Essay, 3 pages (650 words)

Leadership and team-working

How can leaders enable or motivate team working? What could be the obstructions for effective team working and what could leaders do to break down these barriers? Analyse using theory and examples.
How can leaders enable or motivate team working? What could be the obstructions for effective team working and what could leaders do to break down these barriers? Analyse using theory and example
I. Introduction
A leader can make or break a team. An effective leader can make a team perform to its optimum while an ineffective leader can make the team fragmented and achieve nothing.
II. Definition of terms
A leader is defined as the individual who direct “the activities of a group toward a shared goal” (Hemphill & Coons, 1957, P9, 7 cited in Yukl, 2013 pg. 21) and that shared goal can only be achieved depending on the performance of the team.
A team on the other is composed of a several individuals bound together by a similar objective, project or interest working together to realize their goals.
III. Compare and analyze
A leader may be responsible for the performance of a team as defined by Yukl but leadership itself is not enough to bring the desired performance of a team and this presents the weakness of how leadership is defined. The definition does not acknowledge the obstruction that a leader may face as he or she exercise leadership on the team. After all the leader is only an individual with limited capacity and it would be an exaggeration to credit to him or her all the performance of a team.
Yukl however mentioned that “it [would be] helpful to examine the collective process that determine team performance. Leaders can improve team performance by influencing these processes in a positive way” (Yukl, 2013 pg 361) and having said this, the definition has acknowledged that the efficacy of a leader is dependent on his or her ability to engage the members of the team collectively and make it function as a team.
IV. Articulate my own argument
Directing the team towards a common goal requires the members to be motivated by the leader. The definition given was inadequate because it does not provide the method to motivate team member to be directed towards a common goal. This leadership motivation includes visioning, expressing confidence in the team and celebrating progress. It is also important to involve team members in making decisions to affirm that they belong to the team. Managerial functions is also a necessary part of leadership such as selecting competent team members and coaching/training them to be able to perform well.
An effective leader must also identify the obstructions for effective team working and be able to break down these barriers. These barriers could be miscommunication and factionalism that could divide the team and render it nonfunctional. Parker and Stone provided an answer on how these obstructions be overcome by highlighting the importance of communication and relationships between team members and calls for the effective interpersonal skill for the leader to overcome obstructions of effective team working (Parker and Stone, 2002).
V. Case studies and organization leader example
The classic case that can be cited on how a leader has effectively improved a team performance is the legendary Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder. During the absence of Steve Jobs, Apple was nearing bankruptcy but when he took over the company, his vision and leadership lifted the company from its near bankruptcy status to become a revolutionary company. It was Steve Job’s team who was able to produce revolutionary products such as iPhone, iPad and iPod that transformed Apple to become the leading brand in the world because of his effective leadership over his team and company. His leadership on his team had long term vision, excellence, and laid out processes that ensure the success of his team and company.
Parker, C and Stone, B (2003) Developing Management Skills for Leadership, Pearson Education: Harlow.
Yukl, G. (2013), Leadership in Organizations Global Edition Pearson International: New Jersey.

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