Developing Yourself as an Effective Team Member

A group includes several people who just gather in one place but do not have allegiance, responsibilities or working relationships with each other. People in a group do not always have common goals, objectives, values or missions. Students in one class are the example of a group because everyone has his/her own goals that differ, although they gather in one place. A team is usually several people who do some actions in order to reach a common aim or aims, and they are accountable for their actions to each other. A business group that works to reach any common business goal is a relevant example as well.

A group becomes a team via four steps. The first step is forming. Team members identify what their behaviors should be, test their behavior, become acquainted with each other better, and set goals and rules. The second step is storming. Participants select their leader, develop aims for each team member, and try to overcome the first challenges. The third step is norming. Group members try to achieve harmony in their common work, become more familiar, try to avoid conflicts and reach cooperation in a team. The final step is performing. Team members resolve conflicts efficiently but can criticize each other constructively to improve the general performance.

A good team has several key characteristics. It has a charter, or the purpose of existing. It includes stakeholders, a scope of work, a team purpose, and all goals and objectives the team accepts. A good crew also has its design that shows the way it works. Team design includes projects and plans of a team, its core work processes, roles and responsibilities of group members, as well as all other procedures, processes and systems in a group. Finally, a good team has proper relationships that include trust, respect, communication, synergy, and common crew values for all members.

Working in a team has several advantages. First, a team can reach some common goals and objectives that are hard or impossible to attain solely because common work is more productive. Second, working in a group trains a person to work harder, to respect others and to do his/her best to support the team and reach common aims. Third, a person can study how to play a particular role in a team, and it is more efficient than having several roles at once. According to Meredith Belbin, there are several types of team roles, and each role has its benefits that can be used to reach team goals.

For people who work in a team, it is important to communicate with each other for a number of reasons. First, if group members communicate with each other regularly, they know better about the work process, which goals are reached and which goals are not attained yet, what each team members do, and other aspects. Thus, they can coordinate their work. Second, communication enables giving some advice to other team members, and they can work more efficiently. Third, communication creates a positive and friendly atmosphere in a team, and it stimulates participants to work better. In general, communication in a group leads to better performance.

There are different barriers to communication that may prevent a team from working effectively. The first common example is a team atmosphere where people do not respect each other or do not trust other members. Thus, they avoid communication with others. The second barrier is created by varied roles in a team. Sometimes, people who have completely different roles avoid communication because they consider it improper or unnecessary. Finally, various social characteristics of group members may create barriers to communication, for instance, diverse cultures, nationalities, or social classes.

There are peculiar behaviors that can cause conflicts in a team. The first example is a behavior when a group member has interests that do not correspond to the common interests of the team. As a result, he/she may do something that is not supported by the team. The second example is differences in behaviors and preferences, for example, people who prefer working alone may cause problems and conflicts in teams. The third example is a behavior when a person does not follow the team rules or follows not all of them. It may cause disagreements with other members as well.

In order to reduce the first example of behavior in a team, participants should have a proper outline. It is beneficial to include to a team only the people who have proper interests that correspond to the common concerns of the team.

I am a team worker. As I have this team role, I have such strengths as being able to support the team and ensure that it works together. I am a good negotiator. Moreover, I am very flexible and diplomatic to avoid problems or conflicts. However, I have some weaknesses: it is often hard for me to make decisions because I am not sure that the group supports them; and I often do not have my own position in discussions and making decisions.

In order to improve my ability to work in a team effectively, I should make some personal improvements. First, I should become more self-confident in order to reach decisions. Second, I have to pay more attention to myself and my opinion, not only to the position of my team. Third, I should be more active in discussions and during decision-making process because my opinion may influence the team’s position.

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