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Virtual teams are fabricated by individuals who convene regularly to achieve the desired goal. In many cases, virtual teams work together by electronic means. For instance, individuals from the diverse geographical area can make a decision to work as a team by electronic means. As such individuals in the team usually telecommunicate with each other via a variety of telecommunication techniques, for example, by webinar service, phone, and video conferencing. Virtual teams also work in achieving the desired outcome, i.e. tackling a class assignment. In this paper, a team member in a group of three people assigned a virtual team assignment and team presentation will discuss and reflect on the achievement of the group and the challenges that were encountered during the team discussion. Team stages and development, team trust, team decision making, team role coursework, team conflict, and the best practices learned from the virtual team assignment and team presentation will be discussed.
For a team to be successful in its operations, the individuals on the team need to work jointly to guarantee better team results. Teams develop into high performing if the individuals in the group work through their personal disparity and are in agreement on standard principles that manage behaviours (Lumenlearning.org, n.d). Teams are effective when the development process results in strong relationships and high performance. According to lumenlearning.org (n.d), team development is the method of learning how to work jointly in an effective way. Bruce Tuckman, come up with a 5-stage development method that ensures high performing teams. The stages are as follows: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. These stages are discussed below
This stage of team development is characterized by high dependence on leader for guidance and direction (Lumenlearning.org, n.d). At this stage, members of the team are not able to agree on the aims and objectives of the team apart from those which have been provided by the leader.
In this stage, decisions are hardly reached within the group and members seek leadership positions as they attempt to relate with other members of the group. The stage is one of the critical and most difficult stages to pass through as competition, individual personalities and conflicts may develop. In this stage, the team performance may go down if the members disagree on one item.
In this stage, the team members are required to establish norms that are to govern the work communication and processes content (Mello, 2013). The team individuals are able to come up with an agreement under the direction of the team leader. This means that they are able to formulate key choices that are able to enhance the team performance. The responsibilities and roles are also undoubtedly defined and accepted by the individuals within the group. The stage is also characterized by a delegation of the minor decisions to the individuals or small teams. The leadership under this stage is shared one. The organized company has not been able to reach this stage.
This stage is pigeonholed by the strategic consciousness of the team. The team is more determined on shared visualization and is able to perform its functions without relying on the guidance of the leader. In this stage, the individuals in a team share and collect information to ensure that they solve the problem at hand (Mello, 2013). The individuals of the team are focused on attaining the team objectives and goals, and are involved in making strategic decisions that contribute to high levels of performance.
In this stage, most of the teams' work is usually finished (Lumenlearning.org, n.d). The importance of this stage is mainly covering the final tasks and ensuring the documentation of the results. Since the work at this stage is minimal, members of the team may move to other teams or the team may be disbanded as its role is accomplished.
We were three members of our team, and each individual was tasked with his/her role. We never chose who was to lead the group but we assigned each member his/her responsibility. Member no 1 was to research the topic in the library, member no 2 was to research the topic through online methods and member no 3 was to research the topic through the readings given by our tutor. After that, we were to meet three times a week to discuss the topic. We discussed every point that each member had then we made a decision on which points to include or exclude in our final copy.
To ensure a better team, each and every individual in a team should be included to give his or her idea. According to Cook (2010), team decision making is important in performing interdependent, ambiguous, complex, and dynamic tasks. Team members require to be entirely engaged in the decision making the procedure to ensure that they work to their full potential. Lessard, Morin & Sylvain (2012) believes that collaboration amid the individuals in a team guarantees that there is a consensus in the decision making. Managers or the team members in a group need to influence each other so that they can make a proper decision. In our team, since everyone was just a member, we influenced and challenged each other so as to increase the positive outcomes. Each member was given his/her time to present his/her points and later we came to a consensus on which points were important to include in our final presentation.
Due to differences in making a decision, conflicts may arise. Conflicts are the negative result of divergence between the team individuals that arise due to the diverse attitude, expectation perception, and values of the team. Numerous barriers may occur at some stage in team formation. This may include poor coordination and cooperation among the team individuals, indifferences between the team members, and lack of proper communication. The attitude of the individuals in the team may bring much conflict if not addressed in the initial stage of forming a team. For example, in our initial stages, uncertainty was high and the members were looking for authority and power. As a team, we agreed that each and everyone had his/her role to avoid conflicts. The roles and responsibilities were clearly defined and accepted by each member. One member showed poor coordination and cooperation at the initial stages as he did not understand the assignment well. Luckily, as members, we were able to realise this in advance and we discussed the topic until all the members were content.
Team trust is essential in ensuring that the group achieves its set goals. A team that lacks trust with each member is deemed to fail as no one can agree with the other on what to implement or what ideas to include or exclude in a given task. Cooperation in a group ensures that individuals in a team work jointly in achieving a set goal and this ensures team trust. Team trust is not easily gained but once gained the team members may feel like working with everyone in the team. Each member of our team had trust with other members as we agreed that anyone having problems should share with others and most of us were able to share even the personal problems encountered while collecting data.
Great communication, engaged team members, reliability, team player attitude and open dialogue ensured better team collaboration. An example is where one person was allowed to speak at a time and give his/her opinion. Then, as a team we sat down and discussed the issues and came up to a conclusion. The best practice learned from the team is that communication is an important tool in ensuring that the group achieves its set goals. In our assignment and presentation, communication was important as it brought lively team work, ensured proper sharing of ideas, and ensured proper analysis and processing of the information gathered. Communication in a group is significant as it assists the individuals in the team to institute unity amongst them and work towards achieving a set goal. The other best practice, I learned is that through communication, team individuals are able to recognize their individual problems and sharing their problems with the team members helps them to solve them. Proper communication ensures better and improved decision-making process that is enabled by the teams sharing of ideas, brainstorming, and implementing the best ideas. Therefore, I learned that lack of proper communication may guarantee stagnant activities in a team.
Cook, M. (2010). Decision making in complex environments. Aldershot [u.a.: Ashgate.
Lessard, L., Morin D. & Sylvain H. (2012). Understanding Teams and Teamwork. The Canadian Nurse 104, 3: 12.
Lumenlearning.org, (n.d). The Five Stages of Team Development. Retrieved from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-principlesmanagement/chapter/reading-the-five-stages-of-team-development/
Mello, J. A. (2013). Strategic Human Resource Management. Florence, KY: Cengage.
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