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Team Dynamics

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Team Dynamics
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Team dynamics implies to the effects of the interactions between members of a team who take on various roles and behaviors. Team dynamics can affect teams in many fields including business teams, technology teams, and social teams/groups among other group settings. Over the years, through studies and research, management experts have been able to outline what factors can contribute to positive group dynamics and even poor group dynamics. In this case, we will focus on what could have caused the poor group dynamics in the small group and eventually causing the project to stagnate.
According to Forbes Coaches Council (2016), a team with poor group dynamics is easy to point out due to the apparent indicators. In this regard, one of the indicators that a team is not working properly is a communication breakdown. Communication breakdown becomes evident when members of a team engage in sidebar talks, have low enthusiasm, have low involvement and some members ridicule and bully other members. A communication breakdown can also manifest itself even where team members are talking to each other, but the talks are not based on honesty and understanding. Based on this assessment, it is highly likely that this is one of the factors that led to the stagnation of the project.
A team that lacks trust is also destined to fall. Trust forms the basis of all successful teams which means that its absence in a team will result in dysfunction. As management scholars rightly argue, teams members who don’t trust each other fear spending time together, have negative attitudes and intentions and they shy away from asking for assistance (Forbes Coaches Council, 2016).

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There is no doubt that this factor played a role in the stagnation of the project given that it is a common problem affecting teams in all spheres of life. Equally, unresolved conflict is a lead cause of dysfunctional teams. While it is true that conflict is inevitable when people work together, leaving conflicts unresolved will lead to resentment and consequently failure to execute duties effectively. When people are resentful, they tend to develop negative attitudes which in turn affects decisions and performance. This is visible when people start to miss deadlines, complain a lot, gossip about others, create informal groups and do sub-standard work. This too could be a factor why the group failed to achieve its objective.
Weak leadership can also lead to team failure. When a group does not have a good leader, a member of the group may assume a leadership role. Consequently, it leads to infighting and loss of focus on the groups’ primary goal. Weak leadership is also synonymous with poor or lack of decision-making. The inability to make proactive decisions renders a team inactive, thus failing to move forward. Also, when decision-making is slow, accountability decreases leading to low productivity, and eventually a team gets stuck. Perhaps this could also be part of the reasons why the projected stagnated.
It is also true that many teams are plagued with a lack of team identity whereby members lack a mutual accountability to the team’s goal. This may arise due to conflict between members’ personal goals and team goals, lack of commitment or even poor coordination. Many teams also experience lack of participation from some team members. In this regard, some members may remain silent during group meetings or even skip team meetings. Others may fail to complete their tasks. Lack of creativity and groupthink is also a common phenomenon in groups. Lack of creativity means no fresh ideas are generated to improve performance whereas groupthink implies that the team is unwilling to try new approaches for the sake of team unity. All these factors could lead to poor group dynamics, and it is highly likely they played a role in the failure of the project in question.
There are many strategies and tools a team leader can employ to address the above challenges. Top on the list is improving communication within the team. For instance, effective interpersonal communication is crucial in the implementation of the teams’ goals. A team leader can foster effective communication by encouraging members to take part in active listening exercises. The team leader should also lead by example by acquiring good listening skills and giving effective feedback. The leader should also learn to interpret both verbal and non-verbal messages which will go a long way in improving the teams’ communication. It is equally crucial to create an elaborate communication channel. As such, members will know who communicates to who thus enabling smooth implementation of the project (Fapohunda, 2013).
Once the communication issue is resolved, the team leader should re-emphasize the primary goal of the team. This will help the team members to focus their minds and energies on the common goal of the team (Fapohunda, 2013). It is however important for each team member to communicate his/her personal goals clearly so that if the goals conflict the group goals, the team leader can help in realigning them with the group goals. The leader can also improve the groups’ identity and level of trust by developing a culture of vulnerability, encouraging honesty and team spirit. The ultimate goal is to create a feeling of project ownership among all team members as this will motivate the members to implement the project to completion thus avoiding cases of stalled team projects.
References
Fapohunda, T. M. (2013). Towards effective team building in the workplace. International Journal of Education and Research, 1(4), 1-12.
Forbes Coaches Council. (2016, August 26). 14 Warning Signs That Your Team Is Nearing Dysfunction. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/08/26/14-warning-signs-that-your-team-is-nearing-dysfunction/#16faf5346bd5

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