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Reflection on the Team Dynamics

Teamwork is a virtue that is employed by various organizations across all aspects of life. It is imperative for any organization to work as a team so as to enhance performance and improve the outcome of any work. Building a working team depends on various factors including the type and nature of the assignment to be undertaken, the goals and objectives of the proposed team and its intended composition. Furthermore, a team does not only depend on the formulation strategy but also on the management techniques employed. A well constituted and managed team will always give great outcome on the assignment. However, the team members and leader must always be aware of the team dynamics and be prepared to accommodate them. Based on what I have learnt in the class, this paper provides an analysis of team dynamics under five main topics including team formation, team kickoff, brainstorming in the team, team decision making and team conflict.

Team Formation

Before deciding on forming a team for any particular task, it is imperative to understand the need for a group, features of a good team and to explore the major determinants of team productivity. The main advantage of a team is its impact on the individual productivity also known as social facilitation. Norman Triplett once observed that working as a team leads to increased productivity but relatively reduces the quality of the job done. He attributes the increase in productivity to the motivation of the members to work in the presence of others. This motivation can be due to the desire of others to evaluate them positively and also not to be considered lazy (Harbour, 2012). Moreover, the cognitive processes have a bearing on the individual productivity as the attention is divided between the task and the members of the group. Such division of care increases the output for simple tasks. On the other hand, the social orientation of an individual has an effect on the social facilitation for it determines the confidence of a person among their team members.

At this stage of team analysis, it is important to consider the effectiveness of group regarding performance. Harbor, relying on the Max Ringelmann suggests that the fulfillment of a team reduces with the increase in the size of the group. Ringelmann discovered that at any given time, an increase in the number of team member's results to a proportionate decrease in performance. The study attributes this inverse relationship to social loafing in the team, which is the destruction to the task implementation by members of the group. Unfortunately, this aspect is not easy to recognize in a team due members’ denials or unawareness of their actions. Social loafing therefore results in a reduction in effort by members of a team as the group size increases.

The reduction in individuals’ efforts may be caused by lower personal drive, inability to identify each member’s performance output, inability to match members’ efforts with social benefits or lack of self-evaluation. Although our project team is small, we can still experience social loafing. The members suggested that the only way to solve the problem of social loafing is by enhancing member's involvement in group activities. Members’ involvement in group functions would instill a feeling of social accomplishment among members of the team. Similarly, members suggested that increased group identification would allow individuals to work even hard as long as the members are able accord each task the highest level of importance.

 

Forming the Team

Formulation of a team will depend on various factors some of which have been discussed in the previous paragraphs. The primary aspect to consider in addition to the one mentioned earlier is the skills and capability of members. The first step in forming a team, therefore, is to analyze the task in question and identify the specific components that require particular skills. The next step is to assign the tasks to individuals based on their qualifications. Another crucial factor to consider when constituting a team is the individual members' personality. The social interaction dimension of a person defines how he will interact with other and, therefore, fit in the working environment with other members of the group. The other aspect is the individual's ability to gather information; this is a reflection on keen a person is to detail the thirst for facts. Decision-making capabilities of a person also play a central role in the determining who to include in a team for a team requires objective individuals who can make a logical decision and sustain the logical argument. Finally, on the personality, it is of great importance to consider the person's ability to deal with the external environment. The way one judges and perceives his environment is crucial in their decision making and commitment. It will also determine individual's ability to work with others. Our team was formed randomly with little consideration on the capability of each team member. However, during performance, each member was able to find his/her area of strength and contribute towards achieving the common objective of the team.

 

Team Kickoff

After considering the various factors, a five members group was constituted. The next task is to start operation also known as a kickoff the stage of a team. This phase begins with the allocation of role to members. It paramount to explicitly assign specific tasks that are member centered and each should be aware of the functions at the recruitment stage. The roles should allow for members' flexibility especially for complex tasks that may require some consultations and self-evaluation. A group should have a leader, who should be part of the five members and have a well-defined role. The manager will perform regulatory and instruction role and make sure that there is group development regarding the methodologies used to accomplish the group task.

