Custom «Group Process: The Greener» Sample Essay
A famous American businessman Jack Welch once said: “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others” (Kruse, 2012). Researching group processes, one cannot help but notice an important role of the team leader, the manager. An effective leader pays attention to the details in the group. He always notices who listens to whom, who interrupts whom, who talks and for how long, who do members approach to ask questions. These and many others are the essential points to cover. Performing this observation, can prevent the problem at its early stage, and one can understand the team, each member’s interest, and work specifics, values they share and roles they play in the team. An important part of group process is decision making. The manager needs to understand whether these people make decisions together as a team or whether the solutions come from one member only. The task of a leader is to help the team to establish a goal and follow it step-by-step. This paper will discuss a case of the place called the Greener.
The Greener is a small vegetarian restaurant in downtown Lakeland, Florida. Due to hot and humid climate in Florida, cold beverages and usage of non-heavy products are supposed to become in handy for the clients of the Greener. However, the last year was not successful for the restaurant, and its top manager was ready to close it. The Greener’s target audience is high school students, college students, and young adults since these groups are more open to new things such as vegetarianism. One of their main characteristics of such people is their lack of financial resources. It means that they are not ready to overpay for food, although they would like to try it. The Greener is an attractive place with modern fresh interior and fairly high prices. It became even more expensive when its clientele decreased greatly. Due to the danger of closing the place, the manager is hiring a new professional team to bring the Greener back to life.
The team would consist of 11 people, which in common management criteria is a small group. However, it is good for such a small place as the Greener. The group will include the head-chef, two of his assistants, four waiters, one accountant, one loader, one caterer, and one PR-manager. Common including criteria would be the ability to work in a team, multitasking, vegetarianism (sharing the same values). There also are special criteria for every position. Excluding criteria for the head chef is poor experience in working with the vegetarian cuisine; the same is applied to his assistants. Waiters are required to be friendly and open-minded, ready to present the main concepts and values of the Greener. A PR-manager is an important position for the restaurant that is getting out of a crisis, as he is able to deliver the information to the big amount of people. His role is to communicate the main ideas of the restaurant, inform about the events and special offers, and get clients’ attention in other different ways.
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The members of a new team do not know each other yet, nor does the leader. However, there is something that they have all had since the time they applied for the positions – their goals.
The first rule for establishing a highly effective team is finding a steady purpose to keep working together. The purpose tends to arise from the current actual problem. In the case of the restaurant, it is possible closing. That means that the goal of the team is to keep the place from closing and maintain its functioning. The problem itself becomes threatening due to the lack of compelling and clear purpose (Hill & Lineback, 2011).
After clearing all the details on the mission, the manager starts to work directly with the team. His task is to help the group develop the strategy and walk it through all of the steps. In order for the team to perform the changes in the restaurant, the manager can use a group effectiveness model. With the help of this model, it is possible to create a real group with interdependence inside of it, multiple tasks, and taking collective responsibility for the final product. Respectively, the final result will represent the amount and quality of performed work.
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A group effectiveness model offers multiple possibilities to perform a sufficient and productive work. The clear mission is the first element of the model. That is where the team is going to answer the questions “Who are we now?” and “What do we want to become?”. The strategy is going to be built upon the answers to these questions. The purpose needs to be clear to everyone on the team and reflect everyone’s interest in order to perform a better work. At the stage of hiring, the manager establishes some criteria for every member. One of them is common values and beliefs. Sharing interests is an important part of group effectiveness model. It brings all the members together to serve one mission. If the group shares beliefs and goals, every member would benefit from the results and, respectively, would work harder to achieve it. However, even when missions and purposes are discussed and the work has started, it is still important for the team to get feedback on their current achievements. In case of failures or difficulties in the performance, the group is going to need more information or training and consulting from other sources. For example, whether the organization had done this before and if so, what strategy it used to apply, what the results were, what limits the team can expose to, and so on. The leader has to be ready to perform participative leadership style in order to help the team from the inside, find flaws early, and prevent them from becoming a problem. Participative leadership, in this case, can also be combined with a transformational approach. It requires the manager to be emotionally intelligent, passionate, and inspirational for the group. The group’s work can be accomplished by following strategic steps that they developed themselves and sticking to the ground rules for an effective group performance (Denison, 1990).
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Co-facilitation can be a good option for the manager. As in any business, the restaurant needs variable professional opinions on different fields of its work. For example, cooperation of a marketer and restaurant critic can be extremely efficient. This alliance would prevent common mistakes in the business from happening and develop highly effective sells strategy at the same time. There always are difficulties in working with another leader, but as the rest of the group, they are required to follow common rules, share values, and serve the same mission.
