doesnt.

cjdarling

says:

The text on page 333 shows two sides to a story, only one is correct. I am more inclined to back the original point as opposed to the counter point. Upper level management in corporations such as Apple, Boeing, and HAP Cruise Line will have little or no communication with line staff and likely will not have any interaction with low level management either. In these large corporations it is the upper level management that is setting goals and visions for the company. After theses goals and visions are recorded, the middle level management analyzes and passes it down to lower level management whose job is then to communicate them with line workers who will then carry out the task to meet the goals wanted by the upper level management. Due to the low occurrence of direct communication with low level management these folks need to be able to exercise a certain level of discretion and individualism into the decisions they make. As state in our text, when a group is given freedom, given some responsibility, and made to feel important they will be motivated and will have a purpose. The counterpoint could work under certain circumstances with a few very specific people, while I believe that the original point applies to the large majority of people in the workplace.

says:

Upper level management is not always available to answer basic questions and provide purpose, direction, and motivation for every individual. This is no fault of higher management, but it is a by-product of any large and effective organization. The solution to this dilemma is to create a decentralized management structure where lower level managers are empowered to make decisions based on the intent of leadership. For this reason I believe that the point of the exercise if superior to the counterpoint. Just like any proper checks and balances, higher management is responsible for the actions of those under their span of control, and therefore should be investing in junior leadership and the decisions they’re making. “A less intelligent leader can, conversely, neutralize the effect of a high-ability team” (Robbins, 322). So while junior leaders should be empowered to lead and develop their own teams to accomplish the mission of the organization, they should not be so far removed that superiors are not unable to refine the effectiveness of their teams.

Reference:
Robbins, Stephen P., and Tim Judge. Organizational Behavior. Pearson, 2017.

bkanuk

says:

In my opinion, I would agree with Point 1, because it is a better decision where the employees are allowed to make their own decisions and are empowered to be accountable and be responsible for their own decisions. Employees seem to be more efficient when they are able to make their own decisions. For example, when hiring team players, be sure the individual can fulfill their team roles as well as technical requirements. (page 331). Furthermore, another way to empower team players is to use the promotion method, so that the individual can be recognized which can encourage them to work effectively as a team player. (page 331). Furthermore, managers should select individuals who has interpersonal abilities to be an effective team player.

Works Cited:

Robbins, S. (2017). Organizational Behavior. 17th Edition. San Diego, CA:
Pearson Education.

Phillip

Phillip

says:

I would argue that the manager should be part of the team, providing the foundation and structure for how the team works but empower them to devise there own solutions and bring them back to the group. I think this is more a question of leadership than of team dynamics.

rsrudoy

rsrudoy

says:

For this week’s reading, I would have to agree on empowering teams. I especially agreed with this statement, “You can empower teams in two ways. One way is psychologically, by enhancing team members’ beliefs that they have more authority, even though legitimate authority still rests with the organization’s leaders.”
Speaking from my experience of being micromanaged for many years, I think a lot of managers or authority take too much pride in their positions. They view employees that don’t have authority as “workers” that perform their job and go home. However, I don’t think this is the right way to lead a team. If a manager would include employees with some decision making or at least make them feel like they matter when it comes to business opinions, I feel that would go a long way. It would definitely enhance work performance and there would be less hatred of authority. I just remember being treated like a regular employee – my opinion didnt matter only the managers did. From this I most certainly learned what a difference it could make to feel like I mattered in my work enviornment.

bkanuk

says:

I agree in your opinion that empowering teams can be more efficient and can be more accountable in their decisions. Another way to empower teams is to let the employees be allowed to decide for themselves, be accountable and be responsible for their own decisions. According to Robbins, (2017), Organizational Behavior, stated that another way to empower teams is structurally let them decide for their own strategies. (page 333).

Works Cited:

Robbins, S. (2017). Organizational Behavior. 17th Edition. San Diego, CA:
Pearson Education.

Nathaniel Savel

Nathaniel Savel

says:

The article in the textbook is one that resonated with me for a few different reasons. Growing up I was a part of teams constantly through sports and now working in the fire service, it still has that team aspect. I can understand and see the benefits to both the point and counterpoint. In my personal experience, I would tend to agree with the point. There are some jobs and organizations that may benefit more from the counterpoint but in my personal experience. I have had personal experience with managers that are constantly over your shoulder monitoring what you are doing and it inhibits your performance. In the fire service if the fire chief is coming to every single call telling you exactly what you need to do there will be things that are missed and things that don’t get done. As a team, we can take a holistic approach and work together as a unit to achieve our tasks. While this freedom is given there is still a legitimate and very clear organizational structure and hierarchy where certain members have authority over others. That being said, freedom is paramount. Typically on a fire engine, you are in a team of three or four with one officer and you work together performing various tasks. Some of these tasks include forcible entry to locked doors, putting ladders up where they need to go, deploying hose lines and several different tasks. If the officer and the department don’t empower that team or that engine company they will be having to stand around waiting to be told what to do which can waste valuable seconds in an emergency. In the fire service, it is vitally important to have thinking firefighters that are constantly analyzing the situation and figuring out what needs to get done. Because in the fire service when firefighters, “get the freedom to make their own choices, they accept more responsibility for and take ownership” (Organizational Behavior, 333). I also really believe this is true in most agencies and organizations. If employees are given freedom they are more likely to act proactively and be more efficient.