 

In addition to that, a leader must be able to demonstrate excellent leadership skills by allowing free flow of information between the members and him and maintaining high performance by the members. A leader with experience in the particular task will help in motivating the members and creating a positive attitude towards working with each other. With a leader in place, it is fundamental to come up with team's chatter which includes the goals of the group. The goals set for a group should be in line with the organization's objectives and the expectations from the top management team. The team should be able to set their time frame that is shorter than that of the organization; this will enable it to carryout evaluations and determine if the objectives have been achieved.

 

Planning for the Launch Meeting of the Team

Before resorting to the actual operations of the organization, it is necessary to establish a set of rules and regulations that will govern the members' behavior and conduct during the group processes. The settings of the controls are done in the first meeting of the group also known as launch meeting. In the meeting, the team formulates strategies for attaining the team objectives. The norms of a tam may include the basic logistics such as the meeting attendance, participation and confidentiality of the team information and any issue arising from the team activities. Establishing these logistics early enough enables the organization to avoid conflicts that can result from such behaviors as absenteeism and leakage of information. Moreover, a team has to come up with a mechanism to integrate the team processes including the ways of communication to be used by the group. In addition to the discussion, the group needs to spell out the measures for coordinating the business of the team and the protocol for the decision-making process and review.

 

My team seems to be affected by factors such as cultural diversity, which can be managed by organizing a picnic and to allow enough time for the members to interact with each other. Such an action will help the members to bond and operate as a single entity. We had our special launch meeting at Carl’s Jr. The launch was of great help to the success of our group operations. During the meeting, the team members were encouraged to interact and know each other so that a good working relationship could be established. The meeting also provided a platform for the members to familiarize with the team rules and regulations and the kind of activities. Moreover, we highlighted the team objective and its relationship to the final goals. We think that such these activities were meaningful when it comes to bonding members and setting members free to interact with the team leader.

 

Team Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a critical thought to come up with a suggestion that will lead to the creation of a solution to a particular problem. Even though the brainstorming is considered fundamental when it comes to decision making and improving team performance, the process seems to have its own limitations. For instance, brainstorming is not a trait common to those who are shy or the overly outspoken. This means that teams can perform poorly when members have clashing personalities.

 

There are three basic techniques a team can use to brainstorm. First of all, is the nominally grouped method, in which the group leader gives out the issue of a convert, the members are then given time to think about its small groups, or individually and then they submit their ideas to the leader. The team then goes to each idea and filter say three strongest ideas according to the members' evaluation. The team then subjects the three into a simple vote and the one that ranks highest is taken as the groups' decision. This technique is suitable in reducing social loafing by minimizing interdependence among members.

 

The other technique is the Delphi technique which involves a larger group with the Delphi leader giving the question in the form of a questionnaire to smaller groups the collects the responses from the various groups. The responses are analyzed and then filtered; the process is run several times before the final solution is reached. The method is useful in eliminating face to face interaction of the whole group which may encourage social loafing among the members of the group. The third and the last technique is the electronic brainstorming, which involves the use of a computer that is connected to other using who are also trying to solve the same problem. The main advantage of this technique is reducing production blocking among the team members. Members also get time to gather more ideas online while they save on travel costs and time wasting that come with traveling process. The primary challenge is that the members may have too many ideas that can be cumbersome to analyze. They may also concentrate mainly on idea generation which may make them ignore the ideas of other members.

 

The team members followed four essential principles to brainstorm on the group activities. The team members noted that each individuals should be allowed to brainstorm and present free and independent opinion for the purposes of decision making. Secondly, the team members were encouraged to communicate their ideas while considering the impact on group functions. Similarly, the members were encouraged to listen to other participants and gather as many ideas as possible. Finally, the members noted that is benefiting to combine all the suggestions so as to come up with improved ideas. In order to achieving a successful brainstorming session, a team should ensure that that members are able avoid production blocking, minimize social loafing, minimize comparison by social background of members and reduce evaluation apprehension.

 

Team Decision-Making

Group decision making is crucial but can be very tedious and time-consuming if not well coordinated. For effective team decision making to occur, some factors have to put into consideration. The very first one is the presence of inherent information bias, which is a case where other members lack the vital information needed to facilitate decision-making process. This situation can arise when the group members are anxious and want to make a quick decision and close the meeting. On the other hand, the members may be feeling that they do not have enough information to make an informed decision. To minimize common information bias, the team should strive to increase the opinion diversity and obtain difference opinions from all members. Moreover, the group can minimize the status difference and hold more discussions on decision-making. The use of technology comes in handy in trying to view published materials that may lead to informed decision making.

