A team is a collection of persons who in most cases have a similar goal to achieve. This collection has important elements that influence how the team behaves and how it interacts. It also affects the processes the team will adopt in order to complete its tasks and achieve the set objectives. A team always has roles and responsibilities, time management skills and decision making strategies that are already established and guides the team in executing the job at hand. An effective team is expected to stretch its full potential in solving the assigned task. This paper examines the behaviors of a learning team that comprises three members who are bound together by a learning team project. In understanding the team behavior, issues such as time management, conflict resolution, strategies for decision making, roles and responsibilities of members among other team attributes will be discussed.
The roles and responsibilities of the team should always be composed before the team is even instituted and the team members should know them even before their first meeting (Robbins & Judge, 2009). This roles and responsibilities should be clear and straightforward. The advantage of doing this is that the members become aware of their roles and responsibilities. This eliminates redundancy of the meetings where members are not aware of their expectations leading to confusions. It also eliminates suspicion of individual motives and interests when they propose certain ideas (Anderson et al, 2005). However, this does not mean that the roles and responsibilities of the learning team are static. They are prone to revisions and can be changed from time to time to fit the needs of the learning team.
As far as prioritizing of responsibilities and tasks is concerned, the group has adopted an approach that seeks to share responsibilities among the team members equitably. Each group member has an issue to handle such as adherence to deadlines, time observation and finally task accomplishment. The approach has proved helpful to the team members as all the members have check and balances within the group to guarantee adherence to the expected work quality. Prioritization of tasks has been enabled by breaking the main task into manageable portions with each portion being handled within a strict time limit. This approach has been helpful in the process of completing the team’s learning project.
In any group, decision making remains an issue of paramount importance. A group with assertive members can have a cumbersome decision making process as each member of the group concentrates on the quality of decisions made rather than the cohesiveness of the group (Haritz, 2008). In the learning team, the decision making process remains a collective affair as each member has the power to influence the decision made. This makes the process a healthy one as the contributions made by varying members affect the quality of the decision. Where members fail to agree on a specific decision, democratic approaches takes precedence in that the decision supported by the majority becomes the supreme decision.
However, this approach in decision making may result to internal conflicts that may be detrimental to the success of the group members. When such issues occur, the team leader takes the role of the mediator to ensure that the conflict is resolved amicably. To resolve any conflict in the group, the aggrieved party is given priority to express his or her displeasures with a team member or a collective team approaches. Once the aggrieved party has given its discontent, the second party involved gives its side of the story and amicable solutions are sought. This approach has been an effective one in group conflict management.
Time management skills are vital to every team member in order for the team to be successful. Time management encompasses a number of activities that are crucial and ensure that the planning process is effective (Gupta, 2009). The activities include good activity scheduling, analysis of the time that is spent when doing a certain task and prioritizing the tasks that are most important so that they are the first to be completed. This helps the group to meet its time targets. As a group, time management remains an essential issue to all members. The group must address the issue of deadlines with strictness with members reinforced to observe the strict time deadlines without failing. This is the only way that the group will be able to achieve its set objectives without effectively. Team members should have absolutely good time management skills to help them meet the deadline set to complete certain tasks (Mancini, 2007). The learning team should ensure that each one of them learns time management. The team has appointed one of its members to keep a diary of the team events. This will ensure that a record of what the team has done and was supposed to do is always done. A good managing team will always be effective in their duties and will always be in a position to complete their assigned tasks effectively.
As a team, handling of the project matters is best done through the time blocking technique. This approach allows the team members to allocate specific block of times for the project work. The advantage of this approach is that members are able to concentrate in the assigned task without being distracted by their busy schedules (Anderson et al, 2005). In addition to this technique, each team member must have exhibited a unique approach in time management. These unique approaches are harnessed for the benefit of the team. In this team, there is the task prioritization approach as well as the pie approach of time management. The two identified approaches that have been exhibited by the members differs in that while the task prioritization approach gives priority to a specific task, the pie approach assigns time to tasks on a peace-meal basis, ensuring that segments of the tasks are completed within specified time limits. However, all the approaches adopted by the group members are vital in ensuring that the group meets its objectives within a specified time schedule. The group also handles its project matters by breaking down the project and setting realistic time limits for each part of the project.
Time handling technique is also done with the recognition of issues of Peak and valley performances of team members. As noted by Armstrong, (2006), individual differences in a team can be a source of disagreements as far as the pace of task accomplishment is concerned (Anderson et al, 2005). At times, members of a team may be at their peak in their performances while one member may be on the valley. When such scenarios occur, strict time deadlines should be set to ensure that the team’s project is not delayed. As a team, the assigned task that was scheduled to take a total of four weeks was set to be completed within a period of three weeks to ensure that any unforeseen variance in the performance of any team member was catered for. However, adherence to strict deadlines remains of paramount importance in time management.
The team has to make decisions along the way in solving the task. The team applies the group consensus strategy in making its decisions. This is a decision making strategy that seeks the agreement of the majority participants and in this case the team members. This strategy then goes to mitigate the few objections that were raised during the decision making process so as to come up with the best solution possible. The decision that the team makes does not provide winners or losers. In this strategy all the team members are winners. All participants “own” the final decision. This strategy does not consider a disagreement as a barrier to arriving at the final decision, but raises more areas of concern that the team sets out to research on and come up with the best solution. This strategy also promotes the level of trust and understanding among the team members.
It is evident that the group exhibits dynamic team behavior. It has adopted a unique time management approach that combines the individual time management approaches of the group members and that adopted by the group members. The group has also adopted a dynamic nature in performance of its members taking into consideration their valley performance as well as peak performance. In addition to this, the team has put in place a workable conflict resolution mechanism and a decision making process to ensure that there is group cohesiveness on the long run. Task and responsibility prioritization approaches are also some of the elements that characterize the group behavior. All the identified aspects have had an impact in the overall group behavior.
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