Teams are increasingly being considered as a unit of work world over. Organisations seek harmony, coordination and oneness in teams for growth and prosperity. More emphasis is laid on group and team dynamics, still however career development issues concerning the teams are neglected somewhere, which is truer for organisations in the developing world and multi national corporations.
Individuals are being replaced at a rapid pace and there are both positive and negative facets of the same. There has been sufficient amount of discussion surrounding individual issues like the selection procedures, designing the training programs, the appraisal systems and rewards and recognition. All these fall within the ambit of individual career development issues. However, as mentioned earlier, not much attention has been paid to career development issues pertaining to teams! This write up is dedicated to the same.
Teams play a very important role in the individual and career development of the team members. If team dynamics are understood and exploited properly, individual and collective development will happen exponentially. For example one simple way of development of team members would be through benchmarking with team members who exhibit better competencies and skills. Teams can use these member skills and competencies to develop the same in other members who lag behind in certain areas where others excel.
Taking the above mentioned example further and assuming a team of people from across various departments. Different people from different departments make up for an interesting mix in terms of skills, competencies and attitude. People from quality, for example, can teach or introduce various quality concepts to those who are naive to the latter e.g. the marketing department. People from operations would be reasonably good in quality concepts and HR may or not be up to the mark depending upon the kind of organisation. Marketing people can similarly share their competencies in marketing communication which may be a weak link in the productions department.
This exchange of skills and competencies can lead to better staffing flexibility. In yet another way, team members may help in identification of training needs for members. Even if team members do not make a conscious effort on acquiring of new skills, a simple rotation of tasks or assignments among the team members will facilitate the skills exchange.
The need analysis program can lead to a developmental plan for each member of the team. In highly empowered teams the execution of the developmental plan also lies on the team members. In Cadillac, for example, each plant and work unit has a training needs analysis program in place that reminds the members of the KSAs required to achieve targets or goals.
Teams can thus be geared towards acting as a very powerful tool for individual career development, where team members can enhance their own work skills and those of their peers. One strong reason why teams fail is an inappropriate staff / member selection for the team, which creates barriers for skills transfer. Once this is overcome development issues within a team is taken care of.
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