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Team Leader

Unit Standard 242819
Motivate and build a team

Anthony Hill
Team Leader
Unit Standard 242819
© Anthony Hill 2007

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in

any form, electronic, mechanical, photo-copying, or otherwise,
without prior permission of the copyright owner.

First Published 2007

Published by
Future Managers (Pty) Ltd
PO Box 13914, Mowbray, 7705
Tel (021) 462 3572
Fax (021) 462 3681

Motivate and build a team

After completing this unit standard, you should be able to:

• explain the importance of motivating a team
• demonstrate an understanding of yourself (placing yourself in the
position of a team leader) and team members in the workplace
• apply theories of motivation and group dynamics
• implement a plan of action to strengthen a team
• provide feedback and recognize achievements 

 Unit Standard 242819
Specific Outcome 1
Explain the importance of
motivating a team
Assessment criteria
After completing this outcome, you should be able to explain:
• the reasons why motivation is important
• what the indicators of motivation are (according to theory and practice) 

1. Why is motivation so important?

A team leader can be defined as someone who is able to inspire people to work
enthusiastically and effectively as a team in order to accomplish organisational
One of the key concepts in this definition is that of “inspiring people to work

Why is it so important that the team leader inspires team members to work

Well, the overwhelming evidence is that sustainable success in the world of work is
dependant on how an organisation’s human resources are motivated to perform!
The best companies in the world:
• constantly measure the satisfaction of their people by means of attitude surveys
• reward the performance of their people by linking pay to performance
• promote their people from within whenever possible
• spend a high percentage of their payroll on the training & career development of
their people

In other words these top companies have taken specific actions that they believe
will result in ‘motivated’ employees who will want to put in more effort to help the
organisation successfully achieve its goals.

At the same time, there is also consistent evidence that successful organisations make
sure that they don’t invest money, effort and time in anything without achieving
a return on this investment. Therefore we can accept that these organisations are
confident that rewarding, promoting and developing their employees are appropriate
mechanisms to help them achieve desired results.

Unit Standard 242819 

1.1 Understanding the needs of team members

“People are motivated by many different things but most importantly,

I think we’re motivated by a sense of excitement!”
(Mark Shuttleworth: Entepreneur and first South African in Space)

What leads to the confidence that top companies have that they are using the best
‘motivators’? It is simply that they believe that they are fulfilling individual needs by
providing a chosen range of ‘rewards’.
These rewards may be in the tangible form of money and benefits such as cars
(being paid for performance), or in the form of intrinsic feelings of achievement and
recognition (promotion), self-fulfilment (training & career development).

Whatever it is that 'pushes an individual’s buttons'; it is a reality in the world of work

that organisations believe that individual employees are motivated to perform because
they expect that better performance will lead to some form of reward for their efforts.

Obviously it then makes sense to gain a sound understanding of these individual

needs before taking action to motivate employees.
Some of these needs appear to be fairly obvious. There are a number of examples for
a) Employees find that being part of a team satisfies their needs for:
• Security – (gaining confidence as part of a team on whom they can
count for support)
• Affiliation – (feeling ‘part of ’ a team)
• Status – (being part of a ‘winning team’ leads to shared
• Self-esteem – (being part of a team builds a feeling of self-worth)
b) Many employees have a need to be ‘empowered’, where they are recognised for
productivity improvements, given daily feedback on their achievements and kept
informed of how they, as individual team members, contribute to organisational
Motivating employees in an organisation is so important because all the evidence
suggests that it directly leads to improved organisational performance and
subsequent sustainable success. The secret is to first establish; and then effectively
utilise the link between ‘motivators’ and performance!

1.2 The process of motivation

If you gain an understanding of the process of motivation, then you are in a much
better position to understand how to translate needs into motivators. This, in turn,
means that you, as the team leader, can, for example, link good communication and
positive feedback to more effective team performance.

A theorist by the name of Victor Vroom developed a model that does, in fact, link
needs (for example, “respect”) to a desired outcome (for example, “performance”).
This is illustrated in exhibit 1.

 Unit Standard 242819

Exhibit 1: Vroom’s expectancy model of motivation

Expectancy Instrumentality Valence

An individual’s How How much value

Motivational expectation instrumental the individual
x x
Force that he/she can achieving this attaches to the
= perform a certain standard will be specific outcome
task to a certain in leading to a in question
standard specific outcome

This model is best explained by a workplace analogy

Assume that you have been employed by an organisation in a temporary

administrative capacity.

You are hoping that they will offer you a permanent job, because you have been
unemployed for the past six months.
The job requires you to generate a lot of activity reports on Excel spreadsheets. The
manager of the department where you are working is very fussy about accurate
reports being submitted on time.
You have heard that the last permanent person who was employed left because
she was unable to cope with the pressure. This concerns you because your Excel
computer skills are quite weak. In this scenario you have a low expectation
that putting more effort into your work will lead to the required standard of

Applying Vroom’s theory to this analogy:

• The maximum for expectancy is 1.00 (possible scores range from as low as 0.00
to as high as 1.00). A realistic score for you is 0.25 because of your weak Excel
• You do, however, know that doing this work well will play a very important role
in you being appointed full time. Therefore you score 0.9 for Instrumentality.
• Valence (the real need), according to Vroom carries a value of between 100 (a
negative feeling by the individual) and 100. You are desperate for the job and
thus score 100 for Valence.

The final score arrived at by multiplying expectancy by instrumentality and then by

valence is 22.5 (0.25 x 0.9 x 100).

Your motivational force is therefore low.

This is because as ‘motivated’ as you are to get the job, knowing that you don’t
possess sufficient skill in the critical part of the job i.e. producing accurate Excel
spreadsheets, makes you less ‘expectant’ and therefore less ‘motivated’ to put in the
extra effort!

Unit Standard 242819 

If you had no experience of Excel whatsoever, your expectancy score might even be
zero! In this case your motivational force score will be 0 (since anything multiplied
by a zero = zero) and you are unlikely to put in any extra effort.
Of course if you have a strong sense of self-belief, you may well take a crash course
in Excel while temping. This might increase your expectancy score to as high as .90,
and suddenly your motivational force stands at a high score of 81!

When setting performance objectives and standards one of the key elements is that,
although they should be challenging, they should not be unrealistic. If this happens,
team members are likely to become de-motivated and give up. In other words their
expectation of meeting required standards will remain low as long as these standards
are unrealistically high!

The simplicity of this theory is of great value in helping us to understand the ‘process’
required to translate a ‘need’ into an action that will motivate team members.

2. Content theories of motivation

Content theories of motivation help us answer the question “What motivates people?”
If we are able to understand the causes of motivation, then we are in a good position to
immediately know when a team member is motivated to perform.

2.1 Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Nearly sixty years ago, a psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow hypothesized
that people only develop certain needs (that he termed higher-order needs) when other
(lower-order) needs have been satisfied. He subsequently developed a ‘hierarchy’ of
needs that has become the most widely known theory of motivation in the world.
Although criticised over the past few years, Maslow’s Hierarchy (illustrated in exhibit
2) still provides an excellent, user-friendly explanation of what motivates us.

 Unit Standard 242819

Exhibit 2: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

(personal growth
& self-fulfilment)

Esteem needs
(self respect, autonomy,
recognition, status, prestige)

Social needs
(acceptance, feeling of belonging,
group affiliation)

Safety needs
(feeling of security, protection from harm)

Physiological needs
(hunger, thirst, sleep, shelter)

What this theory implies is that, although we may be motivated by a fairly wide variety
of needs, we won’t be motivated by ‘safety’ issues until our basic ‘physiological needs’
are satisfied, and being socially accepted doesn’t become a need unless our lower-order
needs for shelter and safety have been, and continue to be satisfied.

To ensure that we are completely clear about this in the world of work, let’s look at
another analogy.

Maslow’s hierarchy explained by a workplace analogy

Assume that you are 30 years of age and live in Gugulethu, Cape Town. You have
a family to support and are unemployed.

You get up at 5am every morning to go and stand outside the gates of a factory in
the hope of a casual job. What are your needs? Clearly your primary focus is to
‘put bread on the table’ for your family – you are driven by hunger and the need for

Because the factory has urgent orders to produce, you are lucky enough to get a
casual job for three days a week for the next month. Your basic physiological needs
have been satisfied and your focus now is on ‘safety’ i.e. the security of a potential
permanent job. You work very diligently and are noticed by the foreman for your
accurate work, good timekeeping and positive attitude.

Unit Standard 242819 

The company wins a new export contract and is able to offer you a permanent
job. After a couple of weeks, you start to make an effort to get to know your work
colleagues better as you become part of a formal work team. This is because your
physiological and safety needs have been satisfied and you are now motivated by
higher-order social needs – you want to feel that you ‘belong’.

You continue to work hard and are eager to learn new skills. After six months the
foreman calls you into the office and informs you that you have been nominated
to attend a training course for team leaders. This fulfils your need for recognition
and status – after only six months you have been identified as having leadership
potential! You feel grateful to the organisation for giving you this opportunity and
are motivated to prove to them that their confidence is not misplaced by putting
even more effort into your work.

After another two years, you have been promoted, are on top of your job and have
started to study part-time. You have always wanted to do a degree in order to prove
to yourself that ‘you’ve got what it takes’. You don’t feel the need to prove anything
to other people - your needs now are for self-actualisation. You have moved to the
top of the hierarchy!

A critical issue to remember in Maslow’s theory is that, as individuals will not be

motivated by higher-order needs such as status when in need of protection from harm
(safety need), it is equally true that lower-order needs can become a priority again if
personal circumstances change.

Imagine the university professor who has achieved everything she wishes to and
focuses very much on self-actualisation needs by conducting research that interests
her. Due to restructuring her post becomes redundant and she loses her job.
Does her primary focus remain at the self-actualisation level? Highly unlikely! She
has to worry about earning an income to make a living. We are back to lower-order
physiological and safety needs as priorities.

