Team Membership Experience
The process of creating a functional team requires a great deal of effort, evaluation, and dedication. This is an experience I had gone through recently in my school when we were assigned different projects at school. Our specific project was to design and construct a greenhouse structure that the school could use for its practical lessons. We formed a team of eight members to work on the project for a specified duration of fifteen days. The different team members were selected on the basis of their knowledge and experience. We understood that the project would require a greater sense of collaboration to meet its objectives. However, the experience was not as smooth as I had hoped as I learned that bringing people together does not necessarily mean they are going to function effectively as expected of team members. This paper will focus on the team membership experience I had with my classmates.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Team
According to Lerís, Fidalgo and Sein-Echaluce (2014), Teamwork is an essential aspect of any project’s success. The outcome may be assumed by one individual, but the success was made possible by team members’ planning, cooperation, and coordination. In working with my fellow team members, I discovered that we had greater clarity in expressing our ideas through discussions. We were also able to efficiently use the available resources, and especially time. Right from the designing stage, I felt that there was an improvement in team members’ attitude and motivation towards the project. I believe the improvement came from the wide range of ideas that different team members offered towards the project as opposed to working in isolation. On one part, I felt that Using a team ensured that we had the opportunity of learning from one another and integrating different ideas into the project.
Despite the various advantages of the team, several drawbacks were also noted. One of the major drawbacks of my team was the issue of compatibility especially at the beginning of the project. The team partners had different expectations at first especially at times when the project seemed to be at the edge of falling. We experienced frustrated learning experienced at these times which contributed to breakdown of trust. The other drawback the team faced was blaming each other when things went wrong. There is a time a member proposed the location of the structure, the idea that was voted by the majority. Upon analysing, we realized we focused too much on the weather and other requirements of locating a greenhouse forgetting the finer detail of electricity access. The fact that we were pressured by time, and we had to choose another location all over again to put this key requirement into consideration, conflicts raised between members. Some members were blamed for unequal contribution to the team stating that this mistake should have been pointed out.
The productivity of the team leader and individual members.
We chose our team leader through voting. We individually rated each member on his or her level of responsibility. We agreed to choose a person that we believed could ensure members worked effectively in a team to achieve our goals. A leader that would facilitate co-operation necessary for the team to perform well. The leader we selected didn’t fail us at all. He worked hard and committed himself to creating a supportive environment of trust and mutual respect. It is his repetitive emphasis of expecting mistakes in a team that provided a blame-free culture. That is why after the first incidence of disagreement, we worked smoothly throughout the project and corrected mistakes on the process without arguing. He ensured we had all the information and resources we needed from the library, internet sources, and advice from organizations and groups operating Greenhouses within the region.
In my opinion, I can say the eight members of the team were manageable. Though at first, a few members seemed to free ride when the rest of the members put their best efforts to make the project a success, our leader put restrictions and threatened to kick them out the group.This heightened their work and started providing equal support to the table. We were able to divide tasks equally and everyone adhered to deadlines. This division of work was based on our criteria establishment of how our team was supposed to work. Apart from that, each member was supposed to respect other members and practise interpersonal relationship building. Every member was obliged into observing time and reporting on time for meetings, failure to which, a penalty of was included. The collected amount of penalties was used to pay part of costs incurred in our field survey. To save time, we published our agenda for the meeting in advance and allocated amount of time that was supposed to be spend on each topic of discussion. Our hunger for success, made us vow to individually pay attention to the goals and outcomes of our team.
Team goals and group incentives
Our key objective was to construct a quality structure that was reliable for training students and one that could be used for a long period. We were missioned into providing improved training process by designing a structure that was free to error. We set these goals to tackle the lack of practical experience for the Agricultural students. These are the reasons we were chosen to work on the project because our lectures believed our structure would be simple and based on our coursework, and that is exactly what they needed to reinforce theory work. Our other goal was based on our need which was to provide an example to other students on the benefits of working in a team. We worked to encourage teamwork in the school. To make this possible, we took notes and captured each stage of our design. We published this project and asked our lectures to put it on the school curriculum.
To ensure hard work and commitment, we were provided with some incentives. During the fifteen-day project, we were given money on a daily basis to pay for our expenses. If the project succeeded after the fifteen days, we were promised for a fun trip, and we were to choose the place we would like to visit. More so, if anyone of us needed to start his or her greenhouse in future, we had been promised necessary support. This stimulated us into putting greater effort into the project.
The outcome of the team and lessons learned.
The outcome of our structure was very pleasing to everyone. Students could plant tender plants and watch them grow as their learning process. It could be used for experimenting new varieties. Factors like ventilation, leakage and humidity were taken care of by the design. The location adhered to all requirements of a greenhouse including whether and access to electricity. There were no flaws with the outcome of the project and students started using it right away and our goals of enhancing learning were achieved effectively.
From this outcome and my overall experience of the team, I learned that teamwork offers familiarity with each other and helps one know how to work with other people. I also learned, when working as a group, accountability is carried out as a group other than blaming individual members, so it is important to have same goals and same focus to avoid failures. A team is the best method of guaranteeing success, as members can together brainstorm and develop systems that allow efficiency of work and quick completion of projects (Torrente, Salanova, Llorens, Schaufeli, 2012). Other people’ opinions are therefore valuable, and we shouldn’t hesitate to seek them if we are stuck anywhere in life. Though our team detected and corrected the lack of equal contribution of effort earlier, my advice to future team works would be setting rules and regulations to discipline the team before beginning any project. Waiting for mistakes to be done so that you can put restrictions would only lag a project.
Teamwork requires people to adopt complimentary skills to commit themselves to a common purpose and be ready to be naturally accountable for its achievement (Costa, Passos & Bakker, 2014). This is because, the effort and work done is collective and it can be difficult to tell where things go wrong. For any team to be successful, it must be characterized with mutual respect, trust, and friendliness. The achievement of a team is determined by its collective behavior.However, it is important to consider the different personalities, values, motivations, commitments, pressures and constraints engulfed in a team that should be dealt with in achievement of set goals.
Costa, P. L., Passos, A. M., & Bakker, A. B. (2014). Team work engagement: A model of emergence. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87(2), 414-436.
Lerís, D., Fidalgo, Á., & Sein-Echaluce, M. L. (2014). A comprehensive training model of the teamwork competence. International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital 14, 11(1), 1-19.
Torrente, P., Salanova, M., Llorens, S., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2012). Teams make it work: How team work engagement mediates between social resources and performance in teams. Psicothema, 24(1), 106-112.