Friday, 21 November 2014

TEAMWORK... Is it really needed? #TeamWork

  • Introduction
To test out the benefits and drawbacks of Teamwork I was involved/took part in three activities that required me to work with a team. These activities included balloon activity which my team had the task in building a balloon chair which had to be stable enough for someone to sit on, the other activity was called the bridge activity, this involved developing a stable bridge between two tables where two objects bust be able to be placed without dropping/bridge collapsing. The last activity I took part in was the egg drop activity, this involved securing an egg by covering up and drop it, and the egg must land safely without breaking.
  • Methodology
Balloon Activity: The first activity I did was the balloon chair activity. I was assigned the role of coming up with a design on how the chair should like. This design decided on where each balloon should be place and how the chair would look like. The design was good as the final test work great, but previous test had some errors, however I changed and improved the design to make it perfect.
Bridge Activity: I was assigned leader by the team members within my group and with that title I was given the responsibility in deciding on how many papers we were to use and the type of bridge we will design. I took authority as I had previous experience and used this to our advantage by forming a simple yet effective bridge that was able both objects (apple and banana).
Egg drop: Unlike previous activities, I had the role of just sharing ideas. However, my ideas were heard and was used to make the egg as safe as possible. I did take some part in wrapping and covering the egg up but not as much as I would have liked too. Either way the outcome was positive; the egg drop was a success as the egg was protect by the covering material used.
  • How did you do

Balloon Activity: As previously stated in the methodology, I was the person who came up with the design of the balloon chair which turned out to be a success. While the chair was in the process of being formed, I motivated my team and gave clear instructions on the size of the balloon and where it should be placed. If anyone had any ideas on improving the balloon chair they will speak to me and as a whole group I will run a discussion if their idea should be approved. This shows that I demonstrated democratic leadership styles as I did what was best for the team and came to a decision by first hearing what others have to say. Another way I showed this leadership style is that I was focused in my team succeeding and this involved me motivating them and making them feel part of the team and not just another member. However, Olivia who was in my team showed autocratic leadership styles as she was more focused on only having her ideas heard and what she says goes without consulting other members of the group. Her leadership style wasn’t the most suitable for this activity and is why I was chosen as leader to lead myself and the team to success.
Belbin’s Theory: I believe the Belbin role I took in this task was the “Plant (PL)” as this role fitted me perfectly as I was innovative and creative in the balloon chair activity. I came up with a variety of designs that were creative and designed to be different to one another as the more different they are the easier it was to find the best possible design by combining the good things about each design and merging them into one. Another aspect of a Plant is being able to solve problems and in this task problems did occur as some of the designs didn’t work well and I used these test prior to the final testing to sort these problems out.
Tuckman’s Theory: Tuckman is a theory that involves stages. The first stage that my team faced was forming. As we were all familiar in working together, we were comfortable in working as a group and we wasted little time in deciding a leader and individual roles as we knew who was most suitable for leadership and what skills each member had that could be of use to the team for this Balloon Activity. The stage was storming, this was the stage where my team delayed as we wanted to come up with the best possible strategy. The time we wasted was of good use as we all shared our opinions and came up with the best strategy that in the end lead us to success.  The third stage of Tuckman’s Theory that we faced was norming, this was possibly the easiest stage out of the three as we all knew which roles we would have before hand and did not hesitate on coming to an agreement on which roles and responsibilities we had for this balloon activity. Finally the last stage of Tuckman’s theory is performing. For the balloon activity at this moment we were all prepared to get to work and were now ready to begin building the balloon chair. The leader (me), never intruded in others work as we all knew the skill levels of each other and were comfortable in letting others get on with it. We performed well as the chair was able to hold a member of our group without any troubles and had all the feature that the teacher asked the hair must have.