 

The Decision Task

In making group decisions, it a common occurrence that a particular part of the group may take a different view from the one adopted by the rest of the team. Such an act is referred to as cautious shift or better still group polarization. Group polarization can be caused by the urge for the particular group of members to show themselves as more socially right than the others. In such cases, these members try to find a compromise between the views favored by a majority with their view. On the other hand, some members may maintain their position based on the arguments they know against and for the position taken by the majority without considering the other available facts. However, if these members are exposed to the reality based on the other valid arguments for the joint position, they change their stand and move with the rest of the group to one direction.

 

Group polarization can either be beneficial to the team or at sometimes it can be detrimental to the performance of the team in general. It can be useful in breaking a deadlock when it comes to making a political decision such as amending a section of the constitution. It also helps in a donation in social work by making people donate more. On the other hand, group polarization can be detrimental when it comes to making the crucial financial decision, for instance, a decision to invest in a risky but profitable business venture.

 

Another common challenge that arises in most group decision-making process is the issues of the group think. This is the tendency of the group members to conform to a particular decision without considering the different aspect other decision. It occurs due to factors such group cohesion that enable the members to work in one accord with minimal explanations, structural faults in a group where the leader is very dictatorial or lack of a proper framework for group decision making. Finally, group think can be as a result of external threats to the team and maybe lack of self – esteem. Groupthink is characterized with overestimating the group such that the decision is made with too much optimism resulting from the taking of ultimate decisions. Moreover, the team may consider being so moral that when they make a decision they believe that they are ever right thus ignoring the environment issue that may result from the decision made. Furthermore, the members of the group may be so close minded that they think in almost the same direction without considering their assumptions. Alternatively, a team may develop some stereotypic attitude towards a particular group and, therefore, cannot take the same side as that group even if the other alternative is not the best way to go.

 

A group decision has five basic steps namely; orientation, discussion, decision-making, implementation and evaluation. At the orientation stage involves problem definition and planning the process of decision making. The discussion stage is a primary stage where the members gather information necessary for decision-making, exchange the information and brainstorm and process the information available to come up with most appropriate piece. This is a step where the decision is made, the decision is not reached at this point, the whole process begins again, if the decision is made, then the team moves on to implement the decision made. During the implementation process, the team should conduct a thorough and continuous evaluation of the decision and ensure that the decision has adhered to the later.

 

Making team decision is challenging and requires enough preparation and time. People often see issues differently based on varying experiences, values, personalities, styles, and needs. This holds to the understanding that “if three people are put together in a room, it is possible to obtain four opinions”. We considered some strategies when making the team decision. Every decision made followed team consensus, which means that every member’s opinion was to be taken into consideration. We also realized that team consensus may not always happen as expected since assertive members will in most cases get the most attention. On the other hand, less assertive team members may feel intimidated and remain silent, especially when they feel their ideas are different from the views of a majority. Based on this perspective, we found it necessary to encouraged every team member to participate after which the members selected the best idea through a majority vote. Where the problem was not complex or important, the members avoided face-to-face meeting but instead made a quick decision through WhatsApp meeting.

 

Team Conflict

Conflict is a perceived view by members of a team that they can have incomparability among them. Studies show that team conflict is a common phenomenon in groups with almost 30% of the total time taken in a group there is always some conflict. Conflicts can be divided into two types: functionality conflict and non-functionality conflicts. Functionality conflicts arise in when members have diversified views about a task or over the techniques used to carry out the work. On the other hand, non- functionality conflict arises from the interpersonal incompatibilities among the members of a team leading tension animosity and dislike among the conflicting members.

 

Conflict Management

If not well managed, conflict may deter the group from achieving its goals or still it may delay the attainment of some targets. It is, therefore, imperative to a framework of solving or aborting the conflict before it grows out of hand. Some of the techniques suggested by the scholars to manage conflict include: avoiding, accommodating, compromising, forcing or collaborating the two conflicting parties. Avoiding conflict can be by going to take a day off work to think of a way forward. Accommodating involves giving into what other people want. It is important in creating harmony in the team and only concentrates on the similar views between the conflicting parties. Forcing involve the use of power to pressurize the other party to accept a particular view. It is commonly used if there is a need for urgent resolution. On the other hand collaborating involves considering both sides and coming to an amicable agreement. Finally, compromising involves partial resolution such that both parties just feel partially satisfied. It is suitable when the two sides are vital for the achievement of an important goal and hence the need to accomplish the task in time.

