The trend in American companies is toward the use of self-directed work teams. This is the result of the theory that people doing the work are the experts in their jobs and they may be the best managers. Self-directed work teams are small groups of employees who have the daily responsibility of managing themselves as a group as well as managing the work with which they are involved. The responsibilities of team members may range from handling their job assignments to conducting team meetings, to determining work schedules. Increased efficiency can be realized with the use of a team to find a solution than it would be for a group of people working as individuals. This team effort will also create stress on individuals in the team because management is searching for a higher quality product as well as producing it cheaper and faster. This stress could foster unhealthy conflict on the team.
In order for these self-directed work teams to be effective, management must provide training of team skills to employees to help them understand the team concept and how to become productive members of a team (Centre County Vocational, 1994). These employees are going to be put into situations where they will need to use interpersonal skills to handle situations that previously had been handled by management, learning critical thinking skills, developing conflict resolution techniques and acquiring problem solving skills.
Developing skills in communication is also important for successful team members to develop. Effective verbal as well as nonverbal communication is so important in teamwork that it cannot be taken lightly. Team members must be able to understand the people that they work with and must also be able to make their points absolutely clear. A prerequisite to teaching communication skills is making sure that workers...