RSC Level 2 Module 7: Building an Effective Team
Step 1) Overview: Promotion to manager is a pivotal juncture in any business career. Today’s managers find it virtually impossible to make and execute high-quality decisions without using multifunctional teams that bring together individuals with different perspectives and different expertise. This module begins with a description of the characteristics of a healthy team, characteristics that you have to build as well as a description of the common dysfunctions of a team – conditions you must avoid. Next this module explores the ways in which managers build their teams to deliver high levels of performance. As you may expect, you have to understand and master the interpersonal and group processes that deliver high performance. Every manager with aspirations to develop into a leader goes through the progression of mastering the art of being a team player, to leading her/his first team, to learning how to create and develop high-performance teams.
Step 2) Action Learning: Please watch Video A and Video B below.
Video A is a 9-minute segment from Patrick Lencioni, best-selling author of ‘The 5 dysfunctions of a team. A healthy team has cohesive leadership and clarity of purpose at the top. This clarity is consistently and repeatedly communicated to team members who are organized with just enough structure to enable and support the functioning of the team without becoming bureaucratic. Smart leaders work hard to steer their teams away from the five dysfunctions that can destroy the effectiveness of the team (1) absence of trust (2) fear of conflict (3) inability to commit to a decision (4) inability to hold each other accountable and (5) inattention to results.
Video B is a 15-minute segment in which Wharton Business School’s Professor Mario Moussa explains how you can build your team into a high-performance team. Management research has identified goals, roles and norms as essential ingredients of any team. Professor Moussa studied 100 teams in 100 simulations to extract the way teams managed their goals, roles and norms to help them raise their performance to extraordinarily high levels. First, high-performance teams have repeated open and honest conversations – these are 1-on-1 as well as group conversations. Next they frequently check-in with each other: are we still committed to our goals, how do we share work, is there a gap between what we say and what we do? Finally, they work to close the “saying-doing gap”.
Step 3) Points to Ponder:
1) Describe your experience working in a team at work. If the team was effective explain why it was successful. If the team under-performed explain what went wrong. Any lessons learned?
2) Does Enerfab use multi-functional teams? Are they formal teams that have specific, pre-determined objectives or are they informal teams that form as the work arises? Can you identify an Enerfab manager who is a role model for building and leading effective teams? Do you believe that team skills can be learned on the job? If so, how would you go about learning from a role model? If not, what kind of training would you like?
3) Have you played a team sport? Which one? How is being in a workplace team similar and/or different from being in a sports team?
Step 4) Interactive Discussion:After viewing Videos A & B and exploring the Points to Ponder check your calendar for the Interactive Discussion scheduled for this Module. Go to the session prepared to discuss the lessons learned with others in your Rising Star cohort. If you have any questions or need more information please send a message to
Step 5) Next Level (Optional): Read the reference “Building Effective Teams in Real Time” Harvard Management Update Reprint No. U0511A published by Harvard Business School Press, to order reprints call 617-783-7626.
A manager or leader is only as successful as the team she/he leads. Most of us experience our first teamwork in the arena of sports. However, business teams have distinctive features that set them apart from most sports teams. A skilled leader knows the stages in the formation and development of a team and is able to match his/her leadership style to the needs of the team. More importantly, a skilled leader knows how to start with a disparate group of individuals and weld them together into an effective, high-performing team.