What makes an ineffective team?
The organization is often the first issue that affects a team and its productivity. If there has been no set discussion of what tasks to tackle and in what order of importance, a team often flounders around for a long time before panic sets in that time have started to deplete. Having a clear leader to assign individuals certain tasks creates direction for the group. The motivation of individuals can set a team back as well. When some members are not interested in keeping up with the enthusiasm of the more prominent members there is divide and annoyance that the person is having to be carried.
How do you overcome ineffective team members?
Helping the team members lacking only works to a certain degree if they are interested in the help at all. If the team member is willing to be helped through the process and guided in the right direction to regain productivity this may be a beneficial solution.
What makes a good team? How can you make the team better?
A good team is based around enthusiasm to impress the other team members in the group with their contributions to the project. Having a person that is trying their best to contribute to a teams project is far better than someone who is more capable but is not interested in contributing. Regular meetings to discuss the process and development lifecycles to see where ever one is at with all team members attending creates good organization and resets what tasks are next and most important.
What makes a great team? How can you keep the team great?
A great team is made of not only willingness to contribute but the capability to contribute without another team member having to constantly look over what they have added and if it is up to standard. Being competent and having trust in your other team members ability to get the task done correctly is essential. This creates a much higher productivity level and ensures the focus of each individual is on their own section of the assignment rather than having to sub manage other work around them. Having a team like this that contributes equally and with sufficient content can go off the rails quickly if regular re-assessment of what has been done, and what needs to be done next, is not a focus. Team meetings and check-ins on what has been completed will help greatly.
How can teams work effectively and efficiently?
Following an SDLC and keeping communication strong throughout the process on where each team member is currently working and where others possibly need help. Ensuring that tasks are being completed on time and to standard with checklists helps a lot and also having a central leader to organize the team and the direction based on timelines.
Part 1 – Using the questions above, or any others that you can find, describe the effectiveness and efficiency of your team so far.
The motivation of some team members is definitely a lot higher than other team members which will happen in almost every team. This is no exception with our team given that some are happy with just passing and others like myself are more interested in passing with a higher grade. This can be frustrating when the person wanting to pass with a higher grade is having to pick up the slack of the other team members who are not as interested. Communication over mediums to organize the group is often met with silence and as timelines need to be met, the consensus of the group goes out the window and group decisions are put on the most involved individual.
Part 2 – How important is it to have an effective and efficient team in your:
- current class of COM502?
- For me personally, I wish to pass the entire degree with straight A’s which I have achieved so far over almost three years of work. Every course is important to me for that reason even if its not my preferred area of expertise in my degree.
- overall certificate/diploma/degree programme?
- I would love to have a group that all team members are equally involved and enthusiastic as I am in completing a task and project. I know this is not reality though and will often be confronted with having to do extra work to not be marked down for other team members lack of contribution.
- potential future employment?
- This I can imagine being dependant on the organization being employed at. If the standard of employees is high then the levels of group work and organization will also be high. Given that, yes! it is important for me to be in a group that works together well. Stress levels are reduced massively when workloads are spread across the group rather than tilted to certain individuals. This also has the benefit of promotion within the company for creating efficiency and earning money.
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Please reflect on the following points:
The example I will provide is based around the IT challenge week where we split into teams to help solve puzzles and problems in 2018. This was around 100 people that were assigned 3rd-year leaders into groups of around 5-6 students.
What do you think contributed to your team success? Write keywords below which reflect your group consensus about what your group did well.
Initial meet and greet.
- As the team was not all of the english speaking origins we had a few hurdles to overcome at the beginning of the tasks. I think the two 3rd year leaders showed a great example of being open with their approach to the members that were 1st-year students. This was by immediately introducing themselves in an open way to the rest of the team by shaking each members hand with a friendly smile to show that they were welcome, with their body language also being relaxed. This created a comfortable atmosphere amongst the team.
- The task was to solve a puzzle regarding the location of the first clue. The leaders of the group made concious effort to include every member of the group in reading the question off of the piece of paper, this also attributed to all of the team members feeling involved in the task and gaining confidence to participate.