Maslow’s hierarchy remains a valuable tool for managers in the world of work to
understand three key principles. These are:
• not all individuals are motivated by the same things
• personal circumstances have a powerful impact on individual needs
• the less organisations generalise about what motivates people and the more
they attempt to understand individual needs, the better they are able to 'inspire
employees to work enthusiastically'.
Performing Activity 1 will help you to understand how your needs tie in with this

 Unit Standard 242819

Activity 1
Step 1: Rate what your personal needs on a scale of 1 – 5, 1 = not at all important,
2 = not important, 3 = neutral, 4 = important and 5 = very important.
Step 2: List which of these needs are Physiological (P), Safety (S), Social (So),
Esteem (E) or Self-Actualisation (A).

Needs Rating Need Type

1. Interesting work

2. Job security

3. Recognition for work performed

4. A good salary

5. Pleasant working conditions

6. Help with my personal problems

7. Opportunities for promotion

8. More responsibility

9. A good Pension Plan and Medical Aid

10. Being allowed to work independently

What are your highest needs? Add up your scores for each type of need. This should
give you an indication of where you are on the hierarchy.

2.2 Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory

Also known as the ‘two-factor theory’, this explains how to distinguish between those
factors that contribute to satisfaction in the world of work (the ‘motivators’) and those
that don’t necessarily motivate individual employees but have to remain in place to
avoid individuals becoming dissatisfied (the ‘hygiene factors’).

Frederick Herzberg conducted extensive research into what job factors led to
satisfaction and what factors created dissatisfaction. From this, he formulated a
scale (illustrated in exhibit 3) highlighting the difference between hygiene factors
(“dissatisfiers”) and motivators (“satisfiers”).

Unit Standard 242819 

Exhibit 3: Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory

Hygiene Factors Motivators

Work itself
Work Conditions

Let’s explore this further. What Herzberg suggests is that removing a ‘dissatisfier’ such
as “poor working conditions” will not increase employee motivation. In fact, it will be
difficult to rely on identified ‘motivators’ such as “work itself ” to create a motivated
workforce, if poor conditions continue to exist. In other words, hygiene factors
are an essential foundation for motivation to take place even though they don’t, in
themselves, motivate people at work.

Although Herzberg’s theory has also been criticised in regard to the validity of
his research design and results, it has made a couple of major contributions to
understanding the content of motivation.

The first of these has been to create awareness that money is not always the most
important motivator in the world of work. Achievement, recognition and opportunities
for personal growth are globally recognised as motivators and yet don’t automatically
mean more money is paid out to the individuals concerned.
Let’s use another analogy to ensure we understand this.

Motivators vs hygiene factors explained by a workplace analogy

Assume that you are a team leader in a factory who has worked very hard to achieve
your performance targets over the past year.

Your boss calls you in and tells you that you have been awarded a fifteen percent increase in
salary. You feel great! You find out that the average increase has been six percent and that the
above average performers have been awarded between eight and ten percent.

Now you are really motivated – you feel like putting in a huge effort to show the organisation
just how much you appreciate your increase.
Three months later your new higher salary is what you expect to receive each month. It has
become a hygiene factor.

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The second major contribution has been to clarify that there is a difference between
intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

This is particularly well illustrated by the range of ‘rewards’ used by organisations to

‘motivate’ their employees. We saw earlier that these rewards may be in the tangible
form of money and material acquisitions such as cars, or in the form of feelings
of achievement and self-fulfilment. Herzberg’s theory has helped significantly in
developing a clearer understanding of what comprises ‘reward’.

Two key descriptors have emerged to explain the types of rewards that motivate people
in the world of work.

Intrinsic rewards describe the feelings of self-fulfilment and enjoyment that the
individual employee gains from the job itself.
In response to this, many organisations have reviewed the content of jobs in order to
make them more stimulating and to provide opportunities for growth.

Extrinsic rewards describe the rewards gained from sources other than the job, such
as direct financial compensation and a feeling of ‘being part of ’ the organisation.
Extrinsic rewards can be split further into financial and non-financial rewards. There
is, for example, a difference between a salary (financial reward), and a large executive
office (non-financial status reward).

Exhibit 4 provides a model to explain the concepts of internal and external motivation
in the form of rewards. Here it can be clearly seen that intrinsic rewards, for example,
fit nicely into Maslow’s self-actualisation needs and the strongest motivators of
Herzberg’s model. Non-financial extrinsic rewards meet status needs and so on.

Unit Standard 242819 11

Exhibit 4: Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards


Intrinsic Rewards Extrinsic Rewards

• Opportunities for
personal growth
• Being given more
job responsibility
• Opportunity to
participate in
decisions affecting Financial Non-financial
the organisation
• Job Enrichment

Rewards Rewards for Status Social

for Belonging Rewards Rewards
Performance to the
Organisation • Job Title • Public
• Merit • Executive Recognition
increases • Basic Salary Office • Being asked
• Performance • Medical Aid • Private Parking for advice
Bonuses • Pension Plan • Personal based on
• Shares • Car Scheme assistant recognition of

2.3 McClelland’s nAch theory

Team roles can vary between members. Some team members are ‘goal achievers’,
others ‘team builders’ and others ‘power seekers’. These roles are based on the work
done by David McClelland and his associates who identified three basic needs that
they believed are manifested by individuals in the world of work.

The need for achievement (nAch): a desire to excel in comparison to others and to be
seen as successful.
The need for affiliation (nAff): a desire to have close relationships, feel accepted and
liked by others.
The need for power (nPow): a desire to make other people behave in a way that they
would not without this influence.

Individuals with a high need for achievement tend to be excellent as entrepreneurs

who start up small businesses or as employees, such as sales representatives, who are
allowed to operate independently to attain realistic objectives. They are not, however,
necessarily good managers who tend to have a stronger need for power rather than for
achievement, and who are not particularly motivated by having close interpersonal

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As with Maslow and Herzberg’s theories, the primary value of this theory is in
assisting organisations to tap into varying individual needs and then utilise this
knowledge to apply appropriate motivational mechanisms. For example employees
with strong affiliation needs will respond positively to the opportunity to work as a
member of a team in a structured environment.

On the other hand, those individuals with a strong need for achievement will be
motivated by the opportunity to work autonomously and use their initiative.

The predominant mindset in the world of work over the past thirty to forty years has
been that nAch and nPow are what it’s all about. The employee who is individualistic,
competitive and displays a strong desire to ‘get ahead’ has been valued.

While this is still valid to a point, more and more successful organisations have
seen the value that genuine teamwork has added to achieving organisational goals.
Employees who has a high nAff, adds another dimension to a team. These individuals
are more likely to seek consensus and therefore help to ensure that all team members
support a decision. This, in turn, means that they are more motivated to implement it

Recent research in the USA, has answered the key question of what motivates people
to work.

Use the next activity to establish the correct answer and to reinforce the learning from
these content theories.

Activity 2

Answer the question “What motivates people to work?” by ticking () the appropriate

A. Pay and benefits compared to other people of their own age

B. Pay and benefits – the higher the better

C. Pay and benefits compared to other opportunities

D. Only pay – benefits don’t count

E. Quality of jobs and quality of the organisation I work for

Of course the answer is ‘E’! This reinforces Herzberg’s contention of what are
‘motivators’ and what are ‘hygiene factors’.

Unit Standard 242819 13

3. Workplace indicators of motivation
All these theories explain what organisations have to understand about human needs
that consistently provide the foundation for motivating employees in the world of

As a team leader, you can be sure that, although we are all different as individuals,
team members will generally be motivated by recognition for good performance,
opportunities for personal growth, being empowered to take decisions and taking on
more interesting work.
In the workplace,
• Visual management will provide signs of possible de-motivation such as generally
higher levels of absenteeism, lower efficiency and an increase in quality problems.
• Team review meetings will indicate directly how motivated team members are
by the nature of their questions and responses. Complaints about performance
standards being too difficult to achieve will be indicators that team members have
a low level of expectancy and are thus not highly motivated to achieve standards.
• Formal performance appraisal Interviews will provide a useful opportunity for
team members to focus on their own development needs. Asking for company
support to study for a course in management, is an indicator of motivation to

The best indicator that you will ever have that a particular set of ‘motivators’ is
working will be continuous improvement in performance.

That is why gaining the commitment of team members to achieving plans, targets and
standards are so important; and why the most successful organisations in the world
spend so much time and effort in doing things that they believe will motivate their

There is, however, an important way of establishing whether or not team members are
motivated without having to wait until after a performance review period to find out
that targets have not been achieved due to low levels of motivation. ASK THEM!

This is not as simple as it appears. If, for example, team members feel that it is your
poor communication, as the team leader, that is the problem – then they are highly
unlikely to tell you that! If, on the other hand, it is a company policy on leave that is
the problem, then you will not be able to do much about it other than report it to your

The solution is to conduct an attitude survey. We saw earlier that top companies
constantly measure the satisfaction of their people by means of attitude surveys. By
doing so, they are able to see what is working and what is not and whether or not it
supports the achievement of organisational goals.

If surveys start to indicate that employees feel communication and trust are breaking
down and people are working as individuals instead of as teams, management are able
to take action.

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Employee survey results such as those illustrated in exhibit 5, provide an organisation
with an objective assessment of how motivated employees are.

Exhibit 5: Employee attitude survey results

Survey Category Negative Positive

perceptions perceptions
Product Quality

Financial Compensation


Advancement Opportunities




From this survey it is evident that employees view the organisation in question as
one that pays well, trains its employees and is committed to quality and excellence.
However, they obviously believe that teamwork and communication need to be
improved and are hinting that greater empowerment could facilitate this.

The organisation that is willing to subject itself to this honest feedback from its own
employees and, most importantly to act on it can only grow to become an organisation
that successfully links their motivation to achieving improved performance.

Unit Standard 242819 15

16 Unit Standard 242819
Specific Outcome 2
Demonstrate an understanding of oneself and
team members in the workplace
Assessment criteria
After completing this outcome, you should, in the position of a team leader, be able
to identify:
• your own strengths and areas for development, based on self-reflection and
• the strengths and areas of development for team members, based on observation
and feedback

1. Introduction

“It’s not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves!”

