Leadership Skills - FAQ

Can research on Team Dynamics be applied to the workplace?
A great deal of research has been published on team building and team dynamics. Even though most of this research is purely academic and has been performed in a research environment rather than in the workplace, some of it does contain value for a working manager.

What is Bruce Tuckman's 'Stages for a Group' Theory?
This model of group development was first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965, who maintained that these phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results.

What is Richard Hackman's 'Five Factor Model'?
In 2002, whilst working at Harvard, Richard Hackman developed a research-based model for designing and managing work groups. His research looked at why some groups were successful and what it was that made them so.

What is team building?
There are certain core principles of team building that will help you get the best out of any team that you find yourself managing.

What is Action Centered Leadership?
There are a number of different leadership models available to help guide managers as they try to get the most from their teams. Action Centered Leadership, is notable because it can help to deal with the problem of how to reconcile the various goals and desires of individuals while still accomplishing the specific goals set out for the team and the project as a whole.

What is the Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid?
This is a system that can be used to group like leaders into categories based on the methods that they use. While no organizational system will ever be perfectly complete, this grid is a great way to understand more about certain leadership styles and how they work.

What is the Dunham and Pierce's Leadership Process Model?
This model addresses all of the key elements that play a role in leadership, and helps the manager to understand how each part affects the other parts of the equation. It states that there are four factors that play a role in the leadership process: the Leader, the Followers, the Context, and the Outcomes and suggests that everything done within the context of a leadership situation is important and if you are able to learn from your team and how their actions dictate the Context and the Outcomes, everyone will have a better chance at success.

What is Fiedler's Contingency Model?
This model is based on the idea that rather than having a single leadership style for all circumstances, the best approach is to be able to vary the leadership that is provided based on the group and task at hand. Starting with the idea of a leader who is unable to change his or her ways, we see that Fiedler uses a scale to determine what kind of leader an individual will be. Fiedler's Contingency Model can give you some insight into the leadership styles available to you provided that you are aware of its limitations.

What are French and Raven's Five Forms of Power?
This model attempts to determine what it is that makes someone powerful in a given setting. It can help you to understand what kind of power you already have, and what kind of power you should be working toward achieving if you want to further your career.

What is the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory?
Specifically, this theory has to do with the maturity of those who are being led. To those who have worked as leaders in the past, it is no surprise that maturity should be considered when working on finding the right leadership style. For example, someone who is inexperienced in their field will likely lack the skills or confidence to take on tasks that would be comfortable for a more experienced employee. Only when a leader is able to mold their approach to the maturity and talent of those that make up the team will the overall performance be up to par.

What is the Tannenbaum-Schmidt Leadership Continuum?
Using the Tannenbaum-Schmidt Leadership Continuum is an excellent way to understand the various approaches that leaders can take to managing their teams. Since it is more nuanced than many other leadership theories, a wider variety of leaders will find this tool to be a useful one. As you prepare to lead a new team, or work on improving the performance of your current team, consider the various styles represented within this model.

What is Lewin's Leadership Styles Framework?
This Framework divides leadership styles up into three easy to remember groups. Authoritarian Leadership involves the leader passing down assignments and objectives to the team, with specific instructions on how to get the job done. The three styles of leadership put forward by Lewin's Leadership Styles Framework each can be successful when put to use in the right time and place.

What is the Path-Goal Theory?
This theory presents three different responsibilities that leaders take on throughout a project, including clearing the path, removing obstacles and offering rewards. It highlights four different styles of leadership that could be used to achieve team objectives.

What are Zenger and Folkman's 10 Fatal Leadership Flaws?
This takes a close look at the most common leadership flaws and is designed to help leaders acknowledge and address their shortcomings. If you are in a leadership position, take the time to look inwardly and think about these ten points. If you spot any of them in your own performance, then take the necessary steps to correct your leadership style and you will be better for the effort.

What are Mintzberg's Management Roles?
The role of 'manager' sound simple enough, but anyone who has ever served as a manager knows that it is far more complex than it might sound at first. Being a leader in any organization is a complicated and challenging task that can take on a variety of forms depending on the needs of the organization and the people that are being led.

What are Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team?
Whenever a team is constructed to work toward a goal, there are going to be problems. That isn't so much a negative statement as it is an honest one. If you are a manager who works in a leadership position in your organization, you know this to be true.

What are Birkinshaw's Four Dimensions of Management?
Management is a complicated topic that takes on a variety of roles and functions within any organization. If you work as a manager in some capacity, you understand just how flexible you need to be in order to accomplish your objectives successfully.

What are Waldroop and Butler's Six Problem Behaviors?
Management would be a lot easier if everyone just behaved how you wanted them to at all times. Of course, that is a pipe dream. Management, and leadership, are the important roles that they are because people are hard to predict.

What is Cog's Ladder?
The development of a team is a process that takes time to come together successfully. Any manager who is even moderately experienced in leadership understands that you can't simply put a team together and expect them to work together perfectly right from the start.

What is Leader-Member Exchange Theory?
One of the never-ending challenges associated with providing leadership is that we are all human and have our own biases and opinions. Even if you take pride in being a leader who is fair and you do the best you can to remain impartial and keep your personal feelings out of the equation, it is human nature to let yourself be swayed by emotion.

