For the most part, our team tries to break down each of our assignments and delegate responsibility for each team activity. Different members even try to call each other or call the ones that seem to be left behind. If there is a problem with coming up with answers or ways to complete assignments the team tries to pull together to get feedback from each member on how to proceed. The leadership of the team is done on an agreed rotational basis for each week or phase of work to be done.
When work is completed we all try to confer upon it to get the approval of each member before handing in the assignments or questions and posting them. If one member sees a problem with something he or she tries to contact the person working on the assignment to help in seeing that it is done correctly. All in all, no one is left alone to do anything really by themselves and we must all concur on how things are done or are to be done. Aside from these things we all try to treat each other with courtesy, consideration, and respect.
What roles has each team member played thus far? How has that affected the team’s dynamics? Be sure to use the roles identified in the text to support your analysis. Roles within teams are grouped into two main categories. Task oriented roles help teams focus on objectives, which includes giving, and seeking information, elaborating ideas, coordinating activities and summarizing discussions. In his article, “Groups that Work”, Gerard Blair states that frequently, the task is the only issue the group considers.
Relationship oriented roles typically focus on conflict resolution, maintaining communication, encouraging positive behaviors and identifying process problems (McShane, Von-Glinow, 2004). Blair looks at relationship roles as process roles and states that when the process is overlooked, the value of the group can be diminished as it ceases to work as unit. In our team, the job of team leader is rotated on a weekly basis. For the purposes of our group, the team leader functions primarily as the initiator, identifying the goals for the week and making the individual assignments for the other group members.
In our experience, the team leader also functions in the roles of information giver by sharing information relative to the team task and as evaluator by assessing our progress against the assignment as identified in the syllabus. Based on the feedback we have received on our weekly team assignments to date, each new team leader is able to incorporate more of the positive functionality into the team leader role. Having said that, both Ray and Bill have emerged as informal initiators as both individuals seems to be at the ready each week to initiate the new plan.
Interestingly, each also seems to have tendencies to function as group harmonizers making sure their enthusiasm for the next plan is received as positive help and not negative meddling for that week’s team leader. At various times all of us move into the orienteer role to make sure we stay focused on our goals and keep to our timelines. This is especially true if our assignment is dependent on information from other team members. In the big picture, this is a natural role for Esther and as an enhancement; she keeps us oriented in a “cheerleader” sort of way.
In our one opportunity to conference a meeting, Debbie assumed the role of summarizer. Due to the extreme variance in time zones, we are not able to “meet” as a group therefore; the weekly team leader also assumes this role and will post summaries of group online discussions or questions. Debbie will also assume the role of information giver providing information and opinions based on her previous experiences when applicable. Although rotating the job of team leader is good for everyone’s experience, it can also weaken the team dynamic.
We essentially expect the team leader to assume the majority of the task oriented roles from clarifying information, dispersing information, coordinating and evaluating our progress as well as keeping everyone on track. In retrospect, when no one naturally gravitates toward these other roles, the associated “tasks” should at least be identified with assigned responsibility to better facilitate and coordinate our efforts. Ultimately, the success of effective teams is built on three fundamental principles to which everyone must subscribe being, mutual accountability, shared contributions and shared values (Makenna, Meister 2002).
Each individual on the team should complete Self-Assessment Exercise 3. 4 (Personality Assessment of Jung’s Psychological Types) found on page 149-150 of the e-text. Report this information to the team, and then, using the template provided, create a team profile based on your results. Assess the strengths and challenges that this profile might suggest for your team. How will your team take advantage of the strengths and overcome the challenges? What type of conflict management tools have you used to enhance your team’s performance? Have these been successful?
What would you do differently? Team A has operated on mutual support and growth in goal accomplishment. It has been a highly committed powerful group with established conflict management tools used to enhance the team’s performance. Among these tools are: promoting full member participation, members being accountable to the team by completing assigned tasks before the deadline, and evaluating and revising members responses to discussion questions and team assignments as and when it becomes necessary. These conflict management tools have saved the team from any dysfunctional processes.
However, successful teams should not limit themselves to just reaching a common goal rather they should strive to reaching higher ground. Reaching higher ground goes beyond mere agreements among team members. It helps in building effective and highly functioning teams. In fact, it nurtures individual development–inviting respect, recognition, trust, and creating a dream and imagination for the team to break away from any dysfunctional practices (Chupp, 2002). Adding the following three elements to the conflict management tools would make a difference in the team’s performance.