(Sir Edmund Hillary: the first person to climb Mount Everest)

We have seen earlier that motivating employees in an organisation is so important

because the evidence suggests that it directly leads to improved organisational
performance. In other words, inspiring people to work enthusiastically is important to
organisational success. However, in the definition of a Team Leader you saw that team
members are ALSO required to work effectively.

In other words it is no use having ‘motivated’ employees going in the wrong direction!
It is therefore critical to build a motivated and effective team. The first step in building
an effective team is to understand how competent the Team Leader and team members

2. Individual competence
Competence comprises abilities, knowledge, skills as well as the personality, values
and attitudes of individuals. Reviewing each of these components in turn will help us
to understand this important concept.

2.1 Components of competence

2.1.1 Ability

Ability refers to our capacity to:

• acquire knowledge
• apply this knowledge
• perform functional tasks

Unit Standard 242819 17

Although we all have physical as well as mental abilities, the term ‘ability’ in the world
of work tends to be viewed as our cognitive ability to identify, analyse and choose
appropriate alternatives to solve problems. In other words, ability is normally viewed
as our mental or intellectual capability. However defined, ability is a core component
of competence.

2.1.2 Knowledge

Knowledge refers to our personal ‘database’ of information acquired from:

• formal study
• interacting with other people
• media exposure (e.g. newspapers, radio, television)

2.1.3 Skills

Skills refer to how well we apply:

• our natural aptitudes (e.g. mechanical aptitude)
• our natural talents (e.g. artistic talent)
• learned processes (e.g. using a computer)

Although closely aligned to the concept of ability, ‘skill’ is purposely separated to

emphasize a subtle but important difference. Ability does not have to be applied to be
present – whereas a skill normally requires practice to be retained.

2.1.4 Personality

Personality refers to our unique:

• approach to our environment and
• behaviour towards other people
developed as a result of the interaction between
• our heredity - determined by our biological parents and,
• our environment – particularly the influence of our parents, friends and wider
social group during our childhood

2.1.5 Values

Values refer to the:

• guiding beliefs and principles of our lives
• personal rules by which we want to live

Personal values mean that we have taken a decision that a certain way of behaving is
preferable to another.

Once again, the influence of our family, friends and culture during our formative years
plays a powerful role in developing these values.

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2.1.6 Attitudes

Attitudes refer to the:

• opinions we hold about people, issues and situations
• strength of feeling we have in regard to these opinions
• intentions we have to behave in a certain way because of these opinions

Although not as enduring as values, attitudes are similar in that they are normally
developed through the influence of important people in our lives and are manifested
in how we interact with other people.

Let’s look at a real life analogy to illustrate how each of these components contributes
to becoming competent.

Becoming Competent

Assume that you have just turned 18 and want to get your Driver’s Licence.

Firstly you need the inherent ability to drive a car. In other words you have good
vision, a certain level of co-ordination between arms and legs and an understanding
of what is required to drive the car. However, this alone will not make you competent
to drive a car on the road.

You also need to acquire knowledge. For example, you have to understand what will
happen if the brakes are applied to bring the car to a halt while leaving the car in gear.
(Of course you know that the car will stall!)

You also need to know what the meaning of the various road signs are. This, as we
know, will initially be in the form of a Learner’s Licence where you have to prove a
certain level of knowledge before being allowed out onto the road.

Once on the road, you have to, by means of tuition and practice, acquire the skill to
not only drive the car but also to drive it safely in traffic according to the rules of the

However, even if you have the inherent ability, have learnt the required theory and
have demonstrated during a series of driving lessons that you have acquired the
necessary skill, it is still possible to fail the driving test and therefore not obtain a
licence – the symbol of competence.

There are many examples of people who fail a driving test because they panic and then
make errors or forget to perform key actions (such as using the rear view mirror).
The reasons for getting into a panic or making mistakes will likely be a result of
certain personality traits such as a lack of confidence or the inability to use initiative
in a difficult traffic situation.

Unit Standard 242819 19

What if this happens to you and you decide to give up after failing the first time? This
would be an indication of a lack of belief in yourself, and could be viewed as you
having a negative attitude towards getting your licence.

Finally, what if, after trying and failing a number of times, you are offered the
opportunity to ‘buy’ a licence? You feel offended by this offer and refuse in spite
of your desire to gain a licence. We can accept that this is because of your values of
honesty and integrity.

From an organisation’s perspective, if you cannot obtain a licence, you will obviously
not be considered sufficiently competent to be appointed as a driver (nor to any
occupation requiring this competence).

Fortunately there is always the opportunity for you to match other competencies that
you do possess with the needs of an organisation – a case of ‘different strokes for
different folks’!

2.2 Individual differences in competence

All of us are unique!

The next time you hear someone say that someone or something is quite unique,
remind yourself (and the other person if you want to!) that unique means ‘one of a
kind’. It cannot be replicated.
This is pretty powerful because it means that each of us have different personalities,
values, attitudes, abilities, levels of knowledge and skills as well as our physiological
differences in gender, height, weight, build, or complexion.

As important as our physical differences are, organisations are much more interested
in our other characteristics of personality, values, attitudes, abilities, knowledge and
skills that together add up to our potential to make a contribution to their success. In
other words, what is important to the organisation is the individual competence levels
of the team leader and team members. Let’s explore this further.

All human beings have inherent but different potential to learn and grow. The potential
that lies within each one of us, provides us with our unique foundation for personal
growth and advancement in life.

Understanding and using this potential provides us with the opportunity to make
our contribution to any family, social circle, society and organisation of which we are
part. Knowing this simple truth is one thing - to harness our potential to achieve our
dreams is another!

Fortunately it is within the organisational context that opportunities arise to do

just this. At the same time do remember that understanding your potential will not
automatically create a better job for you, or provide you with sudden extra income. It
will, however, prepare you to take on the challenge of adding value to any organisation
of which you are a part of while allowing you to stay focused on your own aspirations.

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Therefore try, as you prepare for the world of work to remember the following vital
‘personal rules’.
• The first personal rule for the world of work is ‘know yourself’.
• This is followed closely by the second personal rule – ‘don’t try to be what you are
• The last personal rule is – ‘focus on building your strengths rather than trying to
eliminate your perceived weaknesses’.
The following great words of wisdom from perhaps the most respected leader in the
world today – former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela of South Africa - reinforce
these rules:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful
beyond measure! It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually
who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure
around you.
We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s
Quoted by Nelson Mandela: 1994 Inaugural Speech (

To return to the organisational perspective for a moment, it is evident that top

management is interested in the competence of individuals to perform! Competence
in the workplace is therefore about individuals demonstrating that they are able to
perform to the required level.

As with the earlier analogy of learning to drive a car, the individual competence
required by an organisation comprises an appropriate combination of the willingness
and motivation to perform required tasks and activities, as well as the ability,
knowledge and skill to do so.

The emphasis on an appropriate combination is particularly relevant.

Some of us will grasp new concepts quicker than others who may, on the other hand
display a greater aptitude for working with their hands. Some of us feel naturally at
ease in the company of other people, while others are happier working on their own.
Some of us feel driven to succeed while others are more laid back in their approach to
The good news is that organisations need different competencies for different
applications. The successful sales representative enjoys interacting with people and
negotiating deals with them, but doesn’t necessarily require an in-depth understanding
of financial ratios.

The computer programmer doesn’t have to be outgoing and communicative to be

successful at his or her job, but certainly requires the ability to apply the logical
reasoning developed through a sound understanding of mathematical concepts.

Unit Standard 242819 21

Differences in individual competence, therefore, provide an organisation with a range
of opportunities to utilise these differences to the mutual advantage of the individual
and organisation. Individuals entering the world of work would do well to remember
this – diversity is strength!
As with individual differences, not all competencies are of equal value to performing a
job effectively. The next activity will help you to understand this.

Activity 3
Assume that you are the Regional Sales Manager for the Chocolot range of
confectionery. Prioritise the competencies you require in your Sales Representatives on
a scale of 1 – 5, where 1 = not important, 2 = sometimes required, 3 = useful,
4 = important and 5 = essential. Try not to rate more than four competencies as
5 (essential). Circle your choices.

Competence Rating
1 2 3 4 5
Selling Skills
Analytical Ability
Time Management
Product Knowledge
Negotiation Skills
Verbal Communication
Mental Alertness

The point of this exercise is to illustrate the principle that the competence of the
team leader as well as those of team members MUST be linked to the competencies
required by the job in question.

In summary, to understand the competencies required by a team leader, as well as

those of team members, you have to understand:
• what competencies are
• which competencies are required for a specific job situation
• which of these competencies you possess
• how you can develop the specific competencies required

22 Unit Standard 242819

3. Understanding your own competence as team
We saw earlier that competence comprises abilities, knowledge, skills as well as
personality, values and attitudes. A good place to begin understanding your own level
of competence is to conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis.

3.1 Identifying your own strengths and development


3.1.1 A personal SWOT analysis

A ‘SWOT Analysis’ is used a lot in the business environment to assist organisations

with their strategic planning. It represents an analysis of:
• the current internal strengths & weaknesses of the organisation
• the external opportunities & threats present in the environment
Therefore, just as in a business, reviewing your current strengths and areas for
development provides you with a realistic foundation for developing the competence
required to be an effective team leader.

This ‘reality check’ helps you to build on your personal strengths and to work on
appropriate development areas.

The previous example of the introverted computer programmer reinforces this point.
There is very little value in trying to develop an outgoing, social personality because
it is valued in sales people. A much better investment will be to develop logical
reasoning skills to add more value in the programmer’s domain of expertise.

The next activity will help you to gain a better understanding of this by identifying
your own strengths and development areas.

Unit Standard 242819 23

Activity 4
Add your list of personal strengths and development needs to the examples provided.
If you are serious about this exercise, ask two or three of your close friends or family
members to also write down how they view your strengths and development needs.
Then ask them to place their responses in a sealed envelope and give it back to you.
Then compare your list to theirs.
This is a powerful exercise that can help you plan your own future in a more realistic

My Personal Strengths
Examples Add your own:

• good at studying 1.

• excellent computer skills 2.

• outgoing personality
• creative energy
• speak three languages
• leadership skills developed at 7.