 Bridge Activity:
On the day of this activity, I was chosen as the leader of the group and I believe without me my team would have lost as I came up with the design of the bridge and organised my team well to succeed which is why we were the only team to do so. This is why I showed autocratic leadership styles as I’ve previously done this task and had some experience on it. I knew what to do and how to do so planning time was more of me speaking and my team listening rather than everyone having input. We completed the bridge in half the time the others did as I organised everyone to do one task individually and no one objected to it. However, a member in my group called Matthew believed that his and others ideas should be heard. He helped others members and try share his ideas with the group and have input from other members, which is a clear example of a democratic leader and as an autocratic leader, I chose to disregard his ideas.
Belbin’s Theory: For this activity my role was precise to the one in Belbin’s Theory which is the Completer-Finisher. I took great attention to details on how the bridge should look like, how each paper should be formed and attached. This made sure the bridge was accurate and was ready to be tested when the time we had to complete the task was over. The Completer-Finisher fit my role perfectly as I made sure that the bridge was designed up to the standards of being able to hold fruits.
Tuckman’s Theory: As previously stated above, the first stage of Tuckman’s theory is forming and this I believe was the hardest stage of the bridge activity as my team did not know each other personally and weren’t comfortable at first. So this was a necessary that my team had to face and after communicating for a bit, I decided I should be the leader as I had previous experience on a similar activity to this. We were still unsure what roles we each had, but I continued to answer any questions they might have about the activity as I was the leader and the one with most experience. The next stage as storming, instead of everyone sharing ideas, I was the only one sharing ideas as I knew on the best design for the bridge to succeed. No one disputed about me taking this approach and we then moved onto the next stage which was norming. At this stage I was giving everyone specific roles and dividing them in two small groups with who I believed they’d work best with. The roles were decided/accepted and I made all the big decisions that were needed to be made. Now we were in a situation where we were at stage 4(performing) in Tuckman’s theory. This is where my team were putting my strategy into action and was doing as I stated. We were now in situation where we were on the right in achieving the goal of the bridge being stabled and both small team groups were working alongside each other to succeed.
Egg drop activity
As this was a completely different activity task and I was unaware on how to complete this task, I took advices from other members of the group that motivated me to work harder in helping the group to succeed. I believe I contributed a lot in this task and after learning the basics of what we had to I took the more leadership role as democratic leader as I allowed other people’s ideas to be heard and not allow one person making all the decisions. However, one person did show autocratic leadership which was Ryan. He believes his opinion is greater than everyone’s and I objected to that as I thought everyone in the group should have a fair chance in sharing their ideas and that their ideas should be considered before a decision is made. Which is why we succeed as all view were heard before we came up with a strategy on how the egg should be wrapped.
Belbin’s Theory: In the egg drop activity I took the more Team Worker role that is explained in Belbin’s Theory. As at first I was unaware of what to do so I was only able to be supportive to the group and a listener to make sure I was doing everything correctly by following what was being said in the planning stage. I socialised with the other members of the group quite well as I needed to ask for help when I was stuck or confused about a task I was given by the members. This is why I believe I was sort of a liability in the beginning as I was asking everyone questions about the task and delaying the progress of the team. But after understanding what the task was, I begin to fit perfectly as a team worker.
Tuckman’s Theory: The first stage that my team face was forming. Forming was a difficulty to pass as I was unsure on what we’re doing at first and was unclear on what role I’d have in this Egg Activity. However, after a period of time a leader was chosen and made it clear to me on what this task was about by answering a lot of questions me and fellow members had. This allowed us to progress to the next stage which was storming. Some members were beginning to be distracted, but at this stage we began making decisions that were needed to be done. An example would be deciding on how we would be wrap the egg, the amount of layers we would wrap it in and similar decisions that are needed to be done before reach the next stage which was norming. We finally all agreed on the major decisions and were split into smaller groups by the leader. One to come up with the design of how the egg should be wrapped and the other wrapping the egg. We all engaged in social conversations in the process and found this task enjoyable. We were finally ready and reached the last stage in Tuckman’s theory that is performing. We were all aware of the roles we each had in the success of achieving the task that was to successful drop the egg without breaking. Disagreements did occur, but was quickly resolved and were used positively to improve our teams work rate and the design of how the egg should be wrapped.
