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Who is the best person to lead a team? Mason believes it is the one
who is most versatile and can communicate with everyone. “Versatility
means you're providing information the way a different person hears it.
It's called interpersonal reciprocity. If someone gives me information the
way I want to receive it I feel bound to want to follow them” ( Mason,
1998, p. 32 ). According to Mason, versatility also means that you share
information with others in a way that provides open and honest interac-
tion and that you don't hoard important information. Versatility implies
that supervisors provide feedback including follow-up, rewards, and rec-
ognition for well-done work both individually and in the team.
Adam Smith (1937, pp. 7 10) believed that teamwork was a superior
way of dividing labor because it improve quality, as groups make work
more efficient, save time, and increase skill for all workers since compe-
tence can be passed on from one worker to another. Alchian and
Demsetz (1972) argue that teams influence each other's levels of perfor-
mance and maintain high levels of productivity. Holmstrom and Milgrom
(1991) studied the meaning of the term “teamwork” and believe the
term embodies the notion of a “help effort” to other workers. It is this
help effort that increases the effectiveness of work done in teams. Itoh
(1991) believes that the driving force behind teams is that they tend to
take lower-performing workers and increase their productivity by increas-
ing their willingness to compete with higher-performing workers. Lin
(1997) found the claim that teams divide and conquer workers not to be
true and writes, “The findings in this paper weaken a long-held claim
that division of labor is little more than a capitalist device to 'divide and
conquer' workers ... . this paper shows that the practice of division of
labor may have a distinct incentive effect that makes its adoption attractive
in certain circumstances” (p. 422).
Wisner (2001, p. 58) believes that the important factors involved in making
teams work include the following: (1) A senior leader who shares informa-
tion and is supportive in good and bad times; (2) An ongoing assessment of
communications, feedback, morale and performance; (3) A road map that
describes where the team is going, how best to get there, and how to
resolve problems and impediments when they arise; (4) A long-term view
that gives the team a chance to solidify; (5) Comprehensive training that
adds to the team's ability to work well together and to develop all the skills
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