My Development Needs
Examples Add your own:

• poor at planning ahead 1.

• poor time management 2.

• poor with financial data
• no clear career goals
• tendency to make decisions
too quickly


24 Unit Standard 242819

How useful was this exercise to you? Although this is an exercise in self-reflection (i.e.
rating yourself), it has been widely used in business with great success.

Of course, if you went to the trouble to get feedback from friends or family members,
this will add value to this important learning, which will clarify what strengths you
can build on or what development areas you can successfully work on.

3.1.2 Understanding ‘locus of control’

Earlier we also saw that personality is part of what makes up individual competence.
The fact that many successful organisations require job applicants to undergo
psychological assessments before employing them is an indicator of its importance.

However, personality is part of our core being – not a skill that we can learn or that is
likely to change with a new level of knowledge.
The good news is that, while we cannot change our inherent personality, there is
one particular area of behaviour that can be developed in a positive way. This is the
concept of locus of control.

A process of feedback and self-reflection is needed (that we shall cover later), but
the first step is to understand this very important concept in order to assist an
organisation to achieve sustainable success.

Many organisations find themselves with employees at all levels who appear to have
everything that it takes to be successful, yet never seem to get ahead. You can ask the
following question of yourself as well as members of a workplace team.

“What is it that differentiates successful from average employees”? Well sometimes it

is their skill, knowledge and intellectual ability, but sometimes it can be put down to a
lack of ‘drive’ – an apparent inability to display initiative and take responsibility.

This, according to a psychologist by the name of Julian Rotter, is a manifestation of

what he termed a ‘locus of control’ which is either:
• an external locus of control where individuals tend to believe that their level of
performance is beyond their control and is due, rather, to ‘external’ factors such as
management decisions, bad luck and environmental factors, OR,
• an internal locus of control that reflects the viewpoint of individuals who
attribute outcomes to their own actions, take full responsibility for these actions
(including poor performance) and believe that they are ‘in charge of their own

Which type of employees do you think an organisation, striving to be successful would

prefer? Those with an internal locus of control of course! Performing the next self
activity should reinforce your understanding of Locus of Control.

Unit Standard 242819 25

Activity 5
Circle either ‘a’ or ‘b’ for each of the following statements according to how you see
yourself. There are no wrong or right answers, but to gain value from this exercise,
try to be honest as possible.

1. a. Many of the unhappy things in people’s lives are due to bad luck
b. The misfortunes that people have result from their own mistakes

2. a. A person’s value often goes unnoticed no matter how hard he or she tries
b. In the long run, people get the respect that they deserve

3. a. You cannot be come an effective leader if you don’t get the right breaks in life
b. If you are competent but don’t become a leader, it’s because you didn’t take
advantage of your opportunities

4. a. I believe that ‘what will happen – will just happen’

b. Trusting ‘fate’ has never turned out as well for me as making firm decisions
and then taking action based on these decisions

5. a. In the long run, the bad things that happen to us are balanced by the good ones
b. Most misfortune is due to a lack of competence, ignorance or just pure laziness

To score this questionnaire, award yourself 1 point for all the a’s circled, and 3 points
for all the b’s circled. If you have a score of 5 – 7, you are likely to have an external
locus of control and if you score between 13 – 15, you are likely to have a strong
internal locus of control. A score from 8 – 12 indicates a balance between an internal
and external locus of control.

NB: Remember, this is NOT a psychological ‘test’ – merely an exercise to help you
understand this concept better!

3.2 Utilising performance appraisal and feedback

You should note that immediate reflection and feedback on performance ensures:
• short-term action plans for improving performance are developed
• motivation is maintained
You should also remember that, to be really effective, reflection and feedback should
follow a formal process. Making an appointment with your lecturer to review your
academic results, is much more effective than asking questions after lectures!

The same principle applies in the workplace. A formal performance appraisal will
focus the attention of both parties and ensure that the process is serious and is more
likely to lead to practical action. If you are performing poorly, then obtaining feedback
on what the reasons are is the first step in improving your performance. If it is due to a
lack of competence, the solution could be training and development.
An example could be the inability to lead team meetings and thus ineffectively

26 Unit Standard 242819

communicate production requirements to team members. This need can become a
personal development objective for you.

If it is that your competency profile is not suitable for the job in question, then it may
be an opportunity to develop plans for a change in career direction. If, on the other
hand, you are performing well, positive feedback will reinforce your good performance
as you become motivated by this recognition.

Whatever, the action, formal performance appraisal and feedback is one of the
most powerful tools available in the world of work to help you develop a better
understanding of yourself and your level of competence. It is one of the best
motivators we know!

4. Understanding the competence levels of team

We saw earlier that all of us are unique. Each of us has different personalities, values,
attitudes, abilities, levels of knowledge and skills.
In other words, team members:
• are not all motivated by the same things
• do not all possess the same abilities, knowledge and skills
• have different personalities, values and attitudes

If you place yourself in the position of a Team Leader who has to keep a team of
diverse people motivated and focused, you need to have as much knowledge of
individual team members as possible in order to build an effective team. The simplest
and most accessible way of gaining this knowledge is to utilise the practical workplace
tools already in place.

4.1 Utilising practical workplace tools

4.1.1 Visual management

Although the focus of visual management is primarily on the team, this tool also
covers important individual issues such as skills.

For example, the team leader is able to observe the progress on individual skills
development and take the required action, whether it is counselling, coaching or
sending the team member in question for training. One of the certainties is that team
members are likely to be motivated to perform better by the attention given.

Unit Standard 242819 27

4.1.2 Team review meetings

Team review meetings can be extremely effective in providing a foundation for action.
Exhibit 6 illustrates how a team leader can utilise this tool to better understand team
member competence and then take appropriate action.
Because the focus of the meeting is one of reviewing past performance, exploring what
can be done to rectify problems and devise plans and actions to make improvements,
it highlights individual competence.

If, for example, an operator is consistently making more errors than other team
members performing the same function, it will come out in the meeting.

Exhibit 6: Utilising team meetings to identify competence

Utilising the Team Meeting Agenda

The Meeting Agenda covers: The Team Leader is able to see from
• past performance performance data where the operator is
• future objectives not achieving standard and then decide
• who is responsible for action together on action to be taken e.g.
• due dates training followed by coaching.

Developing Action Plans

Action Plans specify: The Team Leader is able to see from
• who is responsible for what actions performance data where the operator is
• ‘by when’ dates not achieving standard and then decide
together on action to be taken e.g.
training followed by coaching.

4.1.3 Performance appraisal

As with the team leader, receiving formal performance appraisal feedback on how they
have contributed as individuals to the overall team performance, will lead to improved
performance. Whether it is poor performance that needs to be rectified or excellent
performance that should be reinforced, the appraisal and feedback loop is one of the
best workplace tools available for identifying, and then acting on the development
needs as well as the strengths of team members.

Remember that this is normally an individual process, where each member’s

contribution is addressed separately.

28 Unit Standard 242819

4.2 Workplace facilitation

4.2.1 A personal SWOT analysis

A Personal ‘SWOT Analysis’ is equally applicable to team members as it is to the

Team Leader and will also clarify what strengths team members can build on or what
development areas they can work on.

However, this is not something that should just be left to each individual to complete.
Firstly, not all team members may have the understanding or skills to do this
important exercise properly. Secondly, it needs to be placed in the context of the work
situation. Therefore it is a process that should be facilitated by a competent facilitator
(e.g. by someone from the Training Department of an organisation or by an external

Most importantly, it is something that should be followed up by a team exercise called

‘Stop – start – continue’.

4.2.2 Stop – start - continue

The personal ‘SWOT analysis’ provides a foundation for individual learning but, if left
there, adds little value to the team.

Stop – start - continue is a powerful feedback mechanism that, if properly facilitated,

will ensure personal growth and the building of a cohesive team. The following activity
will help you understand this concept. To be of value, however, it must be facilitated
either by your lecturer on this course or by a trained facilitator.

Activity 6
Step 1: Working on your OWN, review your ‘SWOT’ Analysis and then write down
selected strengths and development areas in the spaces provided.
Step 2: Alongside each of these write in the actions you need to undertake in order to
help you with the journey of personal and team growth.
Step 3: In a Team of NO MORE THAN SIX PEOPLE, share your strength or
development need and intended actions. Please note that it is very important that you
use the full sentence in describing what you are going to stop, start or continue.
Step 4: Complete your sharing and then ask other team members for feedback and
contract with them for support to achieve your objectives.

NB: In this activity you may share as much OR as little as you wish. You are NOT
obliged to share personal information that you don’t want to – it is your right not to do
so. However, experience has shown this to be a very meaningful and valuable exercise.

Unit Standard 242819 29

My Strengths: I need to continue

My Development Areas: I need to stop

I need to start

Examples of ‘Stop – start – continue are:
• “I need to continue showing concern for my friends and colleagues and being a
good listener”.
• “I need to stop procrastinating before taking important but difficult decisions”.
• “I need to start asking for help when I can’t solve a problem, instead of battling on
my own because I’m too proud to admit I need help”.

5 Utilising this understanding of competence

Specific Outcome 4 of this unit standard will focus on implementing a plan of
action to strengthen a team. Such a plan can only be successful if there is a solid
understanding of the competence levels of both the team leader and team members.

Once this understanding is in place, it can be utilised to identify the relevant needs
• skills training - where performance is below standard
• formal education - to equip people with relevant knowledge
• on-the-job development - where promotion opportunities exist

30 Unit Standard 242819

Specific Outcome 3
Apply theories of motivation and group
dynamics in the workplace

Assessment criteria
After completing this outcome, you should be able to apply:
• relevant theories of motivation, providing practical examples
• the elements of group dynamics, according to theory and practice

1. Introduction
We have already covered a number of theories that explain why motivation is so
important to an organisation. Maslow’s hierarchy, Herzberg’s two factor theory and
McClelland’s nAch – nAff theory have clarified what ‘needs’ will trigger the motivation
to perform.
However, the theory that has best explained the application of motivation in practice
has been Vroom’s expectancy theory, which clarifies how the realities of the workplace
impact on needs.

