Team leadership has become a very popular form of leadership and work experience in recent years, especially when examining companies in Silicon Valley. Many of these companies utilize teams for “maintaining a competitive advantage. Team-based organizations have faster response capability because of their flatter organizational structure” (Northouse,2015, pg. 363). A team can be defined as, “a type of organizational group that is composed of members who are interdependent, who share common goals, and who must coordinate their activities to accomplish these goals” (Northouse, 2015, 363). One of the most successful at utilizing teams and team leadership has been Google. Google has taken the team leadership theories and researched them significantly to try to determine what makes the best team.
Google surveyed and researched their own teams within the company to determine what made a team successful, and what made some teams unsuccessful. Their research very closely matched up to the model of Team leadership discussed in the Northouse textbook (2015, pg. 367). The textbook claims that the conditions that enable team excellence are clear, elevating goals, results-driven structure, competent team members, unified commitment, collaborative climate, standards of excellence, external support, and principled leadership (Northouse, 2015, pg. 368-372). Google found that the things that enable successful teams are psychological safety, dependability, structure and clarity, meaning, and impact (Kim, 2017). When you read into the research done by Google, it bares an eerie likeness to the research discussed in the textbook.
From all the research listed above, it seems that effective teams want team members that they can count on to show up, do their fair share of the work, and have a basic understanding of the goals and expectations. Groups also need structure, stability, and support provided by the overseeing company to make sure that they know what the end-goal is, and that they have the resources to reach them. Groups also want their work to produce results and make a visual impact in the field. When a team has these things, it is almost sure to be successful. The team leadership model is a very complex model meant to be used in complex situations and allows for different situations and people which is a very big strength of the model (Northouse, 2015, pg. 384). There are few criticisms of the model other than that due to the fact that the leader of a group may change over time, it requires each individual member to have a diverse skills set including leadership (Northouse, 2015, pg. 384).
Google has taken the research of Hackman, Larson, and Lafasto and made it mainstream. The interesting thing is that most companies did not even consider team organization until the innovative and flashy companies like Google and Apple decided to do it. The more interesting thing is that the companies that have really made a push for team-based work, are almost always on the cutting edge and seem to be leading the way in their industries. When employees understand their goals and roles in the team, and are able to interact with a group of like-minded individuals, the impact is immediately seen. Teams and team leadership seem to be the way many of these millennial companies are going, and it seems to be working out so far.
Kim, L. (2017, November 08). The Results of Google’s Team-Effectiveness Research Will Make You Rethink How You Build Teams. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/larry-kim/the-results-of-googles-team-effectiveness-research-will-make-you-rethink-how-you-build-teams.html
Northouse, P. G. (2015). Introduction to leadership. concepts and practice. Los Angeles: Sage.