Developed by American social psychologist Kurt Lewin, the force field analysis is an important technique used for brainstorming the factors/issues that are either driving movement towards a desired objective (helping forces) or blocking movement towards the desired objective (hindering forces), in an attempt to objectively weigh the pros and cons of the desired objective.
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Organizations and teams undertake the analysis in a focused attempt aimed at either strengthening the forces that support a particular decision or reducing the impact of the forces that oppose the decision (Turner, 2010). A force field analysis aimed at addressing critical issues toward the attainment of leadership effectiveness is outlined below.
|Helping Forces||Hindering Forces|
|Ability to establish an enabling team structure to guide the process||Barriers relating to cultural diversity of the team, that is, the team is made up of members from diverse cultural/racial groups|
|Ability to Establish a compelling direction to be followed by team members, assisted by expert team coaching capabilities||Change resistance coming from some members within the team|
|Having a supportive organizational context and culture within the team||Leadership |
|Sustained lack of mechanisms for emotional convergence among some team members, leading to the progression of differing viewpoints|
|Ability to work closely together within and across the organizational context of the team to get tasks accomplished quickly||Perceived lack of goal sharing among some members of the team|
|Capacity to avail the necessary knowledge and expertise towards successful task completion||persistent leadership wrangles progressed by dissatisfied members of the team|
|Capacity to facilitate effective interaction among team members in a way and manner that will guarantee good problem solving, decision-making and effective coordination of team efforts||lack of productivity and innovation by some team members|
|capacity to understand the bigger picture of what is needed, and of sharing in common goals and objectives||Lack of cohesion as some team members are not satisfied with their positions in the team|
|Availability of the resources and training needed for team members to develop the skills and expertise needed for successful completion of tasks||Lack of adequate attention from management with regard to team’s needs and achievements|
|Capacity to keep strict timelines on the team’s projects|
|capacity to elicit feedback from constructive communication|
|Source: Kayworth & Leidner (2002); Hoffman et al (2011)|
To achieve the desired objective, which is leadership team effectiveness, the best practice for the team leader and members is for them to come up with proactive measures that could be used to reduce the impact of the hindering forces to the desired aim. Hoffman et al (2011) suggest that this strategy has more fulfilling outcomes compared to strengthening the forces that support a particular decision by virtue of the fact that it works to clear the hurdles associated with negative outcomes.
In this scenario, the team leader can decide to employ transformational leadership style, an open-door policy, as well as increase training opportunities for team members in an attempt to deal with the hindering forces of negative cultural diversity, resistance to change, persistent leadership wrangles and lack of group cohesion.
Equally, the leader is at liberty to increase the intensity and frequency of group meetings to ensure that the aims and objectives of the team are internalized by all the members. Further education and training aimed at skills development should be recommended for team members who may appear less productive and uncreative (Hoffman et al, 2011; Kayworth & Leidner, 2002).
Hoffman, B.J., Bynum, B.H., Piccolo, R.F., & Sulton, A.W. (2011). Person-organization value congruence: How transformational leaders influence work group effectiveness. Academy of Management Journal, 54(4), 779-796.
Kayworth, T., & Leidner, D. (2002). Leadership effectiveness in global virtue teams. Journal of Management Information Systems, 18(3), 7-40.
Turner, S. (2010). The little black book of management: Essential tools for getting results NOW. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.