4.0 How did others do?
Balloon activity: When my team was coming up with an idea on how the balloon chair should be designed, we all came together and had a big discussion inputting all our ideas. Waheed took the role as leader of the discussion and made sure everyone’s ideas were heard and no one was being disrespectful to another for saying something that may have been incorrect. He kept the team motivated throughout the discussions and is a reason why we were able to sort all disputes peacefully. Which is why I believed he was the Resource Investigator as he was negotiator and was seeking the best option (idea) that was most suited for the Balloon Chair to be a success. My team were able to pass the forming and storming stage in Tuckman’s theory as were already comfortable in working together for example Waheed and I were already familiar and friends beforehand so we weren’t shy of sharing our ideas and knew what role we both suited in this balloon activity.
Bridge Activity: As I’ve previously stated, I was an autocratic leader so there wasn’t much sharing of ideas as I believe I knew what was best in this bridge activity. However, without the members working well, we wouldn’t have succeed. In particular, Adam worked extremely hard in making sure that the bridge was done to a high standard and had no faults. This is why I believe Adam was the Sharper in Belbin’s Theory as he was motivated throughout the activity and achievement-driven in wanting the bridge to be a success. The stage that Adam shined was the performing stage in Tuckman’s theory as he was able to perform successfully and knew clearly what he was doing without bothering other members asking for help.
Egg Activity: When we were storming the team was in perfect harmony as we all were on the same page and were deciding on what roles we would be having. The leader at this point was Michelle as she was deciding each role we were going to have and why we had these roles. I believe Michelle fit the Coordinator perfectly in Belbin’s Theory as she was confident in taking the leadership role and was able to make everyone working on a shared aim which was for the egg to drop safely without getting destroyed.
Balloon activity: Even in a successful team, conflict occurs and for us the conflict was deciding on the design of the chair. We all had different views and all disagreed on each other’s ideas. But as a team we overcome this by taking all the good aspect of each idea and merged it into a ‘perfect’ idea. This conflict was necessary as it allowed us to design the best balloon chair.
Bridge Activity:  There was no conflict in the bridge activity as I kept the team organised and made sure that decisions made were most suitable for our team to achieve the task given. Another aspect that allowed us to avoid conflict is because we all worked together in creating the bridge and never slacked off for a minute. We were all motivated in producing the best bridge and to win the task.
Egg drop activity: We faced a major conflict that was a dispute between me and another member. They believed I was delaying the group as I was completely confused on what this task was and was acting childish for not listening. I disagreed completely and the conflict was going to continue until the leader stepped and explained clearly to me what we were doing. The other person that was involved in the conflict apologised for assuming I was delaying the team on purpose and we progressed.
  • & 7.0 Recommendations/Conclusion
Balloon Activity: The major thing I would have changed about my team was to have a variety of unfamiliar faces as I would have shown my skills more if I weren't around people who believed were more suited to a role and each member could have tried something rather than the same old role. This would have benefited the team significantly as we would have been able to improve on skills we were so uncomfortable in. To conclude for the balloon activity, it was a success even without implementing this recommendation as the team worked really well together and made sure the balloon chair was finished in time and able to handle the test (of having a person sit on it).However, having the team work with others who they aren't so close with would have improved the way team, but would have caused disputes between members if this did happen.
Bridge Activity: I hate to admit, but I would recommend allowing other members opinions being heard as it would have been more enjoyable for the whole group and we could have made an even better bridge compared the dull one we (me mainly) designed. One way I would change how the team worked is by splitting the workload equally rather than having one person doing more than other. This would have made the team’s chemistry better and allowed members to communicate more with each other rather than being too focused in completely a task by themselves.
Egg drop activity: One recommendation I would suggest is for the members of group who have knowledge of the egg drop activity to speak before any leader was chosen rather than rush to progress leaving members out of the blue for most of the task. This would have made the task go more smoothly as we would have all been on the same page. To conclude, this activity was a success but not an enjoyable one as we did have conflict that delayed the progression of the group and if we kept our personal opinions out of the discussions this wouldn’t have occurred. So having the team members interested in the aim rather than communicating about nonsense that is not relevant to the task. This would have made the egg drop activity a bigger success than it was.