 

From the group experience, there are some useful tips that can be followed to avoid team conflict. The first tip involves encouraging an open and professional work environment where all team members feel comfortable when speaking their mind and engage other members through questions, particularly when seeking for clarification. It is important to make sure every team member has a sound understanding of his/her roles and responsibilities. When working as a team, it was necessary that we kept everyone in the loop with frequent team emails and regular meetings. Similarly, the members were to avoid criticism and personal attack since these would burn bridges that may never be repaired. Where the conflict existed, it was wise to intervene through appropriate measures and focus on the real issues affecting members.

The reduction in individuals’ efforts may be caused by lower personal drive, inability to identify each member’s performance output, inability to match members’ efforts with social benefits or lack of self-evaluation. Although our project team is small, we can still experience social loafing. The members suggested that the only way to solve the problem of social loafing is by enhancing member's involvement in group activities. Members’ involvement in group functions would instill a feeling of social accomplishment among members of the team. Similarly, members suggested that increased group identification would allow individuals to work even hard as long as the members are able accord each task the highest level of importance.

Forming the Team

Formulation of a team will depend on various factors some of which have been discussed in the previous paragraphs. The primary aspect to consider in addition to the one mentioned earlier is the skills and capability of members. The first step in forming a team, therefore, is to analyze the task in question and identify the specific components that require particular skills. The next step is to assign the tasks to individuals based on their qualifications. Another crucial factor to consider when constituting a team is the individual members' personality. The social interaction dimension of a person defines how he will interact with other and, therefore, fit in the working environment with other members of the group. The other aspect is the individual's ability to gather information; this is a reflection on keen a person is to detail the thirst for facts. Decision-making capabilities of a person also play a central role in the determining who to include in a team for a team requires objective individuals who can make a logical decision and sustain the logical argument. Finally, on the personality, it is of great importance to consider the person's ability to deal with the external environment. The way one judges and perceives his environment is crucial in their decision making and commitment. It will also determine individual's ability to work with others. Our team was formed randomly with little consideration on the capability of each team member. However, during performance, each member was able to find his/her area of strength and contribute towards achieving the common objective of the team.

Team Kickoff

After considering the various factors, a five members group was constituted. The next task is to start operation also known as a kickoff the stage of a team. This phase begins with the allocation of role to members. It paramount to explicitly assign specific tasks that are member centered and each should be aware of the functions at the recruitment stage. The roles should allow for members' flexibility especially for complex tasks that may require some consultations and self-evaluation. A group should have a leader, who should be part of the five members and have a well-defined role. The manager will perform regulatory and instruction role and make sure that there is group development regarding the methodologies used to accomplish the group task.

In addition to that, a leader must be able to demonstrate excellent leadership skills by allowing free flow of information between the members and him and maintaining high performance by the members. A leader with experience in the particular task will help in motivating the members and creating a positive attitude towards working with each other. With a leader in place, it is fundamental to come up with team's chatter which includes the goals of the group. The goals set for a group should be in line with the organization's objectives and the expectations from the top management team. The team should be able to set their time frame that is shorter than that of the organization; this will enable it to carryout evaluations and determine if the objectives have been achieved.

Planning for the Launch Meeting of the Team

Before resorting to the actual operations of the organization, it is necessary to establish a set of rules and regulations that will govern the members' behavior and conduct during the group processes. The settings of the controls are done in the first meeting of the group also known as launch meeting. In the meeting, the team formulates strategies for attaining the team objectives. The norms of a tam may include the basic logistics such as the meeting attendance, participation and confidentiality of the team information and any issue arising from the team activities. Establishing these logistics early enough enables the organization to avoid conflicts that can result from such behaviors as absenteeism and leakage of information. Moreover, a team has to come up with a mechanism to integrate the team processes including the ways of communication to be used by the group. In addition to the discussion, the group needs to spell out the measures for coordinating the business of the team and the protocol for the decision-making process and review.

