I am Arsheed Alrashidi and I am from Kuwait. I am a part of a team that consists of four members, each of us belonging to different cultures. I come from a conservative Muslim family and I am one of the very few well-educated people in my family. I have my friends in USA and in the Middle East, as I have been very friendly and adaptable to conditions everywhere.
Anthony Pavlocic is another member of the team. He was born and brought up in Seattle and has been going to catholic schools from his childhood. One of his biggest hobbies is swimming and has been very competent at his hobby. He was the only guy I knew for a few years before we got into this group.
Vince Colvic, or the “da vinci” as we call him got a scholarship from the University of San Diego, as he is an excellent football player. He looks massive and huge, truly like a football player, but in reality is a gentle and sweet person to talk with. However, if someone rubbed him on the wrong side, he would face Vince’s wrath, as he gets emotional rather easily.
The last member in our group and the funniest among all is RJ D’Cruz, a baseball player who also got a scholarship from the University of San Diego. He can make you laugh until your stomach aches and can be a great pacifier in heated situations. Although, I did not appreciate his sense of humor in the beginning, he became an indispensable member of the team as the team developed. Vince and RJ have been friends since childhood and hence had decent rapport going from the very first day.
Group Development Stages
My first impressions about the group were mixed. I really did not believe that the group could really coexist, as we had nothing much in common. I knew one person, another two people knew each other but there were no friends or foes either. We were merely acquaintances that needed to learn how to get along. Though we were acting pretty friendly, there was an underlying tension in the air. Just like the Tuckman Group Development theory, the process of forming was not simple. There were few interactions and long instances of silence.
Once we got to know each other, we had to choose a leader for the team. Again, no one had a clue whom to choose, and I volunteered knowing my PUM assessment. My results showed that I could handle long periods of stress without reacting adversely to people and that vital for a group that was bound to go through a tough storming session.
Since I had taken the reins of the group, there were some rules that had to be laid as guidelines.
1. No one would bypass the group or its leader and talk with non-associates about the performance of the group. This factor was important, not to cause confusion and an internal strife.
2. We drew down a communication channel and assigned responsibilities. While Vince was not convinced that he would suit the role he has been assigned, everyone agreed that he could do the job the best.
3. We decided that even if there were instances where the going went tough and we were not on talking terms, we would still sit at the table and sort out the issues.
The next phase of the discussion was when we started to brainstorm the concept. As Tuckman’s Storming stage goes, this was probably the toughest phase of the group discussions. In spite of the joke RJ would crack every now and then, things got really heated up over some important decision making issues. He had an ENFP personality type while the rest of us had an ESTJ personality type. While he was emotional and talked about dreams and possibilities, we three were very firm on our ideas as we had reason and logic to support our arguments that were not merely based on emotions. As a result, there were times when the group seemed incoherent and as if he was aloof as he was non-confirming with his ideas.
Leadership is never an easy task and it got tougher as we progressed. However, being an ESTJ personality type had its own share of advantages, as I loved the feeling of a community and a group. At the end of the day, in spite of our differences if there was one binding factor it was I as the leader. One of my biggest competencies is my ability to be a logical thinker and my ability to be analytical. Due this competency, I could solve technically difficulties as the group now had a strong bonding after few days of forming and storming.
I appreciated people who would come forward and accept responsibility and Anthony was one fine example. There was a regression analysis to be conducted on existing data and while all of us were shying away from the responsibility, only Anthony took it forward and did a great job. It is in such contingencies that the best out of a person and the best out of a group can be realized. While doing the survey and then a regression, there was immense work due and each one of us had to contribute and collaborate with each other. While earlier there was an amount of infighting in the team in the first few days, there was cohesiveness built in the team that could would help has work till late hours. This was a natural outcome of working together and yet there were inputs by everyone to work upon building a solidifying relationship.
The stage had been set for a strong performance and the stress was immense at this stage. Luckily, as my PU analysis stated I could handle considerable amounts of stress without budging and that is what I did too. While Anthony and Vince were a bit rickety at the end stages, it was my leadership and the ability of RJ to make everyone laugh in the toughest situations that made life easier. In spite of being the toughest guy to crack in the beginning, RJ turned into the most valuable asset in the group.
While the journey of working together was enjoyable, there came the time when we needed to part and as Tuckman says, the stage of Mourning had come. Initially it seemed difficult to pack our bags, as we were unsure of the future in store for us. Some of our relationships got stronger, while some new ones were made and some older ones got weaker. This is the effect of working in a group when you realize better compatibility of a person over another.
It was a great learning experience for me and I could identify a few important areas that needed to be worked upon.
1. I had to work on disruptive emotions as there were moments when I felt I overreacted.
2. I also needed to be more considerate about people’s emotions by understanding their personality type and being more empathetic towards them.
3. I also realized that due to my analytical ability, I was quite straightforward and needed to be more strategic where negotiations were required.