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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Building an effective team for business
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Facilities Management, Volume 6, Issue 2.
FM is very much a people business and yet still the majority of the research papers that, we receive focus upon place and process rather than people and process. I thought therefore, I would use this editorial space to explore in simple terms some of the different types of personality that complicate management of the workplace.
The effectiveness of workplace teams is often directly related to the skills of the individual tasked with team assembly. In this regard there is a need for a degree of understanding when it comes to the needs and motives of different people and this in turn requires a recognition that one can often classify individuals as having a particular type of personality. Understanding the role that each of these personalities play within the team managed project process is central to delivering successful project outcomes.
Initially, any team or group requires a Chair or Leader. In general, good leaders tend to be dominant, stable and confident. The profile of a successful leader has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. In years past respect was often seen as the sacrifice that one made for delivering on an individual's personal agenda within an organisation. These types of leaders were generally given to intimidation and bullying which would today often result in an employment law case. In general, they were lonely people who built teams of weak personalities around them who would willingly indulge their personal ambitions. These weak team members gained even less respect from colleagues. They were notoriously difficult to remove from positions of authority due to the reluctance of more senior management to confront them. Those who made a stand against them were dealt a swift disciplinary blow to deter those waiting in the wings. In the post Thatcher era this personality type began to decline and the new management style of inclusion and openness began to evolve. A good leader is not necessarily an originator of ideas, instead he or she will focus the talents of those around on the objectives to best effect. This means that leadership skills themselves are often more important than core skills. A leader recognises the added value of opportunities and understands the role that individuals can play in developing the strategy to meet those objectives. The modern leader sees the team as the vehicle for delivering upon objectives through a shared strategic vision. This inclusive management style enables business growth but it is reliant upon the strength of the leader's team management and assembly skills. The new style is more effective, if well focused, as it draws upon greater experience of the team. A truly confident leader will not be threatened by the strength of the team and will encourage the strongest staff. This is in direct contrast to the paranoid stance of the old leadership style where people were often given positions beyond their capabilities. The team and its assembly is one of the key initial or ongoing leadership tasks.
The following is an idea of some of the types of personality and character that can be used within group operations.
The play maker
In general, these people are the catalyst for business growth, change, innovation and improvement. They are capable individuals with a high level of intellect that generate, develop and appraise ideas within an organisation. They are however rarely the administrators of the ideas and are inclined to avoid detail and to avoid barriers to growth at all costs. These are usually strong individuals who are sometimes prone being easily offended.
These are sometimes seen as “play makers” in training but only where they are capable of original thinking. Essentially, an analyst must be a stable individual and may even be dominant. This type of personality will be outgoing and will communicate well with colleagues and industrial partners alike. They are likely to form part of the sales team or to be involved in some sort of liaison work. Their character will often help them develop good counselling skills.
These people seek to bring order to chaos or structure to a project. They are usually both dominant and ambitious but often not as dynamic as they believe and can fail to recognise their own weaknesses. They bring together strands of other peoples' ideas but are intolerant of ideas that are not ordered. They are inclined to like specific challenges and, although they may never recognise it, they tend to make ideal right hand men or women. They are not innovators or idea generators but are invaluable in administration.
The finisher will take the ideas of the playmaker and deliver them. These are anxious people that will look to the framer to bring order to the ideas generated. They have a constant sense or urgency and work better under the pressure of a deadline. They are concerned with continuity and order within the project.
The company employee
The worker bee of the organisation. These people will deliver at the coal face in a stable and controlled way for many years. They are often loyal and their inflexibility can create an employee that cannot move. They are often abused by the system but carry on nonetheless. They are practical in every way but are not motivators, innovators or managers in any sense.
The personal assistant is invaluable in any organisation. Rising above secretarial level but without the ambition to develop beyond that level they deliver a high IQ without being dominant. They are not innovative or even always enthusiastic but they are solid deliverers of administrative duties.
The team player
This personality often provides the level headedness within a team. They may appear cautious and unenthusiastic but this belies a desire for team success. They are no innovators or dominant but provide a stable calmness within the team. They are flexible and able to build on other peoples' ideas.
This is not an exhaustive list of personalities but it covers those most commonly found. Many other more complex factors impact upon an individual's ability to deliver within a team. Stephen Fry's recent revelation concerning his belief that his creativity may be linked to his bio-polar disorder serves well to illustrate the immense complexity and nature of the problem. The assembly of the team will of course, depend upon the objectives and the type of project envisaged.
I would like to encourage the submission of both business and research papers that address these sorts of issues in the workplace.