2. Relevant theories of motivation

2.1 Porter and Lawler’s expectancy model

Two organisational behaviour researchers, Lyman Porter and Ed Lawler III, extended
the boundaries of Vroom’s model. The best way to explain this expectancy theory is to
review exhibit 7.

Exhibit 7: Porter and Lawler’s expectancy model

(A) Satisfaction

Value of the reward
(Valence) Abilities
and Traits
Intrinsic rewards
(C) (F)
Effort Performance
Extrinsic rewards
Perception that (E)
effort will lead to the Role
probability of reward (I)
Perceptions Perceived
& Equity

Unit Standard 242819 31

From the model it is clear that:
• (A) represents the value to the individual of the potential reward for performance
(‘valence’ in Vroom’s theory),
• (B) represents the expectancy and instrumentality components of Vroom’s theory,
and that,
• (C) represents the amount of effort that the individual is prepared to put in as a
result of this combination.

However, Porter and Lawler explained that, even if the motivational force is high and
thus the individual is prepared to put in a lot of effort, this doesn’t automatically lead
to the desired result from an organisation’s perspective. Effective performance is ALSO
dependent on the individual’s abilities and personality traits (i.e. his or her level of
competence) indicated by capsule (D).

They also explained that, even if individual employees are willing and able, they might
not put everything into a particular task if it is not perceived to be their role in the
organisation (capsule E). For example, team members may not take certain decisions
that could enhance performance because they perceive that they don’t have the
authority to do so.

(F) is, of course, the desired performance outcome.

(G) and (H) indicate that the initial value that led to the individual being motivated to
perform is rewarded by both intrinsic factors (self-fulfilment, recognition) and extrinsic
factors (performance bonus, potential promotion) – linking to Herzberg’s theory.

(I) indicates that, even if the rewards are valued, individuals are not likely to remain
motivated if they perceive that there is unfairness in the reward for performance.

Take the example of a performance bonus where the team member concerned believes
that he or she has contributed the most to achieving the performance objective. If the
other team members receive exactly the same bonus, it might create a perception of
inequity and reduce the individual’s level of motivation.

Finally, capsule (J) indicates that all these factors have contributed to fulfilling a need.
The individual is satisfied.

An interesting point here is that if this process leads to a high level of satisfaction, then
it is likely to increase the original levels of valence and instrumentality.

In other words, fulfilled needs reinforce and strengthen motivational force!

32 Unit Standard 242819

2.2 Adam’s equity theory

Capsule (I) in Porter and Lawler’s model leads directly to another relevant process
theory. A psychologist by the name of J. Stacey Adams explored the fact that people at
work do not operate in a vacuum.

The whole theme of this course is that individual employees function within the context
of a team, within a department, within an organisation. This context provides constant
opportunities for individuals to compare their own performance with that of others.
Within this context, should any team member believe that his or her level of effort
and productivity is superior to that of other team members, it will clearly lead to an
expectation of superior rewards!

If, for example, the employee in question is awarded precisely the same salary increase
as the other team members, then this individual is likely to perceive that there is a
lack of equity. In other words, the individual believes that the ratio of the outcome
(the salary increase) to the input (his/her effort and productivity) in relation to that
received by the other employees should be greater in his or her case.

Exhibit 8 illustrates this equity model.

Exhibit 8: Adams’ equity model of motivation

Perception of Own Outcomes Perception of Others’ Outcomes
Perception of Own Inputs Perception of Others’ Inputs

2.3 Other theory constructs

2.3.1 Goal setting

Setting goals/objectives is a process that is an integral part of virtually every theory on

Most people are motivated to perform their jobs well when they have clearly-defined
and specific goals or objectives to aim for.
Edwin Locke built up a goal-setting theory that suggests just this – people at work will
perform better if they have a definite goal to strive for.

Learner Tip

In the world of work some individuals and organisations tend to use the word ‘goal’
when referring to future measurable results that they wish to achieve. Others prefer
the term ‘objective’. Keep reminding yourself that these are essentially the same thing
and may be used interchangeably.

For the sake of clarity it is sometimes useful to use the term ‘goal’ when focusing on
the long-term and ‘objective’ when focusing on the short-term.

Unit Standard 242819 33

Key points from goal-setting theory that reinforce what we have covered so far are:
• Specific goals lead to higher performance than general goals.
• Performance generally increases when goals ‘stretch’ the individual concerned, i.e.
they are not too easily attainable.
• Improved performance will only occur if the individual concerned accepts the
goals. This normally requires participation in setting them.
• Goals work best when used to measure and evaluate performance.
• Goals should have a direct link to feedback and rewards.
In other words, in order to motivate employees towards improving their
performance, goals/objectives should conform to the “SMART” principles which
• S pecific
• M easurable
• A greed
• R ealistic
• T ime-related

2.3.2 Reinforcement

A very well known behaviourist by the name of B.F. Skinner, focused on what is
termed ‘operant conditioning’ to explain behaviour in the world of work. This, in
essence, means that learning takes place as a result of behaviour.

If, for example, a team member behaves in a certain way (e.g. submitting accurate
reports on time) and is rewarded for this behaviour (e.g. a higher performance
evaluation), then it is likely that this behaviour will be repeated - the behaviour is

The implication for team leaders and an organisation wanting to motivate their
employees is to positively reinforce desired behaviour.
Reinforcement is not, however, restricted to a ‘positive’ approach. The theory indicates
that we can also be motivated by negative reinforcement. This occurs when an
undesirable situation is removed in response to desired behaviour on the part of the

An example would be a team member having a written warning for late-coming and
then not coming late for the next three months. The reinforcement here would be
to remove the disciplinary action from the employee’s personal record. The desired
behaviour is good time keeping – the reinforcement is the removal of the negative

Finally there are the concepts of extinction and punishment. These mechanisms are
used when undesirable behaviour persists. The first requires the removal of reward
(e.g. not responding to jokes in bad taste will lead to the joke teller no longer having a
receptive audience).

34 Unit Standard 242819

The latter is a more direct response – for example, taking away keys to the office as a
result of it being left in a mess.

Reinforcement goes hand-in-hand with goal-setting. One of the key principles of

setting goals or objectives is to have a direct link to feedback and rewards, which are, in
effect, reinforcement mechanisms.

3. Applying relevant theories in the workplace

Motivational theory provides a valuable foundation for taking action in an
organisation to motivate people to work harder and smarter to help shape the success
of that organisation.

There are a number of strategies that are implemented with the specific goal in mind
of achieving just this. We shall focus on two:
• Making the job more meaningful by means of job redesign and
• Incorporating theoretical concepts into performance management

3.1 Job redesign

Motivation theory will be very difficult to apply in the world of work if individual jobs
are poorly designed or are so rigidly defined that they prevent individual employees
from using their initiative to complete tasks in a more effective way. Therefore the
focus today is often on how to redesign jobs in order to motivate employees.

The efficacy of this approach is based on the principle that jobs should increasingly be
designed to improve employee satisfaction and thus motivate them to work smarter!

Hackman and Oldham developed a job characteristics model (explained in exhibit 9)

explaining the key job design characteristics required to sustain employee satisfaction
with a particular job.

Unit Standard 242819 35

Exhibit 9: Job characteristics that motivate employees

Characteristic Description Leading to:

Skill Variety The extent to which a particular job requires
different competence

Task Identity Clarity where the specific tasks making up a

particular job start and where they finish Team members
Task The significance role that the job plays in
Significance achieving organisational objectives

Autonomy The level of discretion and independence that Team members

an individual employee is given to decide how feeling
to perform a particular job responsible for
job outputs
Feedback The extent to which results are directly linked The extent to
to the individual’s job performance and which team
communicated clearly to that individual members are
given knowledge
of job outputs
(from Hackman & Oldham 1980)

In reaction to these characteristics, organisations have attempted to redesign jobs in

order to stimulate employee motivation and so ensure more effective implementation
of organisational strategies. Exhibit 10 illustrates how these job redesign efforts can
potentially lead to an increase in skills, variety, task significance etc. and subsequently
motivate employees to improve their job performance.

These approaches reinforce the principle that effective motivation of employees needs
well-designed jobs.

36 Unit Standard 242819

Exhibit 10: Job redesign approaches to motivate employees

Job Redesign Description Leading to:

Job Rotation Rotating team members The opportunity to develop skills
(Horizontal from one job to another variety – particularly the different
redesign) without altering the skills required by other jobs
intrinsic job content
Job Expanding the number The opportunity to develop skills
Enlargement of tasks making up a variety – but within the parameters of
(Horizontal particular job current task significance
Job Increasing job depth by The opportunity to gain autonomy
Enrichment giving team members – to perform work at the next level i.e.
(Vertical more discretion, taking on responsibilities of the Team
redesign) autonomy and control Leader
over their job

3.2 Performance management

It is important to note that if an organisation wants to achieve the goal of becoming

and remaining competitive there needs to be a performance management system in
place to
• integrate employee performance with organisational performance
• develop the competence of employees to achieve this performance
• reward employees for their contributions to organisational success

It remains one of the single most powerful tools available to an organisation wishing
to gain strong employee commitment.

The more that high performing employees feel they are fairly rewarded for their
performance the more likely they are to remain content within the organisation.
Equally, a good system will ensure that non-performers are not rewarded (and are thus
more likely to move out!)

It also addresses the principles of equity theory in that individuals are more likely to
accept why they are being rewarded within a system that insists on formal feedback
and rewards measurable performance.

ALL employees – no matter what level of seniority want to know how they are
performing in relation to standards set and relative to other employees. It addresses
the need we all have for self-esteem.

Unit Standard 242819 37

4. Applying the elements of group dynamics
4.1 The challenges of getting a team to work

Although we have seen earlier in this unit standard that diversity is a ‘strength’ because
the team leader has the opportunity to utilise differences in personality, values,
attitudes, abilities, levels of knowledge and skills; this also creates challenges.

You should note that in the early stages of team development, each member is likely to
have concerns, fears and aspirations (forming). Also, that conflict is likely to arise as
individual differences are manifested in behaviour (storming).

