Working on teams has been a part of many of the organizations I have been a part of however the majority of the time it isn’t easy to apply team concepts to each scenario. Throughout my life I have played sports, been a part of search and rescue organizations, the military, learning teams and other volunteer organizations such as the sheriff’s department. In the Army we work in teams within each department for an individual unit all providing support for the unit and units under our unit. It is the ability for the team to work with a cohesiveness and pull together each other’s personal strengths to accomplish the teams overall objectives.
As a team, design two incentives created specifically for your team’s dynamics. In the unit I work in I am a part of an Operations section which is the heart and soul of the unit. Within the section each soldier is responsible for an individual area of tasking that contributes to the overall success of the unit. There is an Officer, a Non-Commissioned Officer (enlisted similar to a team manager), his assistant who serves more of an immediate supervisor and then each team member. Although we are all work in different positions performing not only different tasks but different jobs altogether; yet we all have to learn and understand each other’s primary positions so that if one team member is unable to work then what other team member is available is capable of stepping in to cover that position and meet those objectives.
As an immediate supervisor I am responsible for ensuring that all goals or objectives are being met by the required timelines in order for the team to succeed. I bring to the team knowledge, experience, confidence, and leadership which are my strengths. Using the list of group roles identified by Kenneth Benne and Paul Sheats(Wynn, 2012) I fall in the category of coordinator; because of the team dynamics the members aren’t necessarily junior in position or rank which means they are self motivators as well as have their own unique skill sets and experience levels that they bring to the team. Therefore I have found that the leadership style that I bring as a coordinator pulling together knowledge, ideas and resources from the other members of the team and utilizing them is far more effective.
My ability to coordinate versus using a typical management style of strictly delegating tasks and checking the status for completion benefits the team since it avoids confrontation and dissention between the members as myself. Recognizing and showing that the knowledge and skills that each person contributes is valued by utilizing individual strengths creates a balance and synergy in the team allowing the team to easily see how their contributions affect the team’s success. Since we were deployed overseas for combat operations throughout the training period and the course of the year more junior soldiers as well as peers were able to learn from my previous combat experience and the knowledge I have gained as well as encouraging others to share their unique skills as knowledge has fostered an environment that encourages sharing versus focusing more narrowly on one person alone.
Negative Effects of Individual Strengths
There have been times that it isn’t always beneficial to simply coordinate a tasking or try to go with the flow to avoid conflict. A high performance team that has a cumulative amount of skills and knowledge from a diverse background must at times be directed and have tasks delegated when there is conflict or a lack of cooperation between members of the team. The drawback of a team being together for long periods of time is that as it moves through all of the stages eventually it has to break up and members of the team move to other teams and projects. Within this scenario a team not only works together, eats together, lives together and exercises together with very little time to break away from the team and therefore with have a higher level of stress compounded by separation from many other norms as well as the overall austere working conditions. During situations such as this it is not always beneficial to stay with one leadership or management style instead you have to learn to adapt to the groups culture at the time and change as it changes.
Room for Improvement
One skill that I lack in is in a different scenario working with a learning team I have found that since the time frame for the team to move through each phase is so short and suspense times are equally so I tend to fail to become engaged earlier enough on in the process. The teams are formed at the end of the first week but not engaging until well into the end of the second week but only for a short time as the requirement for the team to perform isn’t until well into the third week I am still working mainly as an individual and failing to engage the team as early as possible. Another skill I need to work on is communication in respect to problem-solving; In this area with such as short time for a team to form, storm, norm and accomplish its objectives it is important for the team to communicate effectively any problems they are having either individually or as a team as quickly as possible to allow them to pull together resources utilizing the teams strengths to solve the problem.
Although I work on teams in the military often times I have been taught and needed to be capable of operating independently using personal knowledge and experience to work through a problem in isolated environments. Because of that I find that I will find myself doing so trying to struggle to work through a problem on my own instead of engaging my team, taking the time to learn and get to understand each member to allow them to come together utilizing their strengths. This process is much more effective and will tend to find solutions to a problem much more quickly. Problem solving techniques
One technique I use to work through problems is a speaker- listener technique causes me to work to not simply hear but to listen to the problem to understand what the true problem is isolating it from non essential information that can cause someone to become derailed from the core issue while attempting to solve other problems that are simply effects not the cause. Another problem solving technique that I could use would be establishing a structured forum working to communicate a problem with a group or team communicating effectively and in a timely manner not letting time elapse before utilizing this method. Ultimately this would pull more resources allowing for more creative ideas that are more than one dimensional and would work to foster a more cohesive team learning environment.
McClelland, D. (1961). Methods of Measuring Human Motivation. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand.
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