bfarnes

bfarnes

says:

Hi Nathaniel
You mention the fire services in your post, which actually makes me wonder if the urgency of decision making in emergency services versus the more corporate world would change the ideal level of team empowerment. Your description of a typical response for a fire crew makes it pretty clear that these teams need leeway to make their own decisions within fairly short time frames. On the flipside of this, in the corporate environments I’ve worked in the vast majority of teams aren’t operating with that kind of urgency, and even an “urgent” task is typically going to be accomplished over the course of days rather than minutes like in fire response. I wonder if that longer time frame essentially gives management more time to get involved and would naturally lead to more oversight and interference. I know that in my experience it’s the longer-term projects that end up with the most management meddling, and on things that need to be done quickly my team will adopt an attitude of “it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission” and just get the project done.

Jennifer Griffen

Jennifer Griffen

says:

I lean more toward agreeing with the Counterpoint because if I am a manager, any project that I oversee will weigh heavily on my personal business reputation and my own relevance within a corporation. Relying on a team with no parameters other than “get it done”, is not a scenario I would completely trust. In a managerial role, it is important to maintain a level of control within a project and a more formal group approach allows this. Setting up a bare bones outline with clear time frames and expectations is a must. I found a great video by John C. Maxwell where he talks about the importance of clear communication about expectations to your team (Maxwell, 2019). He suggests being upfront with what you expect from your group. In doing so, he believes his organization is more productive. They do not waste time attempting to read his mind about what he wants from them. A good manager can see the strengths of their team and know who would be best for the tasks at hand. Once my clear expectations are communicated, I could then let go and allow my team to create away. I think it is important to allow people space so they can give their best work and shine, and to listen to new and fresh ideas. With an open-minded approach, a manager may be pleasantly surprised at what their people may accomplish. Micromanaging people can put a damper on creativity and make for resentments on the part of the team. Relationships within a team must be cultivated and appreciated; you are dealing with humans, not robots. In his video Leadership Starts with Relationships, Maxwell states that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. He believes that when you relate well to other people and love who you lead, you will have influence with them. When you have influence with people, then you will have an impact upon their lives (Maxwell, 2019). People can easily detect insincerity, perhaps not consciously, but in feeling a general negative vibe that something is off. An atmosphere of negativity can bring everyone down which is counterproductive to your purpose. In Organizational Behavior (Robbins & Judge, 2017), it states that “trust is the foundation of leadership; it allows a team to accept and commit to the leader’s goals and decisions” (p. 320). Without having a healthy working relationship with people, it is unlikely that you will gain their trust enough to lead them.
References
Maxwell, J. C. (2019, September 20). What Do You Expect? Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YHoEzUEhJ8.
Maxwell, J. C. (2019, October 15). Leadership Starts with Relationships. Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AJmuGxgrAk.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2017). Organizational Behavior. Boston: Pearson.

asreber

asreber

says:

The Point/Counterpoint article “To Get The Most Out of Teams, Empower Them” is an interesting question (Organizational Behavior, 333). After exploring this week’s reading, I felt the ideas really rang true about my experience with teams. I am proud to be an Eagle Scout and on my path to achieve that accomplishment I encountered every possible dysfunctional work team arrangement you could imagine. With team members ranging in age from 11-18 and maturity/emotional levels all over the place, the most productive teams grew out of an empowered team. Although the team sizes were smaller (6-10) than the self-managed work team size of 10-15, they were completely autonomous in their responsibilities and effectively reached their goals (Organizational Behavior, 315). By “removing the leash” and transferring all decision making from supervisors/leaders (adults/parents) to the team members, the team was very motivated to complete tasks successfully (Organizational Behavior, 333). They may not have started out as a perfect team, but by being empowered they learned to cooperate, share, confront, and sublimate “for the greater good of the team” (Organizational Behavior, 332). Some of them even won national awards for how effective they became. As I utilize these work team skills at university and at work, I realize how effective an empowered team really is.

Sarah Griffen-Lotz

Sarah Griffen-Lotz

says:

I agree with the first point. The old saying that too many cooks spoil the pot holds true when it comes to the amount of managers per employee. Empowered employees who are able to make their own decisions can move a lot more efficiently (The Advantages of Employee Empowerment). The best way to ensure teams will behave well when empowered is to hire self-motivated employees who are willing to be team players (Organizational Behavior, 330). I could empower existing employees in a team by hiring specialists to host team building workshops. Workshops can be useful to help employees “improve their problem solving, communication, negotiation, [and] conflict-management” abilities (Organizational Behavior, 330). Maintaining strong teams requires work, and it’s not a phenomenon that happens without effort from management.