Implementation of the chosen model starts from the very first day as a team. The manager will arrange a kick-off meeting in order to get to know the members in person and get them acquainted with each other. The meeting always begins with the leader. The manager is the one who sets a tone to the event. He is also the one who starts talking first. First five minutes are the most essential as they can make the meeting meaningful, energetic and inspiring, or boring and frightening for the team. The best way for the manager to start the first meeting is to be a person, not a narrator and give the best material that he has. He would hand out the agendas on the restaurant first to answer all the questions about its past work and history at once. Then, since the team is newly hired, its members are going to know each other better, everyone’s background, values and beliefs. The task for the leader is to ask right questions, lead the group to mutual understanding by finding common topics, discuss everyone’s goals and expectations, and finally, establish friendly non-formal relationship between the members of a team. It is extremely important to get members to like and inspire each other because crisis management requires hard work and there is no place and time for arguments and misunderstanding (Alle-Corliss & Alle-Corliss, 2009).
The group would meet in the restaurant on Saturday afternoon and spend an hour and half there. This time is good because the business week has already ended, and a friendly conversation is more likely to happen between people who can rest and who are not in a rush. The restaurant is also a good place for meetings because it puts the team into the environment they are going to interfere with soon. The team members will remember pleasant feeling from the conversation and transfer it to the restaurant itself. An hour and a half meeting during the weekend is going to be more efficient than spending three hours as a team on a business day. It is just enough for the team to get familiar with each other, the restaurant, discuss their fears and expectations. It is also enough for the manager to understand the future dynamics of the group, given each member’s personality. It also prevents the team from getting tired and bored of the meeting. However, if the team expresses the will to stay and talk for some more, it is good too. The manager can give the group as much time as they need to communicate. It is not necessary to conduct any team-building exercises since most of these people have just met each other and need time to accommodate to the company.
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It is important to note that first meeting requires everyone to be present. Since it is arranged on the weekend there is a potential barrier for scheduling because most of the people plan time with family and friends. To prevent absences and make sure that everyone can come, the manager needs to inform the team at least the week before the meeting and verify their presence at least two days before it starts. There also is a possibility of the potential tardiness of the members. The manager needs to note this feature of the member if it happens and be aware of it in the future. It is important to kindly ask to watch the time and be ready before the meeting starts. After the first meeting, the manager can predict future challenges before they become a problem. Listening, watching, and noting the conversation is important for future references. The leader should ask accurate questions to keep the conversation on the right topic (Schwarz, 2002).
The new group will bring new challenges. Depending on the results of the first meeting, the team has developed relationship inside of it. During their work, they are going to face stressful situations and deal with multiple complicated tasks. This can cause arguments and misunderstandings inside of the team. If something goes wrong, members of the group can start blaming each other for the mistakes. However, every conflict has a way out. Problem-solving and decision-making are tightly connected. Decision-making requires a certain set of skills and traits. To solve the problem in the team, the manager should apply creative development, clarity judgment, and effective implementation. There are several steps for solving any problem in a team. Defining and clarifying the issue will help to understand if the conflict prevents employees from performing their work, whether the issue important or urgent to everyone. Following gathering of facts and cases can suggest possible solutions. It is important for the whole group to brainstorm ideas and come to the one that everyone agrees upon. The manager need to explain the decision to the members involved in a problem and make sure they understand and accept it (Davis, 2002).
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Conflicts and challenges are a usual part of any teamwork. Throughout the project, the leader should be a friend to every member and realize that all of them have different traits of character. At the same time, he needs to be ready to make hard decisions in order to keep the work going (Webne-Behrman, 2008).
By the end of the project, when the Greener is back to work, it is important to close the result in a budgeted report and final meeting. In the case of the restaurant, it will not be the last meeting for the team, as most of them will still occupying their positions after. In the budgeted report, the manager should provide the numbers that were topical before the team started working and latest results after the work done.
Although some of the members can leave the team, it is important for the restaurant to keep working in the same direction. In order to provide good service, the manager should constantly monitor the situation, provide monthly reports, and conduct marketing experiments to keep the Greener on top of the chart.
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Regardless of the results, the team has developed a strong bond among its members. It means that there is a complete professional team that can express a will to start a new project. Regarding the interests of the Greener, the manager should discuss the possibilities and plans to understand how to act in future.
To understand the results of the project, the team should develop the system of criteria to evaluate its work. The criteria can arise from the number of clients daily/weekly/monthly, on amount of resources spent and gained, on the number and kind of feedback the restaurants gets in local, state and national reviews, feedback from the clients and other people that interfered with the Greener.
The first goal of a manager is to establish a friendly and warm atmosphere inside the team to get it ready for hard work and many hours spent together. His work will result in a number of conflicts that the team cannot solve without his help. It is also important to understand the way each member deals with the problem, whether he is easygoing and ready for a discussion or he can be offended easily. If there were no conflicts and by the end of the project, the team wants to keep working together, it means that the first manager’s goal was accomplished.
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The main mission of the Greener team was to keep the restaurant from closing. To evaluate the work the leader should provide the report that will state the current situation and the percentage of increase from before the project started. The group should work on anticipation of the future results, critical situations, and difficulties that the restaurant can face. They can also come up with the solutions for the hypothetical problems. It will show the level of professionalism and experience of the team as well as create several backup plans for the Greener in its future work.
Team leadership offers many different approaches to the problem-solving and decision-making. The model and style depend on a wide range of factors such as type of business, location, current situation on the local, state and federal levels, and so on. The good leader is the one who can combine the most effective features of different approaches and create the model that is suitable for a particular situation.
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