In any business, there is a staff that must work synergistically as a team to meet organizational goals. Having a team-based structure can be immensely beneficial for any organization. Parker (1990) identifies many positive outcomes of teamwork: “greater productivity, more effective use of resources, better decisions and problem solving, better-quality products and services, and greater innovation and creativity.” With these prosperous qualities of member involvement improving the organization, group functions and team leadership can be more effectively analyzed and aligned to the business’s respective purposes.
The first step in reaching organizational goals of profitability and meeting customer service demands is to define the roles and functions of each group. Group roles are “expectations associated with specific jobs or positions in the group” (PSU WC, 2019, L. 9, p. 3). This is more simply the delegation of responsibility so that each member is aware of what their assigned role is. There are two distinct categories of roles: task roles (for followers or task functions for leaders) and relationship roles (for followers or maintenance functions) (PSU WC, 2019, L. 9, p. 4). According to the PSU WC lesson commentary (2019), task roles include “getting the task done… initiating, information seeking, information sharing, summarizing, evaluating, and guiding.” A similar responsibility for the leaders is task functions, or helping the group to accomplish the tasks. Relationship or maintenance functions are similar as a specified individual is charged with “keeping the group maintained and functioning” (PSU WC, 2019, L. 9, p. 4) while also “developing a positive climate, solving interpersonal problems, and developing cohesion.” With most businesses, there is a hierarchal structure with owners/executives at the top with the most power followed by managers/supervisors then entry-level staff. Entry-level or lower level staff are primarily concerned with task roles and completing the bulk of the work while managers are responsible for maintenance functions and cultivating strong relationships. For example, when completing a wedding setup, the managers of the restaurant are charged with delegating stations and tasks. If any outbursts or problems arise, relationship roles come into play and the manager must be able to mend any interpersonal issues. The servers and bussers are in turn responsible for performing the work through cleaning the venue and ensuring proper setup of floorplans and layouts. With each role and necessary functions defined specifically to fit the organizational purpose, all expectations can be met in order to best reach productivity goals.
For team leadership to be truly profitable, maintaining optimal group functioning can be achieved through Hackman and Walton’s (1986) outlining of 3 components: (1) a clear, elevating goal, (2) an enabling performance situation, and (3) adequate material resources. Northouse (2016) better defines the goal as one that is “very clear so that one can tell whether the performance objective has been realized” (p. 368). In addition, the common purpose must be stimulating enough so that members believe in its purpose. An enabling performance situation includes proper task structuring, competent and dedicated team members, and collaboration between members. In hosting a wedding, there are many moving parts with different areas of responsibility. By having an event showcase each individual’s strengths in their work, individuals must be properly assigned a role depending on their abilities. Their assignments help create conduct norms for consistent work while also giving the opportunity to hone their craft in a specific area of the restaurant. This initial delegation helps structure the business towards better results with specified roles, allows employees to train and become highly competent in their respective areas, and creates unity and teamwork throughout the whole staff for unity and collaboration. Adequate material resources and be improved through standards of excellence and listing expectations of how each task should be completed. This helps to bring awareness of the currently accessible resources and what is lacking. External support and recognition may not be a material resource, but can still act as a great asset as it gives the employees the confidence to work harder and improve.
As employee turnover causes the staff group to change with new members, Tuckman’s (1965) different stages of development are evident so it is important to recognize what stage the group is in at all times. This will help foster relationships and determine the most effective action plans given the situation. Tuckman (1965) identified four stages of development: forming, storming, norming, and performing. The forming stage includes the initial contact and “getting to know you” phase when individuals are first assigned to a group. With a high turnover rate and new employees entering the business, this stage can occur regularly. While the group may not be experiencing it all at the same time, the majority of the group can still experience it with the new member with the majority still being in a different stage amongst themselves. The second stage of storming “is characterized by group conflict” (PSU WC, 2019, L. 9, p. 3). This is much like brainstorming in which a goal is broken down into tasks and each member is assigned a task. In a restaurant, this is simplified as the manager is able to quickly assign tasks given the prior employee’s abilities and ranking tasks from simplest to most complex to match for the new hire. Norming is the “emergence of a leader and development of group norms” (PSU WC, 2019, L. 9, p. 3) and is when roles are more clearly assigned. Expectations of behavior and work quality are given during training for each position as are social cues. Performing is the actual carrying out of the tasks and completion of the project. Once the new hire is adequate in their performance, a new group is formed and is able to strongly work together without micro-managing or struggle.
Though hosting a party requires a good amount of manual labor, the necessity of leadership and organizing the group is highly apparent. Guidance for the staff is provided and the teambuilding is facilitated leading to optimal productivity and better overall service for the customer.
Hackman, J. R., & Walton, R. E. (1986). Leading groups in organizations. In P.S. Goodman & Associates (Eds.), Designing effect work groups (pp. 72-119). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Northouse, Peter G. (2016) Leadership, Theory and Practice, 7th ed., Sage Publications.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2016). PSYCH 485. Lesson 9: Team Leadership. Retrieved from https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/canvas/su19/2195min-5376/content/09_lesson/printlesson.html.
Parker, G. M. (1990). Team players and teamwork. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small group. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 384-399.