With globalization and diversity being an integral part at workplaces and educational institutions, it has become all the more important to embrace them in the best possible way and ensure that not only is diversity respected but is well managed as well. Working in a team can be tough as there are different opinions or takes on the similar things and more often than not, these opinions can clash. In such an environment it becomes necessary to understand team dynamics and how proper balance can be maintained to ensure maximum productivity as well. This reflective essay will discuss the problems I had to face in a group activity and how all the group members eventually overcame them. The essay will through light on all relevant approaches undertaken by us, the problem and its root and how all relevant concerns identified in respect to team work.
According to Sullivan & Garland (2010), it is important to distinguish groups from team and their subsequent work dynamic for better productivity and result; resulting in better team management and leadership. A team is nothing but a group of individuals working together to achieve a similar goal, and this was a situation exactly same.
Team work is a boon to students who are often too shy to make a mark in class. According to Wilson, Brame and Brickman (2018) such group projects can ensure that the students learn and develop a healthy attitude towards learning and helping others. Furthermore, these group activities are a nice way to boost confidence as well. group activities have a lot of benefits such as increased confidence, increased cooperation among the group members, increase in innovation, development of interpersonal skills and creativity and many such things which help the student later on in life (Watts., Terry., & Andrews, 2014). However, not all group projects are as easy and smooth as written and spoken about. Similar was the situation of our group project. While all the members of the group worked hard, there were some or the other issues arising, mainly due to overlapping of ideas and poor leadership to steer us in the right direction. I realized this in the beginning itself but it took some time for the rest of the group members to acknowledge this lack (Toseland, 2010).
Our group was supposed to work on a group case study “Merged School Business”. This assessment required for us to critically assess the given case study and find all the loopholes in it. Furthermore, we had to give the right solutions to the problems identified. So far the problem at hand seemed simple, but as we progressed in the project real issues started coming out and we became aware of our individual as well as our collective strengths and weaknesses (M & M, 2016). This project was an eye opener for all of us as it allowed us to work on ourselves in the best possible way. There were several observations I made about myself and other group members, and how I could come up with a way out amidst all the issues.
First and foremost, the Tuckman’s theory of team formation is the basis on which the entire group dynamic functioned for our team (Wardale, Hendrickson, & Jefferson, 2015). Following the four phases mentioned by Tuckman for team formation, we ensured that our group functioned exactly, so as to eliminate any possibility of fallout. The first phase was the forming phase. This was the initial days of group formation when we were getting to know each other and getting comfortable with the fact that things are to be done collectively. The second phase is the Storming phase. This was the phase when we were given the case study and we were supposed to be working at it. This was one of the most critical phases of all as it was reflective of our individual as well as our collective strengths and weaknesses. Right from working together in peace to shouting at each other, this phase was witness to everything. I made certain other observations as well. Amber, a member of our group was quite shy and took a lot of time to open up and contribute to the group. However, the insights given by her were of good quality she still lacked pace and was often the bottle neck. Winnin, was the best of all; always prepared and ready for the next step. However, he lacked basic empathy was often rude to other members of the group for no reason. Both these people, or rather both these personality types are of extreme nature and require a lot of balancing from other members of the group. This was reflective of individual psychology and how their personalities reflected in a cohesive and codependent environment (Harvey, Johnson, & Roloff, 2019). The third stage was the norming stage where all of came together to bring out solutions to the problem identified in the previous stage. This was a pretty relaxing time and better than the previous two stages when all the heat and awkwardness vanished and people finally settled in. Finally, the performing stage came. This was quite easy. By this time, we had understood ourselves as well as each other and the problem at hand. The case study was solved with some excellent solutions and we finally sailed through it.
However, it shall be noted that this process was not that simple and required a lot of other responsibilities which were to be taken care of as well. Action learning is defined as an approach taken to solve real-world problems by taking relevant actions and reflecting over them upon receiving the results. it is the right approach for any team with the need of an innovative approach as it promotes innovation and thinking out of the box (Taylor, 2017). Our group was quite a living replica of this approach. We not only took an innovative and out of the box approach to solve the case study, but later on we gave enough time to understand the approach we took and also thought of any alternatives (if possible). This approach was quite helpful to us as it connected us as a team and ensured proper communication and strengthening of bond as well.
For organization, working together is not enough; cohesion is important, and our group went on defining it as well. In 1951, Festinger and his team defined group cohesiveness as “attractiveness to people which have the best care within the group and attractiveness to the group as a whole” (McLeod & Treuer, 2013). This was enough for out team to apply a simpler version of it. We understood that certain members of our team are pacifiers in nature and can settle any dispute quite easily, so we made the best use out of it by directly consulting the person when such issues would arise, hence, solving our problem to a great extent.
The SPI theory too came to our rescue. The SPI or the Self Perception Inventory has helped us in identifying how our behavioral characteristics change and get affected when working in a team. This helped each and every individual in the team to grow as they could relate these changes happening with them and allowed a lot of self-reflection as well. even though this tools has been highly criticized, we still believe that it has helped us in our personal growth (Lewis, 2015). This way we were not too involved with its technicalities at the same time we could understand how the group dynamics affected our practices as well as our conduct towards each other in the group. This theory brought a lot of awareness in us. The results were quite astonishing. I understood how I reacted to certain situations, specially under pressure. This was an eye opener for me, and I’m glad to have suggested this approach.
Lastly, we implemented the personal construct theory. This theory was developed by George Kelly and focuses on personality and cognition, and how personality is conceived of various notions through which an individual perceives reality (Scheer & Burr, 2015). It is tested by the individual performing a set of tests. This non-invasive approach was helpful for us to understand our own view of reality and the world, and reflecting how we can improve or rather correct it.
In all I would like to conclude that this group activity helped me grow as an individual and as a team member. The activity has led me across a path of introspection and hard work towards understanding how to work in a team, and how to reap maximum benefits out of it as well (Z, 2016).