This is where leadership qualities are needed – to manage the behavioural dynamics
within the team that influence team effectiveness. This means building on individual
diversity instead of expecting that everyone agrees with each other and accepting
that conflict is natural without allowing disruptive, ‘power-seeking’ individuals to
negatively influence the team.

One of the most important tasks that you as the team leader must undertake is to
gain a good understanding of the individuals who make up your team. The more you
understand – the more you can adapt your approach to leading these individuals in a
team situation.

4.2 Understanding team values

Values are perhaps the most difficult component of individual difference to classify,
in that they are not unique abilities or skills or personality traits. In fact, many of us
‘share’ the same or similar values.

Yet values are a powerful factor influencing the way individuals behave in the world
of work. They often provide the critical foundation that individuals use to decide
whether or not they are willing to ‘go the extra mile’ in helping their team and their
organisation to achieve goals.

If an individual does not believe in the same values as the organisation, they are less
likely to apply their abilities, knowledge and skill to the same extent – leading to a
lower level of performance.

However many values team members may have, some are consistently more important
than others - these are core values. It is these beliefs that most individuals will not
give up under any circumstances. Let’s make sure that you clearly understand this very
important concept by performing the next activity.

38 Unit Standard 242819

Activity 7
Step 1: using the list of possible values to be found on the next page, select 20 values
that are the most important to you. List these 20 values on the table to be found on the
page that follows.
Step 2: delete 10 values that you would give up if you were forced to make a choice.
Step 3: review this list of 10 values and delete 5 more that you would give up if you
were forced to.
Step 4: you are now left with your 5 most important values.
Rank these in order of importance i.e. #1 is the most important and #5 is the least
Step 5: review your list of Core Values to ensure that your priority order is correct by
applying the following simple ‘test’.
If I had to choose between two ‘conflicting’ values e.g. honesty or loyalty or two
‘complementary’ values e.g. status or recognition, which of the two would I give up?
Step 6: list your final Core Values in priority order in the space provided below and
write down what each means to you e.g. ‘dignity’ might mean showing respect for the
worth of others and expecting the same in return.

My possible values
Values Choice Values Choice
Achievement Intelligence
Autonomy Knowledge
Ambition Loyalty
Challenge Love
Democracy Meaningful work
Dignity Personal growth
Ethics Personal wealth
Empowerment Physical challenge
Equality Power
Excellence Privacy
Family Recognition
Freedom Religion
Friendship Reputation
Health Service to others
Honesty Security
Independence Status
Inner harmony Trust
Integrity Wisdom

Unit Standard 242819 39

My 20 most important values:
Value Priority Value Priority

1. 11.

2. 12.

3. 13.

4. 14.

5. 15.

6. 16.

7. 17.

8. 18.

9. 19.

10. 20.

These are the rules that I live by - the 'things' that I shall not violate either to achieve
short-term success or when I am confronted with difficult decisions. These are the
‘rules’ that I value now and will live by even when circumstances become difficult.

My Core Personal Values

Core Values






40 Unit Standard 242819

Deciding on your core values is quite a difficult exercise isn’t it? One of the reasons is
that they are VERY IMPORTANT to you! If you feel strongly about your values, then
you can reasonably expect each team member to feel equally strongly about their own

Differences in values as with differences in competence add to the diversity of

individuals in an organisation. Once again, this can be used as an opportunity rather
than viewed as a barrier to cooperation.

One of the ways to do this is to take the time and effort to establish SHARED VALUES
in your team. Because it is such a personal issue, it is also a process that should be
facilitated by a competent facilitator, i.e. the Training Department or an external

4.3 Understanding team diversity

Let us be clear about values. These are NOT skills that we can learn and change easily
– if at all! They are, at the same time, the foundation for individual diversity in the
world of work.

If we also take into account the impact of belonging to specific communities,

which have a different set of values, cultural standards and religious beliefs, then
understanding diversity has got to be an important step in managing group dynamics.
This doesn’t mean that all employees in an organisation should be sent on ‘diversity
training workshops’ to 'understand one another better', but it does mean that a team
leader should consider the impact of diversity on decisions.

Often managers decide to implement an idea that will help the organisation achieve its
objectives but are then dismayed that employee reaction is not positive. This may be
due to individual differences or it may be due to group issues that are not taken into

Let’s take the example of Youth Day, June 16th falling on a Wednesday.
A production manager may decide that it is totally unproductive to run the factory for
2 days of a 5 day shift, stop production for 1 day and then start up again for the last 2
days of the week. The manager is probably correct.

A communication is then sent out to employees stating that the factory will run on the
16th, that everyone will be paid double time in accordance with legislation and that a
long weekend will be given at an appropriate time. The reaction of a large part of the
workforce is negative and the manager cannot understand why until someone explains
the historical significance of June 16 to many South Africans.

Understanding issues such as these makes it so much easier for team leaders to ensure
successful teamwork.

Unit Standard 242819 41

The good news is that one of the reasons why South African managers are so
successful in many other countries is precisely because they have learnt to manage
issues of diversity in South Africa!

Learner Tip

In the workplace it will be very useful to remember the reality that:

• misunderstandings are likely to occur in a multi-cultural situation

• communication styles need to be adapted when a communication problem


• even within a small team there will be differences

• ethnically-based assumptions, stereotyping and inappropriate statements will

occur and need to be managed

4.4 Dealing with resistance in the team

Because people bring their values, attitudes and perceptions to the workplace, there
may be resistance in the team to the introduction of new targets, new SOPs or just
new ideas. This may have nothing to do with the organisation but relate to personal

Negative reaction may surface in many forms. In the workplace it is often manifested
in increased absenteeism and grievances, lack of motivation, sabotage of processes and
job resignations. If we ‘scratch the surface’ we will probably find that some of the likely
reasons are:
• uncertainty - leading to fear that could be real or imaginary. In many instances,
the office 'grapevine' is overloaded with rumours that increase employee feelings
of uncertainty and insecurity.
For example, the introduction of new technology may cause some individuals
to feel that their expertise is being threatened. This will create fear and result in
resistance to the new technology.
• fear that jobs will be lost or changed, resulting in possible retrenchment and loss
of income (for example, improved technology has often caused people to become
• disruption to relationships - where informal relationships which develop in the
team can be disrupted or destroyed by changes in technology, products, markets
and people.
• perceived loss of power – where people who are comfortable with their position of
power may resent new ideas and often pretend to support them, but actually work
hard to ensure they don’t happen.
• inertia – where group members know that they need to change but are too
comfortable with the current status.

42 Unit Standard 242819

Some of the ways that the team leader can change resistance into acceptance and
eventually, commitment to new ideas are by:

• building trust - if team members trust the team leader, they are less likely to be
threatened by any proposed changes.
• communicating consistently and openly to reduce incorrect perceptions and
ambiguity. Even bad news is accepted more readily when it is presented as a clear
message giving the facts.
• involving team members in the decision. Employees will not resist decisions that
they ‘own’.
• explaining the benefits of the idea. Team members are far more likely to accept
a new idea if they can see how they will benefit from it – for example, increased
autonomy in the job.

4.5 Utilising team dynamics to build a high performance team


Understanding the dynamics of values, diversity and issues such as resistance to
change provide an essential foundation for building a high performance team culture.
A ‘culture’ in an organisation is not something tangible - that we can ‘touch’ or ‘see’, but
rather a set of values and beliefs that are shared throughout the organisation to such an
extent that they influence individual employees to behave in a certain way.

Exhibit 11 illustrates the key elements of an organisational ‘culture’ as well as the

behaviour that manifests a high performance culture.

Exhibit 11: Key elements of an organisational culture

An Organisational Culture must: A ‘High Performance’ Culture

• endure over time • a shared vision that everyone
• be shared by a significant number of understands and supports
employees • alignment – where employees feel
• provide informal rules of behaviour committed to organisational goals
• provide a unique identity for the • a strong customer orientation -
organisation where everyone knows that they
• be manifested by symbols such as a exist to serve its customers
common language, slogans and dress • an obsession with quality – with
code everyone working towards product
• not be easy to change and service quality
• innovation – where all employees
constantly come up with new ideas
to improve team productivity
• respect for individuals – where all
employees feel empowered to make a

Unit Standard 242819 43

Make sure you clearly understand these very important concepts by performing the
next activity.

Activity 8
Think of the high school you attended or a club that you belong to.
What are practical examples of symbols, slogans, and common words or phrases used
that provide an ‘identity’ for the school or club?

Organisations use these symbols, slogans and common words in their formal
documentation such as advertisements, policy manuals, induction programmes and
training manuals.

However, the underlying beliefs and values behind these symbols, slogans and phrases
that are open to employees of the organisation are like the tip of an ice berg.

Below the water there are normally a host of other values and dynamics which
sometimes have the most influence. These 'unwritten rules' can either prevent an
organisation from achieving its objectives or can alternatively be the real building-
block of a high performance culture. Exhibit 12 illustrates this crucial concept.

Exhibit 12: The ‘iceberg’ of business culture

beliefs and
rules etc
-------------------------------------------------------------------- water level

The hidden rules and

agendas. The covert
politics which tend to really
influence what goes on in
the organisation

44 Unit Standard 242819

A culture can be strong or weak. If it is weak, it unlikely to make any difference to how
a business performs. On the other hand a strong culture will have a large influence on
how the business performs.

A strong, healthy culture that is supportive of organisational objectives greatly assists

the organisation to achieve these objectives.

A low performance, unhealthy culture that is characterised by internal ‘politics’,

competition and unwillingness to work together, will hinder objective achievement.

Any team in any organisation will fail unless it is supported by a strong, healthy

Unit Standard 242819 45

46 Unit Standard 242819
Specific Outcome 4
Implement a plan of action to strengthen a
Assessment criteria
After completing this outcome, you should be able to implement:
• an action plan by obtaining team commitment
• the effective execution of the action plan
• monitor and amend the action plan as required

1. Obtaining team commitment to action plans

If we provide a team with ‘SMART’ objectives, realistic standards and a performance
plan with clearly-defined targets, then we have a strong foundation for gaining
the commitment of team members. Team members are also much more likely to
enthusiastically support and implement decisions that they have participated in

You should also remember that empowerment mechanisms such as properly

implemented green area and visual management systems are likely to be excellent
tools in obtaining commitment from team members.

