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Using Teams to Achieve a High Performance Wastewater Utility

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As organizations grow in size and complexity, today's managers are expected to foster work environments for employees where high performance is achieved individually and as part of teams. On-going learning opportunities in a team environment are vehicles to improve organizational performance. The ability to lead through teams is an essential managerial responsibility, but not an easy one to achieve. Success is realized through utilizing teams as a value-added resource to the organization.

In order to create a high-performance Wastewater Utility, the City of Tampa Wastewater Department implemented several key practices that help meet, and in some cases exceed, both individual and organizational performance goals. Namely, performance expectations are aligned with organizational goals; emphasis is placed on collaboration and cross-functional teamwork across divisional boundaries to help increase accountability for improved results; performance gaps and improvement opportunities are routinely discussed with individuals; follow-up on actions related to organizational priorities allow individuals to realize the importance of their daily duties and the impact they have on the entire organization; pay based competencies linked to employees knowledge and skills, contribute to improved organizational results; honest and constructive performance feedback, along with supporting documentation, allow managers to reward top performers and define the areas for improvement in poor performers; decision-making, whenever possible, is pushed to the lower levels within the organization; and self-managed teams allow members to be held collectively accountable for performance results.

This paper will highlight some of the organizational successes, leadership challenges and the steps taken to achieve a results-oriented, high performance utility within the City of Tampa Wastewater Department.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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