I think that most of us would agree that team work doesn’t always look like this:
The experience of working on a team can be an inspiring, productive, satisfying experience. It can also be uncertain, especially when working with people that you have not previously worked with. There are the questions of who will take on which role? Will the team be focused? Will the team work efficiently? Will we communicate well? Will everyone contribute?
This afternoon we were presented with our first team assignment as part of the Introduction to Research course in MALAT at RRU. We were tasked with creating a presentation to explain how we would use different research traditions to address our topic. There were three or four people assigned to each team. The timeline was tight, as the presentations are to be made in the morning, not to mention we have a lot of other course work to address as well.
We listened to each other, we shared ideas, we considered one another and we worked collaboratively. We got the job done efficiently and all three of us were happy with the experience (at least that’s what the other two told me) and with the work that resulted from it.
Yesterday, the subject of one of our group sessions was about working in teams. One of the team work concepts that we discussed was Tuckman’s model of group development. In our experience today, we pleasantly skipped over the storming stage, spent a brief time in the norming stage and moved promptly into performing.
Tuckman's Model of Group Development
When I reflect on what attributed to our success today I can identify the following:
1) Respectful Communication
· We listened patiently
· We spoke in turn
2) Common Goal
· Consideration for the best interests of each individual within the team
· We returned to the question of “what do we need to accomplish” throughout the process
· We were able to build on each other’s thoughts and ideas, rather than getting tied to our individual thoughts
· We each took sections to look up and we did some of our work in a shared document
Maybe being a part of a new team can be seen as an opportunity, starting off without biases of how the experience will be. It is valuable to reflect on what worked well and to consider how those attributes can carry forward to other team experiences.