Microsoft is already one the leading product based global IT companies in the world with millions of dollars turnover each year. It is also one of the most successful companies in the world in various domains like computer hardware, cloud-based infrastructure, security etc. However, any company has scope for improvement for certain areas and so is Microsoft. I think what many big companies lack including Microsoft is the good acquaintance with soft skills. Soft skills are extremely essential within a team for various purposes. As indicated by the 2007 Every Promise, Every Child: Turning Failure into Action report, an expansive rate of youngsters planning to enter the workforce over the next two decades are altogether ailing in the “soft” or applied skills —, such as teamwork, decision-making, and communication — that will help them become effective employees and managers. Likewise, in a Job Outlook 2008 overview directed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the top qualities searched for in new contracts by 276 employer respondents were all soft skills: communication ability, a strong work ethic, initiative, interpersonal skills, and teamwork. Ultimately, the Indiana Business Research Center (IBRC) found that while qualifications (degrees and endorsements) are critical, it is the advancement of soft skills (those that are more social than technical) that is basic to building up a strong, energetic workforce. Interestingly, look into additionally recommends that soft skills are not only imperative for first-time employees. As per a survey discharged in June 2008 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), many workplace soft skills have become more important for the experienced professional. These abilities incorporate critical thinking/problem solving, leadership, professionalism/work ethic, teamwork/collaboration, and adaptability/flexibility. Microsoft though one of the leading MNCs in the world, have to work on these soft skills.
Let us discuss each of these soft skills in details and see how Microsoft should impart these soft skills to improve their business.
Teamwork is one of the important skills in project management success. First of all, what is a Teamwork? Teamwork can be simply explained as a group of people working together to achieve a single goal. We can also say that teamwork is sharing everyone’s ideas & suggestions and sharing the work to achieve the goal. Each person in the team is referred as Team Member. Every team member will have a specific role to play in achieving task on the job. Now-a-days the ability to work as a part of team is one of the most important skills in the job market. Teamwork involves building relationships and working with people. It is very important for a company like Microsoft to understand the importance of team work as it is a global company and it is a big company which consists of thousands of employees working on various projects. So its important to organize them into teams and develop harmony among them to work in teams.
In IT industry apart from the technical skills team participation is also very important to achieve his or her own goals. In a team everyone won’t be doing the same work. Everyone choose their own specific task or will be assigned by the team lead. Everyone will be assigned task on which they are good at. Since everyone will be working on the task which they are good at it would be easy to accomplish the goal. Working with people with different ideas would also help to increase individual’s capabilities. One of the famous quotes says that “Coming together is beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success”. Even if your role in the project seems independent and working remotely but still need to be communicate with others about what work you have done and giving the status report and what all the improvements are needed to achieve the goal and also to understand why are you doing it in the context of the organizations as a whole.
Some of the important techniques or skills needed to be a good team participant are
- a. Need to be working cooperatively with the team.
- b. Should be able to share the ideas and suggestions with the team to achieve better results in the project.
- c. Need to have a good communication skill like both giving and receiving.
- d. Need do have sense of responsibility.
- e. Need to respect the other team members opinions, preferences and ideas and suggestions.
- f. Need to actively participate in group decision making.
- g. Should be active listener – Like listening and trying to understand different perspectives.
- h. Should be flexible, that means team member should be able to adapt to try something new based on the feedback or the other team members suggestions.
- i. Should be reliable – Other people in the team should be able to count on you/participant.
We can say that strength of the team is each team member and strength of each team member is the team. By utilizing the concept of teamwork by organizations is helping them for the growth of the organization. As a team member always need to focus on the productive solution and outcome as the goal.
In other words, we can say as learning the teamwork values and becoming an effective team member is one of the important first step to develop leadership skills. Active participation in decision making process will help to prevent the miscommunication and to avoid ideas that could deviate from achieving the actual goal of the project. When team members work together to achieve a common goal, everyone benefits. Teamwork could really helpful in completing the project very efficiently. Now-a-days in some of the big MNC company interviews they are looking whether the candidate is an active team worker or not. Employers are looking for the candidates who can contribute their ideas and who can work with other to create and develop the projects and plans. These implies how important to have a teamwork skill in the job market.
Communication skills are fundamental expertise to express plans to their most extreme limit, obviously and effectively and make the group move towards a shared objective, for example, make everybody in agreement (Belzer, 2004). As indicated by Belzer (2004), Project chiefs must be able to pass on thoughts effectively, obviously articulate the desires and along these lines need to keep the group working for a shared objective, cultivate a situation that permits colleagues to convey transparently and truly, concede their very own slip-ups without losing regard, can tune in and encourage. In any industry imparting viably and making the group see plainly what the project is relied upon to accomplish and what everybody ought to achieve the objective, is important (Shenoy, 2018b). A definition of communication will include these attributes:
- a. It is interactive between people
- b. It is a process that is continuous in time
- c. Its purpose is to transmit ideas, desires, facts, interpretations, thoughts and emotions.
That appears to be basic enough — giving and receiving of information but, information is the ‘life-blood’ in organizations. Communicating clearly and openly is a necessity, but it’s important to remember that these exchanges go both ways. One of the key elements to appropriate communication is language, making beyond any doubt that everybody talks and comprehends that language, and utilizing similar terms so that there are a legitimate refinement and clear understanding. Open and honest communication from top-level leadership helps result in the same communication and trust from all other members of the team.