- After all of the team members read the puzzle, a potential location was established and we all walked side by side to the Soap Shop around the corner. This showed mutual respect for each student and provided an equal stage to talk while moving forward.
- After gaining a clue to one particular puzzle on the day, a foreign student was able to decipher a clue that involved some complex encryption algorithm. This enabled the other members of the group of foreign descent to become more active in the group after seeing that someone in their situation had been able to contribute to the team’s success.
What do you think did not help your team success? Write keywords below which reflect your group consensus about what you could have done better.
- After having mostly great success during the day’s activities, the puzzles began to become harder and the group began to argue points on which way to go to potentially find the next clue. This created divide as there were two prominent leaders that could not come to a conclusion on which to follow. This could have been solved better by having a mediator to immediately interact between the two parties in a compromise but there was no such appointing authority at the time as this was mainly a casual event. If the event had been slightly more competitive I can imagine this being of large benefit to the team and how it solved conflicting ideas.
- As some members of the team began to emerge as a more dominating personality in terms of what they thought, and the number of puzzles they had solved, I saw a large drop off in the interest of a few of the other less prominent members which most likely could have contributed good ideas but had decided it wasn’t worth the effort to interrupt a more dominant figure. This could have been resolved by having a leader that did not over control the team’s direction and listened in turn to each members opinion on a more consistent basis. Also, a voting system of which idea out of the team they liked the most to gather consensus.
The day was a great introduction into communication between different nationalities and types of students, but the barriers of communication became more apparent as the day grew on. These barriers were not overcomeable but a clear leadership role was not established consistently and a sort of anarchy developed around the most dominating personality. If the leader (not necessarily the most dominating personality) was more of an intermediary, a greater amount of problems would have been solved through involving all six minds together, rather than the one or two people that emerged in overcoming others input through their dominating ego over the day’s challenges.
A team is only as good as its weakest link, and that’s not always the person who isn’t participating as much as the loudest members of a group.
Situation: Class presentation
After finding out during class that we were to present some topic briefly to the class, I decided to take the opportunity to observe the participants in a thoughtful manner.
Being announced that the class was to perform this task I immediately felt a little nervous. This was a new class of students that I didn’t know well and could see that I was not the only one feeling a little anxious about this task. Reactions I noticed was an immediate silence that fell across the room which was due in part to the surprise of the announcement. Faces seemed a little blank and hands started to fidget alongside some nervous laughter. After turning around to face my group and discuss the topic we were to present I noticed that eyes were darting a lot more than usual and scribbling down ideas seemed frantic as there was limited time to come up with an idea on the spot. We decided on our topic and turned to face the group that was presenting first. Nervous shuffling was the first thing I could see as people squeezed into position in a very flat line almost compact in distance. Presenters were looking at the ground a lot to avoid eye contact with the class and focusing mainly on the first person to speak.
Everyone did a great job as this is no easy task, but some signs of awkwardness were prevalent. Shoulders were slouched over and hands seemed to tend towards a crossed holding hand position in front of their stomachs which shows a sign of protection. Others were standing up straight and had a more outgoing persona with chins high in the air. I noticed that these people were also a little nervous, just like everyone else, but seemed to forcefully produce confidence in the way that they presented themselves. The voices of these presenters were louder and more pronounced with smiling showing that they were enjoying what they were doing. The people that had slouched postures were more withdrawn and their voices quieter with less confidence.
This shows that just in the way that you stand you can produce a better presentation even if you don’t feel that way on the inside. Some people when speaking were very animated and looked natural in the way that they used their hands and facial expressions to support their time to speak, others kept their hands by their sides and tended to look around avoiding eye contact rather than approaching it with an outward view.
What I gathered from this experience was that everyone was nervous, but the people that projected themselves through their body language, eye contact, and hand gestures made all the difference.
This is a blog for the Communication 501 NMIT course for the 1st semester of 2019