The first reading is important in the way it introduces the fundamentals to team dynamics. The definition of a team is given out to mean a collection of people with some common purpose. The key issues of teams are also brought out in this section. From groups different types of teams have been highlighted. They include surgical, football and the Tennis doubles teams. This part differentiates between teams and group by listing the main distinguishing activities and behaviors. The characteristics of both effective and ineffective teams have been listed in this reading.
The second reading brings out an experience with team work and the important activities. Team meeting have been well explained in this lecture reading. For instance the content and the processes have been emphasized as determinants of successful meetings. Key aspects of a productive meeting have also been listed. The processes of group development are also highlighted. The processes of listening including the levels are explained. Emphatic listening as an important process is stressed on in this reading.
The third reading focuses of team development process with tam leadership actions and the roles of the leader being highlighted. This section identifies the specific actions performed by the facilitator in a successful team. The section takes the learner through the group development process with specific processes such as forming, storming norming and performing being sufficiently described. The characteristics of team members and the behaviors of the facilitator have been highlighted. Decision making and consensus building have been addressed as important team processes and the role of the facilitator outlined.
The fourth reading has narrowed down to conflicts which are inevitable ion groups and teams. The section sheds light on the causes of conflict in a group plus the outcome in the positive and the negative perspective. The way forward towards better conflict management is a matter of concern in this section. Conflict management through avoidance, accommodation, completion, collaboration and compromise has been well elaborated.
This reading also discusses the issue of feedback in a team. The process of giving and receiving constructive feedback is well addressed. Feedback has been described in terms of the four types that manifest themselves in teamwork. The specific activities of giving and receiving feedback have been highlighted in this reading. The best approach to responding to feedback is a matter that has been addressed towards the end of section four with reinforcement being stressed on as the most effective feedback while criticism as the most ineffective feedback.
The fifth reading is concerned with change and the role of people in either supporting change or resisting change and driving the system to failure. The ending, neutral and the new beginning as phases of change have been listed. Managing and leading an organization towards change is an important issue that has been discussed. In an organization understanding the state of individuals and members in terms of being in the team of feel out is an important thing that has been brought to our attention. This is because this in and out feelings determine the response to change. This section concludes by enlightening the learners on the commonly shared needs in teams that are crucial in determining how change is embraced and managed.
These readings have supported my understanding on team work in various ways. First of all, it is important to state that a team leader plays a very significant role in the success of the team. This has been supported at the beginning with emphasis being laid on the importance of content and process that determine how business is conducted at group level. It is actually the role of the leader to ensure that the right content and processes are followed as the team activities move on.
Without the leader’s direction, team members may stray off the track. The leader has also the role of getting all the members participate in team processes that facilitate success. The readings have also supported my understanding by shading more light on the roles performed by a team leader. This is because most leaders tend to ignore or assume their roles and hence the ineffectiveness of their teams in meeting the organizational objectives.
The readings have challenged me in as far as conflict resolution in a team is concerned. As it is well known, the issue of conflict is a challenge to leadership in any group or team. It is not easy to decide on the best approach to resolve conflict in a team and still achieve consensus in all the issues of contention. Most leaders in teams tend to fear making bold moves and resolve conflict in the best way. Most of them tend to leave nature to take its course and hence their unsuccessfulness.
These readings have changed my approach towards conflict resolution. This is because of the information captured on the best steps to be followed when solving conflict in a team. In the past conflict in my team have been solved using rather inconsistent and ineffective steps but with the readings and understanding of the steps would be very useful.
There is close connection between what has been indicated in the readings and my project team and class activities. This has been manifested in the way the leader as the facilitator performs his roles. In my project team the role of the facilitator is mine and I have always promoted participation of all members and attended to the counterproductive behaviors in teamwork. This is in connection with what has been mentioned in the third reading.
Still on the same in the same group I have managed to resolve differences between two members of the issue of time management and team activities. There had been a conflict with some members claiming that they were attending in time to team activities while others were coming later. This conflict was well resolved through my leadership and members have continued to work in unity for the sake of achieving the set goals.
There is also a connection with the information that has been read because it clearly indicates to us that our group is indeed in the storming stage of development. This has been associated with conflicts between the members and some of them are still confused about their specific roles. It is important to note that members of my team have to a great extend relied on my information. This demonstrates that as the facilitator of the team, in have had positive attitude and continue to be informative to them. This is in connection with what the reading s have addressed in the storming stage of team development.
Concerning consensus building the project group I lead has had problems with members arguing blindly over some pertinent issues. This has been mentioned in the reading to be a hindrance towards consensus building in teamwork. This information therefore would be very useful to enlighten members to avoid such arguments.
In conclusion, teams and teamwork are very interesting instruments that people can work with in organizations to achieve the objectives in a very easy way. It is a fundamental issue that teams be well formed and structured to achieve the intended targets. When providing leadership to teams, leaders have to be prepared with adequate information on how to handle conflict. This is because conflict through research has been a major threat to teamwork.
This especially concerns the contentious issues as they are argued and discussed between the members. If proper leadership is not provided teams end up being scattered in opinion and even physically just because of individual differences. It is indeed difficult to work with teams if there are blocks towards meetings. Some team members might be looking for excuses to skipping team meetings. For teams to be made stronger and efficient, the issue of meetings has to be taken seriously by the members and the leadership. It is the leadership of teams that is supposed to provide direction on the content and processes that drive the team meetings.
If the leader strays from the content then members are likely to loose the sense of direction. This has been the cause of ineffectiveness in teams. The important thing is for leaders and team members to avoid making assumptions on what is required to enhance effectiveness and success of their teams.
Peter Scholtes, (2003), The Team Handbook.