Setting objectives, empowering teams to take decisions and providing them with
immediate feedback do not, on their own, lead to implementation. You saw that
translating excellent plans and high levels of commitment into action required a
formal team review meeting in which the most important output is always the action
plan that specifies who is responsible for what actions and by when.

A formal action plan is a highly effective way of gaining commitment to achieving

team objectives but then needs to be successfully executed, monitored and amended as
circumstances change in order for these objectives to be attained.

2. Executing, monitoring & amending action plans
It is important to note the value of utilising the principles of controlling in
implementing, monitoring and evaluating performance against team objectives and
organisational standards by:
• measuring and monitoring performance against standards,
• identifying variances from standard and
• taking corrective action

Unit Standard 242819 47

Action plans are the ideal business tool for applying these principles in the world of
work. The activities that follows should provide you with an understanding of how to
execute, monitor and, where necessary, amend an action plan; and where:
• the focus of Activity 8 is executing the initial plan
• the focus of Activity 9 is utilising the plan to monitor progress
• the focus of Activity 10 is amending the plan

Activity 8

Step 1: Review the Action Plan found below.

Step 2: Enter what you think are realistic due dates for each action.

Skills Training Action Plan
Action required Due Dates (Week Nos)
by 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1. Conduct training needs analysis TO

2. Identify top training priorities LM/
3. Determine required training outcomes LM/
4. Agree on training dates with managers LM/
5. Book training venues and facilitators TO
6. Advise nominated employees of TO
training dates
7. Conduct training courses and assess FA
8. Evaluate value of training course TR/
9. Apply new skills in the workplace TR
10. Rate job performance and compare LM/
before & after training TM

Key: TM = Training Manager
TO = Training Officer
TR = Trainees
FA = Facilitators
LM = Line Managers
 = Planned Dates

How did you find this activity? In any action plan there is always a sequence of actions
to be taken by relevant people. If you look forward to Activity 9, you will see that by
week 7 not all the deadlines have been met. As part of the monitoring process, you should
complete step 2 of the activity.

48 Unit Standard 242819

Activity 9

Step 1: Review the achievement of due dates.

Step 2: Write in the space below what action you would take as the Training Manager
in this situation.

Skills Training Action Plan Review: Week 7

Action required Action Due Dates (Week Nos)
by 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1. Conduct training needs TO X

2. Identify top training priorities LM/ X
3. Determine required training outcomes LM/ X
4. Agree on training dates with managers LM/ X
5. Book training venues and facilitators TO
6. Advise nominated employees of TO X
training dates
7. Conduct training courses and assess FA
8. Evaluate value of training course TR/TO
9. Apply new skills in the workplace TR
10. Rate job performance and compare LM/
before & after training TM

Key: TM = Training Manager
TO = Training Officer
TR = Trainees
FA = Facilitators
LM = Line Managers
 = Planned Dates
X = Planned Dates Achieved

Monitoring is more than just measuring actual progress and comparing it to required
due dates. It encompasses regular reviews using the original action plan as the

Unit Standard 242819 49

In this case, monitoring progress highlights the impact of not booking the training
venues and the effect it has on delaying the delivery of training. It is already
week 7 and training should have started in week 5! This, in turn, will delay the
implementation of all subsequent steps.

Irrespective of the reasons for the problem, it is no good just hoping for the best. It
is also not a good idea to merely adjust the timing schedule. The venues need to be
rebooked and may not be available for a while.
In this case the schedule requires amendment.

Activity 10

Update the plan based on what you saw in Activity 9.

Amended Skills Training Action Plan
Action required Action Due Dates (Week Nos)
by 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1. Conduct training needs TO

2. Identify top training priorities LM/
3. Determine required training outcomes LM/
4. Agree on training dates with managers LM/
5. Book training venues and facilitators TO
6. Advise nominated employees of training TO
7. Conduct training courses and assess FA
8. Evaluate value of training course TR/TO
9. Apply new skills in the workplace TR
10. Rate job performance and compare before LM/
& after training TM

Key: TM = Training Manager TO = Training Officer
TR = Trainees FA = Facilitators
LM = Line Managers X = Planned Dates
Was this activity useful to you? Did you remember to re-enter planned dates already
achieved? An action plan that is not constantly monitored and amended to reflect the
realities of the situation remains a ‘paper exercise’ – a nice idea that doesn’t lead to the
required outcomes.

50 Unit Standard 242819

Specific Outcome 5
Provide feedback and recognise achievements
Assessment criteria
After completing this outcome, you should be able to provide:
• feedback to team members based on observation
• recognition to team members who have contributed to the team

1. Observing team dynamics

here is a difference between the content of the decisions and actions we take in the
world of work (the ‘what’) and the process we use to take decisions and implement
them (the ‘how’).

You also saw that the strongest influence on the effectiveness of the process is the
behavioural dynamics within the team. By utilising the positive dynamics of goal-
achievement roles (e.g. information seekers, energisers) and team-building roles (e.g.
harmonisers, expediters), the process becomes more effective.

How do you, as a team leader identify these roles in the first place? The answer is by
observing people at work.
One of the best opportunities to do this is, is during the team review meetings.

The key is to observe which team members are adding value by:
• providing new ideas on how to move ahead
• finding information needed to solve the problem
• helping resolve conflict
• stopping dominant individuals from taking over discussions
and which team members are disrupting the process by:
• stopping new ideas with continual negative reactions
• focusing more on their contribution than on achieving team goals

Of course, as the team leader, it is your responsibility to lead the meeting and you
have to focus your attention on the meeting agenda and the information being
communicated. However, you will find that one of the most powerful tools to assist
you with observation in the world of work is the simple task of MAKING NOTES!

This is what many human resource practitioners refer to as ‘recording critical incidents’
and consists simply of making notes about specific comments and actions as you
observe them happening.

You don’t have to record every word or action but you should write down sufficient
information that you need for the feedback you have to give to individual team
members as well as to the team as a whole.

The reason that these are called ‘critical incidents’, is that they are specific incidents
that provide critical information to the team leader when providing feedback.

Unit Standard 242819 51

If you tell a team member that they “have a bad attitude towards customers”, what
does this actually mean? What do you do if they ask for specific examples of this ‘bad

On the other hand, if you are able to say;

“Jim, do you remember last Monday when that customer asked you for help and you
replied that you were ‘busy with another customer’? Well, I’m afraid that this is an
example of your general attitude towards customers that I have observed lately.”

Here you have a clear example of the point that you want to make during a feedback

To get back to the interaction of individuals working in a team, the meeting is an
obvious opportunity to observe behaviour dynamics. There are, however, other ways
of ‘observing’ behaviour. The next activity will be of help to you in understanding
group dynamics that is not something you see taking place in front of you.

Activity 11

Step 1: On your own, review the Visual Management System example overleaf.

Step 2: Also on your own, make notes on the following:

a. Which 1 day of the week does the team consistently meet
b. Why do you think this is?
c. What can you do about improving team output?

Step 3: In a team of 4 to 7 people, discuss the group dynamics you have ‘observed’ by
reviewing the information made available by the system.

52 Unit Standard 242819

Daily Warehouse Orders Despatched per Employee





1 2 3 4 5 6

If you have struggled with this activity, please consult your lecturer. The information
provided is based on a real life situation and is a manifestation of a ‘message’ that the
team of warehouse employees is giving to management.

What is important is that the ‘observation’ of team dynamics in the workplace is not
restricted to the process of directly watching people perform daily tasks.

2. Providing feedback to team members based on
2.1 Feedback Steps

Feedback should follow a formal process, which ensures that team members have their
attention focused on learning from the feedback and thus improving performance.
The specific steps were to:
1. review the purpose of the discussion
2. reflect on actual performance compared to standard
3. seek reasons for variances
4. discuss problems preventing the team from meeting standards
5. develop future action plans to rectify poor performance or to enhance previous
good performance

Unit Standard 242819 53

This approach means that, as the team leader, you should:
• invite team members to speak first. This fosters the skills of self-criticism and
protects self-respect.
• be specific rather than general. To be told that one is disorganised will probably
not be as useful as to be told “When you lost your place during the lecture and
couldn’t find the right notes, I found it distracting.”
• balance positive and negative feedback. Positive feedback on its own allows no
room for improvement and negative feedback on its own is discouraging.
• direct your feedback towards behaviour that can be controlled. It is not helpful, for
example, to comment on someone’s way of talking.

2.2 A framework for structuring feedback

As important as the formal process is to ensuring effective feedback; utilising a
common frame of reference is equally valuable in ensuring that the action plan is the
appropriate one for the circumstances.

Mager and Pipe developed a model over 30 years ago that provides a very useful
framework for giving feedback to team members. Following this model ensures
that the team leader not only provides feedback but also takes responsibility for the
development of team members. The ‘actions’ on the action plan are not always the
responsibility of the individual team members – the team leader is also responsible for
making sure that required outcomes are achieved!

Of particular importance is to establish whether or not performance can be improved

by training as opposed to other interventions. Exhibit 13 illustrates this crucial

54 Unit Standard 242819

Exhibit 13: The feedback model


Ignore Important?


Yes Skills

No Used to Yes
do it?

Arrange Remove
Yes punishment

No performance Yes
Used often
Yes Used

Yes No



To ensure that we are completely clear about this in the world of work, let’s look at
another analogy.

Unit Standard 242819 55

Mager & Pipe’s Model explained by a workplace analogy
Assume that you are the Team Leader of a Call Centre in Johannesburg handling
Client Queries for a Cellular Phone Company.

You have received a number of complaints from clients about how ineffective some
of the Call Centre Operators are in handling their queries.

The first question that the Model requires you to ask is the following:
“Is the performance discrepancy important?” If some of the complaints were to do
with problems such as unavailability of certain new models in their area, it is not
something that your team members can do anything about other than explain the
reasons given by the company. This is not important in how the service levels of the
team are maintained and so may be ignored.

The next issue is the critical one of “is it a lack of knowledge, skill or ability OR rather
a behavioural problem e.g. a bad attitude?”