My team seems to be affected by factors such as cultural diversity, which can be managed by organizing a picnic and to allow enough time for the members to interact with each other. Such an action will help the members to bond and operate as a single entity. We had our special launch meeting at Carl’s Jr. The launch was of great help to the success of our group operations. During the meeting, the team members were encouraged to interact and know each other so that a good working relationship could be established. The meeting also provided a platform for the members to familiarize with the team rules and regulations and the kind of activities. Moreover, we highlighted the team objective and its relationship to the final goals. We think that such these activities were meaningful when it comes to bonding members and setting members free to interact with the team leader.

Team Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a critical thought to come up with a suggestion that will lead to the creation of a solution to a particular problem. Even though the brainstorming is considered fundamental when it comes to decision making and improving team performance, the process seems to have its own limitations. For instance, brainstorming is not a trait common to those who are shy or the overly outspoken. This means that teams can perform poorly when members have clashing personalities.

There are three basic techniques a team can use to brainstorm. First of all, is the nominally grouped method, in which the group leader gives out the issue of a convert, the members are then given time to think about its small groups, or individually and then they submit their ideas to the leader. The team then goes to each idea and filter say three strongest ideas according to the members' evaluation. The team then subjects the three into a simple vote and the one that ranks highest is taken as the groups' decision. This technique is suitable in reducing social loafing by minimizing interdependence among members.

The other technique is the Delphi technique which involves a larger group with the Delphi leader giving the question in the form of a questionnaire to smaller groups the collects the responses from the various groups. The responses are analyzed and then filtered; the process is run several times before the final solution is reached. The method is useful in eliminating face to face interaction of the whole group which may encourage social loafing among the members of the group. The third and the last technique is the electronic brainstorming, which involves the use of a computer that is connected to other using who are also trying to solve the same problem. The main advantage of this technique is reducing production blocking among the team members. Members also get time to gather more ideas online while they save on travel costs and time wasting that come with traveling process. The primary challenge is that the members may have too many ideas that can be cumbersome to analyze. They may also concentrate mainly on idea generation which may make them ignore the ideas of other members.

The team members followed four essential principles to brainstorm on the group activities. The team members noted that each individuals should be allowed to brainstorm and present free and independent opinion for the purposes of decision making. Secondly, the team members were encouraged to communicate their ideas while considering the impact on group functions. Similarly, the members were encouraged to listen to other participants and gather as many ideas as possible. Finally, the members noted that is benefiting to combine all the suggestions so as to come up with improved ideas. In order to achieving a successful brainstorming session, a team should ensure that that members are able avoid production blocking, minimize social loafing, minimize comparison by social background of members and reduce evaluation apprehension.

Team Decision-Making

Group decision making is crucial but can be very tedious and time-consuming if not well coordinated. For effective team decision making to occur, some factors have to put into consideration. The very first one is the presence of inherent information bias, which is a case where other members lack the vital information needed to facilitate decision-making process. This situation can arise when the group members are anxious and want to make a quick decision and close the meeting. On the other hand, the members may be feeling that they do not have enough information to make an informed decision. To minimize common information bias, the team should strive to increase the opinion diversity and obtain difference opinions from all members. Moreover, the group can minimize the status difference and hold more discussions on decision-making. The use of technology comes in handy in trying to view published materials that may lead to informed decision making.

The Decision Task

In making group decisions, it a common occurrence that a particular part of the group may take a different view from the one adopted by the rest of the team. Such an act is referred to as cautious shift or better still group polarization. Group polarization can be caused by the urge for the particular group of members to show themselves as more socially right than the others. In such cases, these members try to find a compromise between the views favored by a majority with their view. On the other hand, some members may maintain their position based on the arguments they know against and for the position taken by the majority without considering the other available facts. However, if these members are exposed to the reality based on the other valid arguments for the joint position, they change their stand and move with the rest of the group to one direction.

Group polarization can either be beneficial to the team or at sometimes it can be detrimental to the performance of the team in general. It can be useful in breaking a deadlock when it comes to making a political decision such as amending a section of the constitution. It also helps in a donation in social work by making people donate more. On the other hand, group polarization can be detrimental when it comes to making the crucial financial decision, for instance, a decision to invest in a risky but profitable business venture.

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