Over the course of the semester, I encountered several group assignments. I am glad for the opportunity to provide a group reflection and perspective of my teams functioning throughout the semester in addition to a self-reflection. I believe that our group was highly functional and successful at achieving it’s goals, our separate life cycle and mission allowed us to continue without progressing through the conflict and storming that are typical for true team growth.
My personal thoughts on my group experience both converge and detach in agreement and disagreement with that of the team’s as a whole. The reasons for the areas of disagreement are that which I explore as part of this personal reflection. In addition I will explore the experiences that were most engaging and that which left me with a lasting impression and thus are likely to impact my future work in groups and teams.
Areas of Disagreement. First, timekeeping was an issue that threatened our team’s cohesiveness. Our team met many times outside of the classroom during the semester, including on weekends. The timekeeping of several members was always an issue. I found myself getting angry several times after having waited thirty minutes for others. In addition, one meeting was cancelled without notice to me until I had already gotten to the meeting place. The group was divided on this issue and I believe we used humor and sarcasm to avoid the issue and proceed toward a successful completion of academic goals.
Another area of disagreement arouse out of the timeliness of completion of individual parts of team projects. Several times team member did not complete tasks by group determined deadlines. These failures were overlooked as the team kept focused on the larger objective. I don’t believe this dynamic would have been swept under the carpet as it was, had we not been moving toward a discrete end of the group’s work together.
My Role in the Group. As a whole, our team functioned well. We worked hard, we learned from each other and we were focused enough to perform well. We also grew as friends and were able to balance our playful nature against the task at hand without becoming dysfunctional. Roles within out team were not predefined and often shift from project to project. My own concern in the beginning had to do with my own ability to speak in from of the class, given my fear of public speaking. I was concerned with my ability to contribute to the group’s effort while avoiding public speaking. As it turned out, I was comfortable in this role, and I increasingly took on tasks that required me to speak in this format. I believe this had to do with several factors. First, the more our team worked together, the less I feared being unable to contribute in a meaningful way and the more I felt confident representing us when I spoke. In addition, I believe the group format of this course and the dynamic instructional method which engaged the entire class to perform in many roles, provided me a sense of confidence within the larger group, the class.
Lessons Learned. I have learned many things from my experience working in a group in this class that I believe I will be able to take back into my own work environment. Some of what I’ve learned comes from the internal dynamics of my own team and some from the class as a team. The first echoes back to that which I just wrote about, trust. In my own work setting, I tend to take on too much work. Not because I have no help, but because I don’t trust other do complete a task with the same passion or thoughtfulness that I would. This lack of trust has been characterized and pointed out over the years as an inability to delegate and also as a need to learn to manage better. The very fears I have which have lead to these characterizations in the past, were very prevalent at the onset of our groups work. I feared that some would not perform and maybe cause the group problems. I feared that I would be misunderstood if I did not share my opinions and tried to “get mine” out of our experience. However, I did come to trust my team and my fears were dispelled. I learned that if from the beginning, you can make sure that all member of your work team are on the same page and all have a vested interest in the group’s performance, all will put forth a positive and worthy effort. I learned that the collective contribution of a group of diverse people, who are mutually vested, will not only produce a good product, but a better product.
I have learned that an organized team is not just a sports team or formal work group, but a number of people working toward a common goal. This sounds simplistic, but for me there is much meaning here. In my own job, I’ve never thought of those that work for me as a team. Rather, I have always seen these individuals as individuals. This is in part because they each have their own programs and projects..
The Yellowbirds had a short successful flight as a team. We attained our goals and we worked well together. I do however feel this would not have been a turbulence free flight had our journey been a longer one. We had much growth ahead of but we did learn, we did achieve, and we did enjoy our team experience. The semester was one of great learning for me. Not only on the subject of groups and teams, but in personal growth as a result of my learning in team. To me, this individual learning and growth that comes from one’s experience working in a team is essential. By learning as an individual, my next experience in a team will not only be better for me, but also for the team I am working with. It is this cyclical learning that as individuals that creates successful, diverse and dynamic teams.