Discussion Questions and Exercises

  1. What are some of the reasons that work teams have become more prevalent in today’s organizations? How do they provide a competitive advantage?
  2. What are some ways teams can be “technology enabled?”
  3. What technologies have you found useful in your academic work or paid employment (e.g., social media, e-mail, conference calls, video chats, etc.)? How have they been beneficial?
  4. What are the challenges of virtual teams? How can leaders make virtual teams more effective?
  5. Explain how lateral decision-making works. When is this method preferable to vertical decision-making? When is it not preferable?
  6. Explain the advantages of distributed leadership, giving real-life examples.
  7. Define/describe Hill’s team leadership model. What is a leader’s mental model? What behaviors by leaders are most effective for teams and what responsibilities does the leader have to meet team needs? Give a personal example that you observed or personally performed in a group setting that provided to meet team members’ needs.
  8. What are the three decisions a leader needs to make to determine whether or how to intervene to improve team functioning? Discuss the elements necessary to determining monitoring or taking action to help the team.
  9. Come up with examples of when a leader should not take action and instead let a situation take care of itself.
  10. What are the three leadership actions described in Hill’s model for team leadership? Define/describe each of these actions. How do they affect a team’s success? Have you experienced any of these actions being taken in teams or work groups? Describe your experience.
  11. What are the two critical functions of team effectiveness? Define and then describe the components (Hackman, 2012) and the characteristics (Larson & LaFasto, 1989) provided to support group effectiveness. Give personal examples of three to four of these components/characteristics in groups/teams you worked with.
  12. Using Hill’s model, what leadership behaviors would you recommend for each of the stages of group development: forming, storming, norming, and performing?
  13. Complete Cases 14.1 and 14.2. Answer all questions.
  14. How do virtual teams differ from face-to-face teams? How do the leadership needs of virtual teams differ from face-to-face teams?
  15. What types of environmental factors might indicate the need for a team intervention by the leader?
  16. In what instances would the team leader negotiate with upper management according to this model?
  17. Rate a team you belong to and provide leadership for, using the team excellence and collaborative team leader questionnaire. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the team and its leadership? Are there changes, problematic norms, or issues that need to be addressed? Overall, do you feel that your group is successful in reaching its goals? How could you improve effectiveness based on the ideas, factors, and principles reviewed in this chapter?