Total Quality Management, Assignment 3

1. Discuss the importance of quality team works, and team building

Some of the rationale for quality teams are (1) the whole team can be greater than the sum of its individuals, (2) it promotes communication and builds trust, and (3) it satisfies the social need to belong. Achieving a quality team relies on mutual support, challenge, singleness of purpose, trust, participation, people skills, accountability, and reinforcement. An example of quality teamwork can most noticeably be found in sports, such as the No Name Defense of the early Miami Dolphins NFL franchise.

2. How would you handle conflicts in quality teams?

Team leaders and peers must be aware of the conflict and the types of responses to expect, including (1) personally negative responses, (2) team negative responses, and (3) positive responses. Strategies for defeating conflict include planning and working to establish a culture where individuality and dissent are in balance with teamwork; establish criteria for when decision-making is per individual or by committee; encourage and recognize individual risk-taking behavior that breaks the team out of negative habits; and encourage healthy competition.

3. How do you reward quality achievements in a team?

The most successful compensation system combines individual and team pay. The individual base pay plus incentives that allow employees to increase their income by surpassing team and organizational goals has been proven to be the best approach. In addition, organizations must consider non-monetary incentives such as movie tickets, gift certificates, time off, etc.


4. How do you communicate effectively?

Effective communication means that the message is received, understood, and acted on in the desired manner; the sender must be sure that the message was effective. It aids in persuasion, motivation, monitoring, and leadership on the part of managers.

The different levels include one-on-one, community, company, and team/unit level. As it relates to TQM, customer focus, total employee involvement and empowerment, leadership, teamwork, decision making, problem prevention, problem solving, and conflict resolution all require effective communication.

5. Why are listening skills important?

Managers must be good listeners in a TQM setting, as it improves understanding and perception of the message. A good listener has the following characteristics:

a. When in a group of people, you don’t talk more than you listen.

b. When talking with someone, you don’t frequently interrupt before he or she completes a sentence.

c. In conversations, you don’t tune out and think ahead to your response.

d. In a typical conversation, you can paraphrase what the speaker said and repeat it.

e. When talking, you don’t frequently state your opinion before the other parties have made their case.

f. You don’t continue doing other tasks when someone is talking with you.

g. You ask for clarification when you don’t understand what has been said.

h. You do not frequently tune out and daydream during meetings.

i. You don’t fidget and sneak glances at your watch during conversations.

j. You don’t finish statements for people who don’t move the conversation fast enough.

6. What are the management strategies for quality-focused interpersonal needs?

Interpersonal skills are “soft skills” required by employees to work together for personal and corporate success. The steps managers should take are:

a. Recognizing the need for employees to have good interpersonal skills.

b. Careful selection through the hiring process to focus on interpersonal skills in addition to written credentials and technical skills; skills like listening, patience, empathy, open-mindedness, the ability to get along in a diverse workplace, and be a positive agent in helping other employees get along.

c. Training on listening better, empathizing with different personalities, being tactful, and facilitating positive interaction.

d. Measuring and rewarding the skills as part of the normal performance-appraisal process.

7. What are the principles of overcoming negativity and conflicts in the workplace?

Managers must learn to resolve conflicts through principles of (1) communication that is frequent, ongoing and effective, (2) establishing clear expectations on a personal and team level, (3) providing for anxiety venting in a nonthreatening, affirming environment with supportive listening, (4) building trust by delivering what is promised and remaining open to suggestions, and (5) involving employees by soliciting feedback on problems and solutions.

8. How can you manage conflict in the workplace?

Managers may (1) determine how important the issue is to all parties involved in the conflict, (2) whether all parties are willing to discuss the situation positively, (3) selecting a private space to discuss the issue, (4) making sure both sides understand they are responsible for the problem and solution, (5) solicit opening comments from both sides, (6) guiding participants toward a clear definition of the problem, (7) encouraging parties to propose solutions, (8) evaluating costs versus gains, and (9) refelcting on the issue and discussing the conflict resolution process.

9. How do you communicate in conflict situations?

In conflict situations, managers must (1) understand that the initial attitude of those in conflict can predetermine the outcome, (2) establish resolution guidelines before conflicts occur, (3) avoid assessing blame, (4) eliminate “more of the same” solutions, and (5) maintain trust by keeping promises.

10. Why does quality suffer if there is a major conflict?

Unresolved conflicts can fester within a team and eventually spread throughout an entire organization. It can result in increased negativity, lower employee morale, performance issues, turnover, and increased politics counter to the organizational vision. Managers must learn to use the following conflict handling styles:


Source: Goetsch. Quality Management for Organizational Excellence, 7th Edition.

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This post is part of a Fall 2017 series covering topics related to Total Quality Management. See links to all posts here.