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Obstacles In Team Dynamics

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Category: Technology

Autor: reviewessays 04 February 2011

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Obstacles in Team Dynamics

Abstract

Students face obstacles on a daily basis. These may include personal, financial obstacles or obstacles at work. There are many ways to deal with them, and due to human nature, they are dealt with uniquely. Working within a team environment brings its own obstacles. This paper will discuss obstacles in team dynamics and how to overcome them.

Obstacles in Team Dynamics

By the time people reach adulthood, they have gone through many obstacles in their lives. Perhaps an individual has been passed over at work, had someone close to them die, lost a job, or just lost direction. Those are some of life’s many obstacles. As part of a group, there are obstacles that have to be overcome in a team environment. What are they and how does an individual get past the issues that arise in team dynamics? The prevalence of obstacles inserted into a team dynamic increases the likelihood that a team will fail in its mission.

What is Team Dynamics?

First, we will answer the question, “What is team dynamics?”

“A team is defined as a group of two or more individuals engaged in some joint action with a specific mission or goal. Team dynamics are defined as the motivating and driving forces that propel a team toward its goal or mission.” (Six Sigma Team Dynamics, The Elusive Key to Project Success).

There is usually much diversity in a group. We have different ethnic backgrounds, intelligence, goals…. Humans in general are non-trusting. Building up trust in a team is not easy. No matter how hard he works, grades could still be low due to poor performance of another team member. Taking individual responsibility for everyone’s grades is not an option. I have heard there is no “I” in team. We work together as a team or the results will be negative.

Obstacles

Team members do not naturally work well together. There can be major obstacles that hinder team effectiveness. Each individual must have well defined responsibilities and communication skills.

Not having well defined responsibilities within the group is a major hazard. If the responsibilities are not laid out properly in the early stages, one person may think that another is doing a particular task and it may never get done. This can result in finger pointing and conflicts within the team.

Communications can break down when members do not know how to be clear and concise in their wording and are not open or honest. A member may agree with the team in choosing a topic but not be honest with other team members. They may hold a grudge or think their ideas were not considered. My question is how can a team member’s ideas be considered if they were never properly provided?

Poor Selection of Team Members

Poor selection of the members of a team could occur for several reasons. The abilities of the team may be so diverse that working together is virtually impossible. Another reason could be the abilities of each team member. There could possibly be personality conflicts that cause failure of the team.

A team well built is committed to each other and have common goals. Without the commitment and goal, there is no way a team will succeed. Des Dearlove (2002) wrote, “Professor Belbin discovered that certain combinations of personality-types performed more successfully than others”.

Lack of Shared Responsibility

When building a team, the group must work well as a team and be able to make effective decisions (Ehlen, 1994). People who are committed to each other, have common goals, and put up a united front are part of an effective team. Building shared responsibility is important in the way the team works as a group. Encouragement from team members, allowing open communication and participation in decision-making provides the means for the team to be high performers. Being a responsible member of a team is key factor in reaching a common goal.

Not Having Clear Goals

Once members are assigned to a team, the first thing needed is clearly defined goals and a clear understanding what it means to work as a team (Amtsberg, 1997). If these objectives are not defined, members may flounder and go off in different directions. When they come back together, there is no cohesiveness. The project may take longer to complete or the team members may have to start all over. This can lead to team failure.

Poor Leadership

Working as a team takes individuals who work. Poor leadership can lead to dissention among team members. There are times when one person may try to take over and not allow other members to voice their opinions. This individual may take an “I can do it better attitude”. This is not leadership. A team must work together in order to accomplish their goals. A team member may become jealous if another tries to take over and realize that he does not want to be a part of the team. One of the responsibilities of a good team leader is to keep the team together by motivating and allowing all members to contribute to the project.

There are things that a team member must not do. These include making all decisions for the team, ignoring other’s input, assuming control of all aspects of the task and taking personal ownership of the project.

Inability to Resolve Conflicts

“Disagreements in any team is inevitable, and many successful managers agree that team conflict is healthy even vital.” (Thoman, 2000). If there are no disagreements in a team environment, not everyone is doing what he should. Team members need to be able to voice their opinions without fear of repercussions. Some of these opinions may lead to disagreements. However, as long as these disagreements are not destructive, they can lead to open communication and thought. The communication within a team is helpful in reaching a consensus. The team lead is responsible for properly managing the disagreements, keeping other members on track and not letting it get out of hand.

Lack of Communication

Lack of clear and concise communication can be detrimental to the health of the team. Team members must learn to communicate effectively in order to understand each other. Effective communication builds confidence in team members. The individual will believe that there is value to his or her input and that all team members are listening.

While communicating with each other, team members must be respectful of others and remain attentive even if there is a disagreement during the conversation. Team members must know that they are contributing to the team as a whole. This allows them to take pride in the project and in themselves.

Conclusion

There have been team member who just did not contribute, no matter how much motivation or encouragement they have received. One essential part of a team is that all team members play an active part. A good team leader will take the initiative to keep the ball rolling. This encourages team members to share in discussions and offer solutions in areas that need improvement.

When the dust clears, all members of the group are still responsible for their actions or inactions within the team environment. With the help of team members, their encouragement and ideas, we can build a successful team. Knowing what obstacles may arise, we can avoid most of the problems that befall a broken team. At the very least we will be able to make decisions on how to deal with then when encountered. Overcoming these obstacles is a huge accomplishment to any team! Dr. Thomas L. Brown (1992) has said, “Pick the most powerful machine you can think of, but one that you admire. Be it an IBM personal computer or a Cray supercomputer, a Subaru or a Taurus, that machine is made up of different parts meshing together. When you find yourself part of a group of people who are equally committed to the same mission, when you see that you are appreciated for your special qualities, when you know that fellow team members care about you and your performance as much as they care about their own…well, that’s better than any machine.”

References

Amtsberg (1997). Learning to Work as a Team Player. Retrieved March 26, 2007, from http://www.rec.org/REC/Programs/EMTC/Insight/vol22/technique.html.

Bayt.com. Tips to Succeeding as a Team Player. Retrieved March 21, 2007, from http://jobs14bayt.com/job/career-article-762.adp.

Brown, Tom (1992). Why Teams Go Bust. Industry Week. Cleveland. 241 (5) 20. Retrieved March 28, 2007, from ProQuest database.

Dearlove, Des (2002). The Secret of Teamwork; [Final 1 Edition]. The Times. London (UK). Aug 8, 2002, pg.7. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from ProQuest database.

Ehlen, Dave (1994). Supporting High Performance Teams. Manage. Dayton. Nov 1994 46 (2) 32. Retrieved 18 March 2007, from ProQuest database.

Six Sigma Team Dynamics, The Elusive Key to Project Success. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/71/04712227/0471222771.pdf