In all components of work life, the most widely recognized protest around an association is ‘absence of communication’. Communication is best project management obviously known to everyone, yet we do face difficulties in implementing it may be due to various reasons like the structure of the organization, nature of the project structure of the organization etc. An effective project manager must be an incredible communicator. Transparent project managers will typically have employees who feel more comfortable about opening up to the manager about their concerns, issues and constructive suggestions Poor communication undermines a project’s success. Project manager spent about 80% of time in project on communication. Here is our curated list of communication skills that are most important in today’s workforce
- a. Listening
- b. Reflection
- c. Confidence & Honesty
- d. Brevity & Clarity
- e. Ability to Accept Feedback with Grace
- f. Ability to Accept Feedback with Grace
- g. Body Language Skills
- h. Ability to give Constructive feedback.
Project manager should identify efficient communication channels with each of the stakeholders, keep cultural differences in perspective and communicate information on a regular basis.
This is a communication technique where listener gives consistent feedback to the speaker, by re-expressing what they have understood. Along these lines both speaker and listener ensure sure that the message has been communicated as expected.
To practice active listening the listener should overcome the inclination to ‘waiting to speak’ and rather focus on truly understanding what is being spoken and channelize her energies to exchange back the communicated information by expressing in their own words.
There are five techniques to develop active listening skills. a. Show That You’re Listening, b. Provide Feedback, c. Defer Judgment, d. Respond Appropriately, e. Pay Attention
For a company like Microsoft, communication is key force as there are teams sitting in different parts of the world to communicate with each other on a daily basis. So, effective communication is the key here. Microsoft already has great infrastructure like outlook and teams for this. Imparting soft skills among the employees would help the business a lot.
Team Building through Belbin’s Theory of Team Roles
Effective teamworking has become a basic concern for most organizations. While many factors influence a team’s performance, considerable attention has been given to the influence of team member diversity in terms of roles played in a team. The team role model made popular by Meredith Belbin in relation to management teams (Belbin, 1981, 1993a) and available commercially through Belbin Associates (1988) is widely used in practice and has featured extensively in research on teams at work.
As with most role theories, Belbin’s model is not preoccupied with the roles (behavioural patterns) per se but with the ways in which the roles develop, change and interact with other patterns of behaviour over time. The model was proposed after a nine-year study of team building and team effectiveness with management teams taking part in an executive management exercise (Lawrence, 1974). Prior to participating in the exercise, individuals completed Cattell’s 16PF personality questionnaire and Watson Glaser’s Critical Thinking Appraisal. For each management team an observer recorded group processes based upon Bales’ (1950) interactive process analysis and reported their observations. Successful and less successful teams were analyzed in terms of their members’ personalities and in terms of their critical thinking abilities. Analyses were then cross referenced with observers’ reports and, as a result, eight team roles were proposed. The initial categorization of team roles was therefore based on assessments of team members’ personalities, critical thinking abilities and a behavioral checklist.
A way to resolve conflicts:
The paper provided some ideas about improving a business. In a big MNC like Microsoft, lot of bureaucracy is involved so there is a scope for lot of conflicts. How do we solve these conflicts? Conflict management is a good agenda for resolving these conflicts.
In settling conflict, a suitable arbiter is frequently required. This can some of the time be vital where work issues are concerned, and master information is required.
Not all conflicts are negative. Encouraging solid clash without concealment can bolster bunch advancement and learning encounters. Conflict is an essential segment of some group improvement models be that as it may, even there, it must be deliberately figured out how to avert it getting to be counterproductive.
The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) surveys a person’s conduct in conflict circumstances—that is, circumstances in which the worries of two individuals seem, by all accounts, to be incongruent. In strife circumstances, we can portray an individual’s conduct along two fundamental dimensions:
- Being emphatic, the degree to which the individual endeavors to fulfill his or her very own worries, and
- Helpfulness, the degree to which the individual endeavors to fulfill the other individual’s worries. These two components of conduct can be utilized to characterize five techniques for managing struggle.
These five-clash dealing with modes are appeared as follows: These five steps help in resolving various conflicts within teams in a company like Microsoft.
Lastly, in spite of imparting all these skills, Motivating team members is an important task as team members are often exhausted due to continuous demands and it the job of the project managers or the higher authorities to motivate them.
Because an individual who is motivated by achievement is self-driven, he or she is able to perform and function well both alone and within a team. The reason for this ability is that he or she is able to identify a clear objective and develop a “line of sight” to get there. In order for an “achievement” individual to flourish, provide an environment that will give him or her the ability to be creative, an opportunity that will expand beyond his or her current position or role, and tasks that are challenging; all components that provide a prospect of growth, success, and enhancement must be present. Similar to “power”-driven individuals, “achievement”-driven individuals appreciate a challenge and are self-sufficient (Rad & Levin, 2003). To an achievement motivated individual, life is about a personal challenge rather than a challenge with others.
Motivation can be maintained with multiple factors like pushing out stress from team members using strategical distributions. Less stress leads to effective productivity at work. Trust is also a factor in motivation which deals with personal factors of an individual which makes a team healthy in communication. Implications with factors lead to less absenteeism, high retention rates, more trust, effective production.
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