Teamwork plays a crucial role in achieving a common goal. A “good” team delivers superior performance because a motivated and commited group of people strive to successfully fulfil a goal to the best of their ability. Through the stages of group development, conflicts are likely to arise which hinder group performance. “There are two main types of team conflicts, task led conflict and relationship conflict.” (Jehn, 2013). I have experienced both kinds while working on a group presentation about Teamwork and Leadership in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’. Nonetheless, after overcoming differences, we were able to complete and deliver our presentation effectively. This reflective account will convey my experience.
The Module Leader assigned us with a group. Uncertainty came in to play as I was unsure on what my group members were like having never met them before. My team and I introduced ourselves and together decided that we should create a WhatsApp group to begin discussing the task. Unfortunately, one member was not present but we did not think this was an issue at that point. Later, we realised that getting in touch with him was proving to be difficult as after several e-mail attempts he still hadn’t got in touch. There was no other way but to wait for him to contact us instead. The Seminar Leader advised that we should carry on without him and let him know of all decisions when he joined.
Conflict began to arise when my team and I agreed on a time and place to meet via WhatsApp to begin discussing what movie and topics we would review in the presentation, however, only one team member and myself attended out of the seven. This was an aspect of relationship conflict. Relationship conflict takes place when “there are incompatibilities within a team including tension, animosity, and annoyance” (Jehn, 2013). I did not let the absence of my team members demotivate me and immediately began discussing what film to choose and what area of management to relate the movie to for our presentation. After thoroughly researching with my team partner, I decided that ‘Finding Nemo’ was the film to centre our presentation on. After explaining the benefits of choosing ‘Finding Nemo’, she agreed on the choice too. I then conveyed the message to the other group members on the WhatsApp group. The disadvantage of the other group members not attending this crucial meeting was that they were unable to give their input on the decision making process.
According to Belbin, “for a team to function effectively it needs key roles to be performed by team members—each role contributing a specific skill to the team dynamics.” (Heery and Noon, 2008) His study suggests that a well balanced team is the key to success for any given group task. This has proven to be correct whilst assigning roles to each member of the team during our second meeting. There was a diverse range of skills amongst us which related to the roles proposed by Belbin. ‘Shaper’, ‘Implementer’ and ‘Co-ordinator’ were amongst few. I took the role of ‘Implementer’ and ‘Co-ordinator’ as “Implementers are the people who get things done” and “Coordinators are the ones who take on the traditional team-leader role.” (Mindtools.com, 2017) I acted as the leader because I ensured all criteria for the task were met and decided when meetings were to take place according to everyone’s timetable. Other members took the roles of “Shaper” and “Team Worker” as they were motivating the group to give their utmost best in achieving a good grade.
Conflict occurred again due to disagreements on what role everyone was going to play during the presentation. This is a form of task led conflict. “Task led conflicts exist when there are disagreements among team members about the content of tasks being performed including differences in viewpoints, ideas, and opinions.” (Jehn, 2013) To overcome this, we discussed which members had good public speaking skills because that would allow the delivery of our presentation to be successful. I have learnt from this task that it is best to give a role to someone who is confident in portraying it.
Bruce Tuckman theorised a five-stage model for group development, ‘Forming’, ‘Storming’, ‘Norming’, ‘Performing’ and ‘Adjourning’. His theory suggested that each phase needs to be “successfully navigated in order to reach effective group functioning.” (Bonebright, 2010) My group satisfied all five stages. Stemming from ‘Forming’ by being assigned a group and becoming oriented to the task, to ‘Storming’ which discusses intergroup conflict, to ‘Norming’ where we developed cohesion to work fittingly in a team, to ‘Performing’ the presentation successfully, and lastly ‘Adjourning’ where we parted ways and self-evaluated ourselves.
Teamwork is a highly valued skill which has its advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages include conflict and miscommunication “Conflicts within a team inevitably occur due to clashes in personality and or values, which are empirically proved to be negative for completion of tasks.” (Wu and Lei, 2013) Advantages include motivation and creativity from your peers which can be the ultimate differentiation between a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ team. Through this group task I have learnt the importance of a well balanced team and can now strengthen my skills to do a better job in future group related tasks.
...(download the rest of the essay above)