Defining Your Team

Defining Your Team

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3746-5.ch001
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Effective leaders define the roles of each team member (Figure 1) – Leader, Manager, and Team Member – because there is an understanding that everyone might fill any of the roles at one time or another. This movement into other roles can happen for a variety of reasons, and it might be actually assigned as in the case of a promotion, or it could happen as part of problem solving or training situation. Great leaders find the common benefit to the organization and the person where possible. The Leader should also keep in mind that the Manager may have the toughest job because of the need to adjust to all roles. Managers must be the glue that holds everyone together.
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  • Emerging Research: People need to create meaning to adjust to organizational change (Petrou, Demerouti et al. 2016). Regulatory theory is one way to do this. Varying employee motivational styles are viewed through this theory and there is distinction between promotion- and prevention-focused people (Higgins 1997, Brockner and Higgins 2001). Promotion-focused people determine gain or non-gain goals based on a desire for growth and relevance. The prevention-focused person’s approach to the desire for growth and relevance is loss or non-loss. By understanding the way people “focus” on organizational change, we gain insight into effective ways to define our team. We create a social context that makes team definition easier for everyone to understand. SOURCE: Crafting the Change: The Role of Employee Job Crafting Behaviors for Successful Organizational Change (Petrou, Demerouti et al. 2016).

This chapter focuses on the people on your team, their roles, and, in some ways, their responsibilities. A good organization starts with defined roles that everyone understands. The leader must ensure that the roles of Leader, Manager, and Team Member are clearly defined and are matched with the appropriate responsibilities. Everyone may fill any of the roles at one time or another, which can happen for a variety of reasons. People can move in and out of their originally assigned roles based training or problem-solving situations. For instance, before making a substantial change in the organization, the leader should step into the team member’s shoes and ask, “Why should I follow this advice or accept this solution?” The answer shouldn’t be, “Because the boss said so.” The leader should find the common benefit to the organization and the person.

The leader is the person at the head of the organization who has the final vote, the final say, the final decision. The manager is the liaison between the leader and the team. The team members are the people who perform the lion’s share of the actual work, implementing plans and affecting change based on the stated course of action.

The leader should also keep in mind that the manager may have the toughest job because of the need to adjust to all roles. In fact, managers must be the glue that holds everyone together, much more so than the leader. There are important questions for the manager to consider. “How should my boss treat me? How should I treat my workers? Do I owe more loyalty to the leader or to the team members?” Everyone knows how smoothly things can run with good bosses. We also know how frustrating work can be with bosses who are not as good at leading the organization or dealing with people (what I call a “challenged boss”). Mixing the best of both is difficult, but not impossible.

I have learned more from my challenged bosses than I have learned from those who were more adept at dealing with people and the job. Effective leaders seem to always do things the right way, or do them the way you want to see them done, or do the things that you like. In fact, they often train you and influence your actions and behaviors with their professionalism, expertise, and command of organizational concepts.

Challenged bosses, on the other hand, quickly show you what not to do. When I was very young, I had a boss who would avoid confrontations at all costs, especially when it involved a subordinate who had a problem. I would approach this boss with an issue or a request for guidance, and the boss would say, “Let’s talk this afternoon at 2,” or “Let’s save this for tomorrow morning.” Invariably, the boss was too busy in the afternoon or didn’t have time the next morning. Then, at day’s end, the boss would say it was a shame we didn’t get to talk, but we’d have to do it later. Later never came. That’s why I now bend over backward when someone I work with needs a few minutes of my time to talk.

Managers must feel the pulse of leadership and of the organization. It is their job to ensure that leadership is about doing the right things to take care of people. Look people in the eye, give honest answers, be sincere, say congratulations, say I’m sorry, say please or thank you. Do whatever is appropriate for the situation. Effective managers practice these behaviors and other managers struggle with them. Managers work with leaders to achieve effective interactions in these areas.

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