References

Adkins, W. (2017, July 5). The Advantages of Employee Empowerment. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://careertrend.com/advantages-employee-empowerment-4894.html.

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2017). Organizational Behavior. Boston: Pearson.

tcshelton

tcshelton

says:

I would side with point because I think it is very important from my own stance that my management and leadership trust me with the ability to make my own and sound decisions. I know being a manager can be tough because you never know the type of employees you will have and you never know how that could make or break someones skills and abilities. I do not believe that just because a manager gives you trust to make your own decisions that they just get to sit back and do nothing. If anything even without the pay raise it will develop you into leadership material and to me that experience is priceless especially over someone who did not have the opportunity to get the experience. Just because your management trusts you to make decisions does not mean that they are giving you their entire role, but simply easing you into it and giving you the ability to experience it and see if you would like it.

Nathaniel Savel

Nathaniel Savel

says:

Tcshelton,

I agree with you and share the viewpoint that management and leadership trusting you to make a sound decision is important. As a manager, it really can be tough because your reputation is often impacted by what the employees are doing but there are ways to combat this. Keeping an eye on things from the distance and empowering your employees to make their own decisions and only intervening if needed is a great way to do this. It’s important for a manager to be able to delegate authority and different tasks so they can focus on specific managerial functions.

gdgrigals

says:

I think letting each team member make a decision is a good way to show them respect and that the manager trusts them. It’s a great way to lead the company to success and empower the employees. Of course, it’s a risk by management and they have to keep their employees accountable. The other thing is, employees must understand that if they make a bad decision they have to be able to correct their mistakes. I agree with research that empowered teams are more motivated, I think it’s because they have more responsibility and they feel committed to the company and that makes employees learn and develop their skills more.

rsrudoy

rsrudoy

says:

Hello, great post! For my post I also chose to go with the point perspective. I liked how you discussed the trust of managers by letting employees make decisions. I believe once you build trust within your workplace its all smooth sailing from there. In your post, you brought up another excellent point. By letting employees make decisions – the employees must recognize that they take full responsibility for their actions. While having the ability to make decisions in the workplace seems great we can’t forget that sometimes things don’t go as planned.

Thomas

Thomas

says:

While reading this chapter I believe having each team member make their own decision is better than forcing them to choose that one decision a team member likes most. Allowing your team members to choose their own decision shows that you respect their choices and opinion in the matter. Some team members has a team identity where they have a sense of belonging to his or her team (Organizational Behavior 328). When thinking about a decision for a team some members would have some disagreement on the decision at hand and they could state why they don’t like the idea or like the idea. There are times where some members won’t be able to make a decision and some of the team members could explain what the decision at hand is or the undecided team member could go to the manager or employer for some help. If you take the team members ability of making decisions themselves, then it would lead to team members being dissatisfied with the decision already made and may lead to lower employee performance.

mawetherington

mawetherington

says:

I focused on some of the terms that I thought would empower other within the team but one thing I didn’t pay close attention was the actual individuality within the group. I appreciate and respect the emphasis on individuality and its importance within the group to establish and maintain respect. Also that disagreements may arise, but it is not that they arise that is the issue but how they are tackled by the group that makes the difference! Thanks for a great post!

mjteegardin

mjteegardin

says:

I believe that allowing team members to make their own decisions is a great way to empower and can help them believe they can succeed. And when you have employees that believe they can succeed it only helps encourage them to work harder and learn more (Organizational Behavior, 327). However if they are unsure of a decision they should be able to come to managers for advice. The reason I believe this is because allowing team members to make their own decisions has been a great success at my current job from what I have observed. It even allows you to improve on your problem solving skills when you are making decisions on your own.

Thomas

Thomas

says:

This is a great post and I would have to agree with you on allowing team members being able to make their own decisions. If they are not able to, then what would they learn from the decision that would have already been made.

Nathaniel Savel

Nathaniel Savel

says:

Mjteegardin,

I also believe allowing team members to make their own decisions is important and empowering them helps them succeed. If an employee is able to make their own decisions they will start to learn more and will take certain tasks off of your plate as a manager so you can focus on other functions. I also like how you mentioned that employees should be able to come to managers for advice. The manager should make themselves approachable for employees so the team can be successful.

rsrudoy

rsrudoy

says:

Hello, great post!
I also chose the point argument. I agree that allowing teams members to make decisions helps them succeed. I also think empowering teams creates motivation to do better & creates high work satisfaction. However, managers should be there every step of the way in case things don’t turn out as expected.

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