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Productive Team Leadership and Participation

Productive Team Leadership and Participation

Most people believe that teams are the best way to work in order to produce excellent results. However a team’s excellent performance is not guaranteed since sometimes teams end up performing miserably. To get outstanding results some factors and conditions must be considered. 

This article will discuss some group issues that are very crucial to a team’s performance. It will outline the positive and negative aspects of a group. Through theories and concepts it will critically analyze and reflect this in accordance to the group’s performance.

The Team

A team is a group of two or more people working together towards attaining a common goal (Allen & Hecht 2004). This study will focus on leadership and participation as important factors for a group’s performance. This will be based on the evaluation of the author’s team.


As much as a team will be a group of people that will be working together, the team will still have to be under a leader. A successful team will need to follow some rules and direction this will only come from a person that has been chosen to lead the team (Anonymous 2006).

When dealing with group performances, most researchers found out what constitutes to a successful team or not depends on how the team is managed. The leaders have to come up with ways to manage the group. It is common for one to choose either the tradition approach or the new ‘empowering approach’ (Hackman 1998).

In the traditional approach the team is told what to do and how to do it while in the empowering approach he directs the team on what they wish to do. A study by Hackman on the teams show that a good leader is one that balances that his authority as a leader and his participation as a member. What this means is that even though the person has been put in charge to take care of the group affairs he should not treat the group members unfairly because of his position but like his team (Hackman 1987).

The author can relate to this since as much as their group leader had been put in charge of all the affairs he was not to treat them like anything but his equals. He was to help direct the group with the help of the group members. It was easy to have the members of the group participate when consulted than when being forced upon to do something. When the members felt that they were being forced they rebelled, despite the fact they had appointed the leader to them he was still their classmate and equal and had no right to push them around.

However as much as the leader must not push the group around and must lead them fairly, he must be firm with the group. Hackman believes a leader should be firm in order to prevent his group from losing direction but he should do so by empowering them not overpowering them. In the end he concludes that as much as the team needs direction the members will only be serious if they feel that they are a team and have a responsibility to that team (Hackman 1990).

The author can attest to it that when the team members became a handful and the leader convened a team meeting he told them the importance of the team not just to him and to them. He explained to them that if the team did not become serious enough to finish the assignment he is not the only one who was going to fail. This realization made the team members to have a change of heart and start working on their assignments.


When it comes to a team and doing assignments each member must participate. Studies have shown that group participation is better than individual participation since views gotten are from everyone hence the work outcome is excellent (Kerr & Tindale 2004).

A study done called the group brainstorming literature (Diehl & Strobe 1987) shows that groups which interact have more ideas than a person working alone. This the author accepts since whenever the group met the ideas generated were too many since each member had his or her own different view.

However what the author disagrees with this theory is that the views are different and are better than an individual effort. Since some of the ideas brought were one and the same the difference was the packaging and explanation. This point is proved by a study done by (Mullen, Johnson & Salas 1991) that what is gotten is an answer from a combined effort.

Example of a question is one that an answer is a known one then regardless of the number of people that will not change the answer to different one just because it was a team that was dealing with it all the team does is give a better opinion to it than the individual who only has one view of the answer. This participation as suggested by the theory of romance of teams goes ahead to show that a group effort is better than an individual work but necessarily different if the conclusion to be met is one (Allen & Hecht 2004).

With participation comes consistency. A person’s work is measured by how consistent he delivers. When it comes to group work consistency might be hard to measure since it is not always that the performances will be that good (Mullen & Riordan 1988).

This is because people are different and maybe as a group they might be good at something and bad at another. This is explained by the normative group model which suggests that participation and excellence will depend on the members’ satisfaction, emotion and feelings of competence (Cordery 2004).

During the group discussions it was easy to see how members would fully participate on the topics they were well versed in but when it came to a topic that they were not familiar with they did not participate or when they did it was not as confident as before. This would make the work done not as good as the work that had full participation.


From the discussion above we have seen that for a group to be successful some factors have to be considered. There might be many but for the discussion leadership and participation is what the writer talked about.

It correct to conclude that for a group setting leadership is important since it’s the only way a group cannot lose grip of what it is important. It is the duty of the leader to always remind the group about what should be done whenever they lose track.

The discussion also highlighted on participation and how it affects performance. It is thus concluded that participation is vital if the group intends to come up with excellent work. However it has also been proved that it is not true that a group effort will yield much result than a solo effort sometimes a group may not perform well because lack competency.



Allen, J & Hecht T, 2004, The ‘romance of teams’: Toward an understanding of its psychological underpinnings and implications, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.

Anonymous 2006, Why Some Teams Succeed (and So Many Don’t) The key is how they’re managed and whether your company really supports teamwork, Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.

Hackman, J, 1998, Why teams don’t work, Theory and research on small groups,  New York: Plenum Press.

Hackman, J, 1987,  The design of work teams. In J. Lorsch (Ed.), Handbook of organizational behaviour Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Hackman, J, 1990, Groups that work (and those that don’t). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Kerr, N, & Tindale, R, 2004, Group performance and decision making, Annual Review of Psychology.

Cordery, J, 2004, Another case of Emperor’s new clothes, Journal of Occupational and Organizational psychology.

Diehl, M, & Stroebe, W 1987, Productivity loss in brainstorming groups: Toward the solution of a riddle, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Mullen, B, Johnson, C, & Salas, E, 1991, Productivity loss in brainstorming groups: A meta-analytic integration, Basic and Applied Social Psychology.

Mullen, B., & Riordan, C. A, 1988, self-serving attributions for performance in naturalistic settings: A meta-analytic review, Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

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