Working in a group is considered as normal and part of the life irrespective of the position held by an individual. Managers, CEOs chairpersons and even volunteers need to work as a team in order to be able to solve problems (Adair, 1997). The extent of failure or success in a team is the responsibility of each an every team player. There are instances whereby an individual may not realize the role of teamwork but the participation of such an individual in a team determines the productivity or the performance of the team. Every word or gesture from a team player can have an outcome or effect to other members of the team. One word of wisdom from a team player can result to cooperation among the other members, create cohesion and can heal a team (Adair, 1997).
Working in groups is one of the most challenging things in life. There are few people who are trained on how to solve group problems. Most people in teams join groups without good communication skills to apply in problem solving (Caroselli, 2000). There is need for teams to be provided with communication skills and the basic knowledge to enhance easy solutions to problems that arise in teams. The purpose of this essay is to emphasize the importance of proper communication, how members of a team can express themselves, learn how to develop and train and finally illustrate the importance of learning in teams.
Importance of Communication
The importance of expressing feeling and thought effectively in a team is fundamental. This is because not every word or message that is delivered to a team is received with accuracy. This is a very important consideration especially during heated group debates that are meant to come up with solutions to a group problem. When communicating, special emphasis should be made on the speaker so that he/she can own the message and put issues like gender in mind. Acquiring skills to convey effective and clear messages to a team leads to creation of an effective interaction in a group (Fujishin, 2007). For a speaker to be effective some guidelines should be followed such as: the speaker should be specific, communicate about behaviors not the person, share ideas and but not give advice, match verbal and nonverbal communication and reduce anxiety when speaking (Fujishin, 2007).
Since communication is a two way process, there is need for the team players to realize the importance of listening. Fujishin (2007) observed that ‘we were given two ears and one mouth so that we might hear more than we speak.” Many cultures consider talking as more important than listening, as a result of this, people who have better persuasive skills, articulate and are more inspirational while speaking influence a group to pay attention to them. Studies show that human beings listen to 45% of the information in every communication being made, speak 30% of their day’s time, write 16% and engage 9% of the time to reading. However, studies also reveal that only 25 % of what is heard is remembered (Fujishin, 2007). Members of a team should accept to listen to speakers in order to encourage them to deliver their message, the importance of proper listening is that; all that is said can be understood.
Active listening has several advantages, first it proves that one understands what is being said. The listener get involve in active listening. Through active listening, the listener does not act as a judge, the listener therefore does not give advice or judge the speaker but rather reflect the message back to the speaker.
How to develop and train teams
People who join groups are driven by three basic principles namely; affection, inclusion and control. Inclusion refers to the feeling or desire that one need to be part of a something which is larger than him. Control is the ability that one has to make personal influence on the environment around. This makes an individual to feel involved in the acts of problem solving. Other people find it important to be linked and maintain good relationships with others; this is a form of affection (Fujishin, 2007). Group development involves four phases:
Orientation: This is the time spent for new members in a group to know each other; this takes place during the first two meetings. This is an important phase because group members have high anxiety for they have never had past experience of staying together. During this phase, the social dimension of the group is important to be stressed on in order to create a supportive and a warm environment for the future purposes.
Conflict phase: During this stage the members know and understand one another and they can therefore start expressing their views. At this stage, problem background is debated, solutions proposed and debated so that the best solution can be decided. Opinions that are raised by members are debated and this involves a lot of arguments in trying to settle the differences.
Emergence: Team members at this stage have resolved on possible solutions to a problem after debate. The members involve themselves in negotiations that will lead to a common solution that is acceptable to all. The decisions of the members merge at this stage and they can therefore adopt a common solution.
Reinforcement: At this final stage the members have made positive contribution to the solutions to a problem. The group’s social dimension is emphasized in order to develop an implementation strategy for a solution. Members feel high levels of group membership because all the conflicts and disagreements were resolved.
Importance of Learning and Learning Components
Sharing Common Task
The members of team should be aware of the task of problem solving which involves the contribution made by everyone. The members should be aware that the task is the major goal for the formation of a team. The responsiveness and creativity of every member vary from one person to the other. There is need therefore for every one to come up with ideas that are all focused to the solution of the task ahead of the group.
All responses and behaviors in problem solving should interchangeable. One solution to address a problem is taken from a previous solution to address the same problem. This component of learning in a team is explained by theories like nag/withdraw syndrome theory. Fujishin (2007) illustrated the theory as “a wife withdraws because her husband nags but the husband nags because the wife withdraws”. In this case there is no need to put blames on one of the couples because their behaviors are intertwined. The same case applies to problem solving whereby, there is no need to assign blames to the any member of a team because any view by a team member is focused to provide solutions to the problem just like the view of any other member.
This is component of the problem solving strategy in a team. Every member should be allowed to put forward their views regarding the solution to a problem. There are many approaches to solve a problem. Therefore by allowing every member to make contribution, the possibility of finding the most potential solution is high.
When more than three people decide to work together in order to find solutions to problems they form a group. This paper has discussed how such a group can be developed. The paper has considered communication as a major component in a team. Members of a team should agree to communicate and actively participate in the task of solving problem. Lastly, this paper has discussed what members of a team should learn in order to make a team successful.
- Adair, J. 1997. Leadership skills. London: Cromwell Press.
- Caroselli, M. 2000. Leadership skills for managers. New York: McGraw-Hill Publisher.
- Fujishin, R. 2007. Creating effective groups: The art of small group communication. New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.