Team management…management by committee…collaborative management. Whatever you want to call it, the art of leadership through a team approach is a practice that is put into use by almost every company large and small to some extent. The idea being that team management can do two distinct things better than any one person:
- Team management can come up with better ideas more quickly and more fluidly.
- Team management can more comprehensively understand the diverse workforce within an organization.
The topic of team management caught my eye as I read two recent articles from respected sources on innovation—the influential blog, Blogging Innovation, and the magazine Fast Company. Both outlets trumpeted the idea of team management as a way to ensure collaboration, spark innovation and facilitate a more productive, communicative environment. However, it’s not all roses with team building, particularly as the team building and leadership article in Blogging Innovation pointed out—most companies are spinning their wheels pontificating on the merits of team building (and not acting on it). The Fast Company article on team building and innovation takes a more positive view, but still cautions against a “hierarchy that still exists in most businesses and won’t generate their best work.”
So it got me to thinking…what are the pros and cons of team management?
- A proven system of diverse thinking and behavioral elements that contribute to a broad-based perspective – A WEteam approach in Emergenetics
- Greater possibility for shared and aligned goals and objectives
- Higher degree of collaboration and communication
- Stronger team dynamics as a whole throughout the organization
- Ability to relate to diverse audiences as managers – This is one of the key points of the Fast Company article, in having a team that can relate across generations (Gen X, Gen Y, Boomers, Millennials)
- Boundless innovation stemming from a holistic viewpoint on creativity and results – This is the crux of Blogging Innovation article
- Analysis paralysis – With so many perspectives, there can be a delay in coming to the best idea quickly
- Need for ultimate consensus – The Blogging Innovation article cautions against this, stating: “As odd as it may sound, one of the greatest impediments to building productive teams is practicing management by consensus.”
- Watered down solutions – With a team management approach, each person is coming from their own point-of-view, and the overall solution could get unnecessarily filtered to be everything to everyone
- Teams that are too agreeable – Teams can often follow the personality and approach of the top dogs…in this case you just get a bunch of Yes-Men and Yes-Women
- Lack of productivity – Sometimes 5 heads aren’t better than 1…particularly when it slows down ideas and devolves into self-congratulatory back-patting amongst the leadership team
Even with all the cons…it is clear that team management is an enhancer, rather than a detractor. Companies from mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 100 corporations all use teams…so the question isn’t necessarily, should we or shouldn’t we, but rather, how do we ensure teams are as productive as possible on a management level.
To us, it starts with aligning team and management goals, understanding the team’s roles, responsibilities and personalities, creating clear communication channels to the rest of the organization, and ensuring frequent checkpoints. Team management isn’t easy and it’s an ongoing process, but the rewards are there if you can do it right.Print This Post