Dr. Meredith Belbin states that a group of highly intelligent people often perform worse than a group of less able people. He was one of the early discoverers of Team Building and took special measures to select candidates for his experiments. He observed their abilities and took aptitude tests to examine their skills. Although the Apollo teams were predicted to exceed every other group in the competition, they nearly always ended up at the bottom. This failure to excel above all others, including teams relatively much less qualified, was due to certain reasons mentioned below.
The members spent a lot of time in destructive debates and arguments trying to convince other members to accept their ideas, and pointing out errors in other people’s theories. This led nearly all the arguments to dead ends. They found it tough to reach a unanimous decision and even if they did so, the decision would not stick together. They were found to follow their own procedures without giving any heed to what the other members were doing. Due to this lack of coordination, the group was found to be tough to manage. They refrained from confrontations of each other, which made it extremely difficult to make a unanimously accepted decision. Sometimes, they realized what was going on but instead of taking the right steps, they over-compensated by putting in the irrelevant effort. (Belbin, 1981)
In today’s world of business, concepts such as internal evaluations, promotions, forced rankings, rewards, aggressive client policies, and active union relations are a common practice, and thus force employees into the competition, and individual achievements. So when people are asked to work together and at the same time, are placed in a competition-oriented environment, the result is disastrous. Later, if they are designated to work with a new team and asked to function as a team, they will not be able to bring themselves to act in that line.
Teamwork was described as equally important for the staff conducting routine business at hotels in Canada. Housekeeping is one of the most physically demanding jobs for the staff which includes many different tasks including repetitive tasks like bed making, cleaning and tidying, vacuuming, etc. The teamwork for housekeepers can greatly reduce the workload of each housekeeper while proving distributed muscular work. The complete team can be involved not only in planning but in executing the job through job rotation thus one team can accomplish much more by allowing the workers to alternate between tasks.
Good teamwork should be promoted by giving rewards to the team members. The team of Cincinnati Marriott Northeast Hotel received a Special Achievement Award for running a greatly managed hotel. According to the press release, this was the only Marriott team in North America to achieve the award. Awards such as these not only motivate the team to work better, they also create a sense of belonging to the team members which is important to be efficient and effective in today’s challenging environment.
Certain characteristics have to be present in a team in order for it to be effective. If a company assigns a team to a task, the supervisor should clearly express its expected target to the team.