To determine if it is a skills deficiency, you could ask the question “could the team
member perform the task/function if his/her life depended on it?” Obviously if the
answer is NO (e.g. a new product range has been launched and the operator hasn’t
been for product knowledge training) – then there is a skills problem that needs to
be addressed by means of appropriate training!

However the model also requires you to ask “did the employee know how to perform
the function in the past?”. If, for example, the problem has to do with not providing
the client with the correct procedure for activating international roaming, then the
answer is YES. In this case perhaps the team member has forgotten some of the tasks
because it is not a frequent query, so the best solution is to arrange practice rather
than spending money on comprehensive re-training. If the employee gets these
questions frequently, then further performance feedback is appropriate before just
rushing off to train.

To determine if it is a behaviour problem, then the model requires you to not just
jump to the conclusion that it is an ‘attitude’ problem, but rather to ask the question
“if the performance problem was not due to a lack of skill, could there be reasons other
than a poor attitude?”

Firstly, is performance ‘punished’?

An example of this would be an operator using initiative to help a client with a
crisis and then being scolded for not adhering strictly to the Standard Operating
Procedure in the Manual. Allowing the team member to use initiative removes the
‘punishment’ and enhances a feeling of self-worth.

Secondly, is there is a ‘reward’ for not performing to standard”?

For example, if team members have not traditionally been disciplined for poor
client service, then they are receiving the ‘reward’ of being able to maintain
below-standard performance without any sanction. (Fortunately most Cellphone
companies have systems in place to monitor and then exert discipline for poor

56 Unit Standard 242819

Thirdly, does performance ‘really matter?’
If there are no incentives for performing well then it may be a simple issue of
developing better performance standards and implementing incentives to meet
these standards.

Lastly, are there ‘obstacles’ to performing up to standard?

If there is a problem of inadequate operators per shift which leads to clients waiting
for too long before there is a response, then removing these ‘obstacles’ by employing
sufficient operators will solve the problem. This might not be within your authority
to decide, but it can be taken into account when giving feedback to team members.
People remain motivated when they know they are not being held responsible for
factors outside of their control.

Many managers in the world of work see ‘training’ or alternatively ‘taking disciplinary
action’ as simple solutions to improve performance. Providing continuous feedback
on a formal, structured basis ensures that the team leader maintains motivation by
focusing on the real issues and addressing these (not necessarily by means of training)
and utilising the opportunity to gain valuable inputs from team members.

3. Providing recognition to team members who have

contributed to the team
There is an expression that is equally useful in the context of the ‘world of work’ as it is
in sport. It is:
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions!”

If you believe that feedback is a motivator in its own right, then you have understood
both this expression and the information on motivation provided in this unit

Giving team members feedback provides a signal that says; ‘you and the work that you
do are both important enough for me to take the time to provide feedback on how I
view your contribution’.

If, however, this feedback is not specific – then it will be limited in reinforcing good
performance or improving poor performance.

3.1 Specific recognition

In the world of work it is interesting to note that a lot of effort goes into providing
feedback on poor performance compared to the time taken to give positive feedback
for contributions made. Many employees complain about a ‘blame culture’ that exists
in their organisation and that “management only talk to us when there is a problem!”
This widespread perception is based on a lack of feedback when employees have made
a positive contribution.

Unit Standard 242819 57

However, recognising employees by making broad statements thanking them for
their loyalty and commitment has very limited impact! We saw earlier that recording
‘critical incidents’ enabled the team leader to provide specific feedback by using these
‘incidents’ to illustrate a general performance issue. This must be the approach to
recognising team members – recognition must be sincere and related to specific value-
adding contributions.

Whether the feedback is ‘one-on-one’ such as:

“Sipho, I have called you in to thank you for working overtime on Tuesday when I asked
you at very short notice. I know you missed your normal lift because of the overtime. This
is an example of your commitment and I will make a note of it and send it to HR to place
on your Personal File. Thanks a lot!”
or it is in a team situation such as:
“ Guys, I want to specifically thank Sipho for stepping in last Tuesday when Kobus was
off sick. He really helped us meet our targets. Sipho, you set an example for all of us
– thanks a lot!”
it is a powerful form of recognition that we know is a real motivator!

3.2 Forms of recognition

Recognition takes many forms. It may be a simple as verbal feedback on a specific
performance accomplishment or may be a complex scheme that offers incentive

You may remember that exhibit 4 identified a number of ‘rewards’ – both intrinsic and
extrinsic. All of these can be utilised to provide team members with recognition for
their achievements. Exhibit 14 provides a list of actions that can be used to recognise
team members who have contributed to the team.

Exhibit 14: Actions taken to recognise team members


Non-financial Financial

• Provide opportunities for • Award a high merit

personal growth increase in salary
• Offer more job • Offer performance
responsibility bonuses
• Allow more participation • Offer share options
in decision-making • Implement a Suggestion
• Create opportunities for Scheme
job enrichment • Offer free trips or
• Change the Job Title entertainment
• Public Recognition
• Allow extra time off

58 Unit Standard 242819

Many organisations have strict policies in regard to recognising achievement by
financial means. The main reasons for these are either that; individuals have abused a
system in the past, or that it has been difficult to administer in such a way as to keep it
Non-financial forms of recognition are not nearly as complex or as expensive to
implement and yet act as definite motivators, IF applied creatively and consistently.
These two factors are very important to ensure that recognition leads to motivation
and, in turn, to continuous improvement in performance.

You can step into many organisations and find photos and rolls of honour recognising
the ‘Employee of the Year’ and ‘Best Newcomer’ etc. that have stopped being used
more than 3 years ago! Once a formal way of recognising employees has been
introduced, it must be maintained and updated with fresh ideas to make it effective.

Within a team context, one of the most powerful forms of recognition is awarding
extra time off on full pay to those team members who have made an extra
contribution. This is not as simplistic as it may sound. Formally announcing at the
Thursday morning team review meeting that Zoleka will be able to leave work at
12h00 on Friday because of her specific contribution to meeting the debt collection
targets for this month is a really meaningful ‘reward’.

She will be able to do things on Friday that would normally have taken up part of her
week-end, and which is now free for her to plan social activities. The benefits to the
organisation of having a highly-motivated employee working hard to achieve team
targets far outweighs the ‘cost’ of paying her for a few hours when not present at work.

3.3 Celebrating success

Finally, as much as formal recognition is a powerful motivator, celebrating it with

other team members takes it to another level. Exhibit 15 provides examples of
‘celebrating’ the success of individuals who have made that extra contribution to the

Unit Standard 242819 59

Exhibit 15: Celebrating success in a team

Examples of recognising the contribution of individual

team members
Employee of the Month Awards:
Team members vote on who has
made the biggest contribution to team
success. Each recipient is presented
with a special badge and has their
photo prominently displayed in
the workplace. This is particularly
effective in a team dealing with
customers who often add their own
congratulations, thus increasing the
person’s feeling of achievement.

This is an example of short-term

recognition. At the end of the month Status Awards:
team members vote again on who will Executive Management decide
be next month’s award recipient. on specific criteria for awarding
team members a certain status in
recognition of their contribution. The
celebration is normally in the form of
a formal function at which recipients
receive a trophy or framed certificate.
The awards are publicized throughout
the organisation.

This is an example of long-term

recognition. The status award is
kept by the individual for ever. For
example, Pam Golding Properties,
one of the largest property groups in
South Africa has ‘Gold Club Awards’
for their agents “who have achieved
and maintained a consistently high
level of excellent service and have
adhered to the strictest principles of
ethical conduct.”

60 Unit Standard 242819

Unit standard: Learning reinforcement exercise
Answer the following questions by writing your answers in the space provided - using
your own words. Try to complete the whole exercise before you look up the right

1. Sustainable s in the world of work depends on how an organisation’

human resources are to perform.

2. The best companies in the world do the following in order to keep their people





3. Vroom’s expectancy model require that e , i

and v are all in place in order to have a strong level of
m .

4. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

a) The first level of needs are p

b) The second level of needs are for s

c) After that the need for s has to be satisfied

d) The forth level is for s e and

e) The highest level is for s a

5. Herzberg, on the other hand, felt that although some factors were
, others were only h factors. He felt that most
of the successful motivators are I such as recognition and
personal growth.

Unit Standard 242819 61

6. McClelland proposed that the individual with a high need for a
has a desire to excel in comparison to others and that the individual with a
high need for a has a desire for close relationships and to feel

7. An important way of establishing whether or not team members are motivated

within an organisation, is to conduct an Employee a

8. Competence comprises:

a. A

b. S

c. K

d. P

e. V and,

f. A

9. Conducting a p s a helps us to build on our

personal strengths and to work on appropriate development areas.

10. People who have an locus of control, tend to believe

that their performance is often influenced by factors beyond their control
such as bad luck or poor management. On the other hand, those who have
an locus of control, take full responsibility for their

11. In the ‘stop-start-continue’ exercise, ‘stop’ means

, ‘start’ means
and ‘continue’ means

62 Unit Standard 242819

12. In Adams’ equity theory, high performing employees expect a greater/smaller
salary increase in relation to their own i compared
to that received by other employees whose i is, in their perception,

13. Making a job more meaningful by means of j r should lead to

improved employee s and thus m them to work
smarter. A well-designed job should provide employees with s
v , t i , t s ,
a and f

14. A team leader can really build a team by reducing resistance. This can be done
building t
communicating c and o
involving t m in decisions

15. A high performance culture includes a shared v that everyone

supports, a strong c o , an obsession with
q and continuous i where all employees feel
empowered to make a contribution.

16. Effective execution of action plans requires:

the allocation of r amongst team members
specific d d
mechanisms to m progress and, when required,
making a to the plan.

17. C i provide clear examples of the point that you

want to make during a feedback session.

18. Recognition can be provided by f or non


Unit Standard 242819 63

19. The specific steps used during a formal feedback process are:
1. review the
2. reflect on compared to
3. seek for v
4. discuss preventing the team from

5. develop future A P to rectify poor
or to enhance good

20. Status awards are an example of term recognition for contribution

to team performance.

64 Unit Standard 242819