What are Belbin's Team Roles?
When looking at any team, it is quickly apparent that each member of the team adopts their own role in order to best contribute and use their skills in a way that is beneficial to the goals of the team as a whole.

What are Benne and Sheats' Group Roles?
As a manager, you know just how complex and unpredictable teams and groups can be. Only when a team is comprised of a good balance of roles, along with the right skills, will it be successful.

What is the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile?
As any experienced leader will tell you, a good team is about more than just compiling the right people with the right experience and skills for the job. When done correctly, a team is more than the sum of its parts - a result of great teamwork and leadership that creates an environment of productivity and creativity.

What is the JD-R Model?
In the JD-R Model, the 'JD' refers to job demands, while the 'R' refers to resources. The idea behind this model is all about making sure managers and leaders within an organization have everything they need to meet the demands of their job.

What team building principles should I know about?
Successful team building in the workplace has more to do with applying some key principles to the team you have been given, rather than recruiting 'perfect' team members in order to build an ideal team from scratch.

What is meant by the term 'Teams in Name Only'?
Some organizations use the word 'team' as a collective noun to refer to any group of workers that perform a similar task.

Is there an example of team building for a Development Team?
In this scenario, you have been with the organization for five years and witnessed its evolution from a traditional water authority to a modern water company. You are currently a team leader and have just been given the responsibility of managing a key IT project for the next twelve months. You are responsible for ensuring that the project is delivered on time and within budget.

Is there an example of team building for a Support Team?
In this scenario, you have been working in the customer support area for three years and have recently been promoted to Customer Support Manager. You are responsible for ensuring that calls received by the support desk wait no longer than five minutes to be answered and that 90% of issues are resolved on the first call.

Is there an example of team building for a Steering Team?
In this scenario, you are the Business Development Executive of the water company. Your team's long-term objective is to identify the most profitable business opportunities that are available to the water company following the deregulation of their operations. The legislation removes the restrictions that previously meant that the organization could only sell water services.

What is team leadership?
Before getting down to answering the question of why people would choose to follow your lead, you will need to understand the different styles of leadership available and the different types of team that are found in the workplace.

Which leadership theories are relevant to team leadership?
The most important aspect of being a leader is deciding how much freedom to give your team. Too much, and they may not achieve their targets. Too little, and you will restrict their personal development and job satisfaction. The four practical leadership styles are you should know about are: Transactional Leadership, Transformational Leadership, Situational Leadership and The Leadership Continuum.

What are the example teams?
You should be aware from experience of the wide variety of teams that exist throughout modern organizations. The remainder of this eBook will use three real-life examples of teams to illustrate how different team leadership styles can be applied to suit different types of team. The example teams are: a Development Team, a Customer Support Team and a Steering Team.

What is transactional leadership?
The power of transactional leaders comes from their formal authority and level of responsibility within the organization. Such leaders are primarily concerned with establishing the criteria for rewarding team members for good performance.

What is transformational leadership?
These leaders offer a role model that inspires, interests, and challenges their followers to take greater ownership for their work. A transformational leader understands the strengths and weaknesses of each follower and assigns tasks that enhance each individual's performance.

What is situational leadership?
The Situational Leadership® model states that there is no single style of leadership that is effective in all circumstances and that you should alter your leadership style to suit the ability and motivation of the team to do the task.

What is the leadership continuum?
This approach suggests that leadership behavior should change to best suit the situation you are dealing with. The four styles of leadership are known as 'Tells' (for the autocratic leader), then 'Sells', followed by 'Consults,' and finally 'Delegates.' The three factors that will help your decide which leadership style to adopt along the continuum are your own personality, the team itself, and the environment you are working in.

Why do teams under-perform ?
All teams experience difficulties from time to time and it is your responsibility as a manager to resolve any problems as quickly as possible.

What is Herzberg's Hygiene Theory?
Herzberg's Hygiene Theory shows that the factors that result in satisfaction at work and those that result in dissatisfaction are quite different in nature.

What are the common fallacies about leading teams?
Research suggests that there are some commonly held fallacies about teams and that smaller teams who are familiar with each other often outperform larger teams with no experience of working together.

What are the six silent barriers to performance?
Mike Beer has identified six 'silent barriers' that cause teams to under-perform . These barriers cannot be tackled because they result from issues that senior management prefers to ignore.

What are the five key team performance factors?
The most common reasons teams or individuals under-perform are: lack of clarity and focus, lack of ability, lack of confidence, lack of direction and lack of motivation.

How do matrix management issues affect team performance?
Matrix management is a technique of managing people through a series of dual-reporting relationships instead of a more traditional linear management structure. This means that some team members operate under a dual authority system - they report to their own line manager as well as the project manager.

How can I turn an under-perform ing team around?
By investigating the history of your team you can discover how successful previous managers have been in establishing incentives to motivate the team and how well each member's abilities match their role. This information will help you to come up with a development plan for each team member that enables him or her to work on their strengths.

What is GroupThink and in-group behavior?
GroupThink happens when teams ignore or attempt to discredit information that does not fit in with the group's ethos and beliefs. You are mostly likely to come across GroupThink if you are working in a highly cohesive team that is under pressure to make a decision or meet a deadline.

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