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The essay is discussing the Individuality, mode of communication and its effect within the team. Communication can be efficient within a group through effective individual interpersonal skills and determination which can be used to cater for the team dynamics.
This essay reflects on the effect of team dynamics on corporate communication. Individuality within a group deals about the interpersonal skills of each member in the team, the skills include the morale, pride and spirit of each member in the group. This skills has a vital role in the effective communication of the group.
Gene Klann(2004, p.7) explain how pride, morale and spirit can be used to build a team. Morale is the reflection of attitude or mental condition of an individual or team. People with high morale are generally positive, optimistic, cooperative, and supportive of their team’s vision and mission, they have a can do attitude, persistence, willingness, and determination to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission. Also, people with pride respect other members of their team, delight in the team’s achievements, and believe that whatever they must face, they can collectively and successfully handle it. There is a justifiable belief by the team members in their personal worth, as well as that of the team which results in the members identifying with the team and what it represents.
Spirit is an animating principle that reveals itself in the vigor, energy, and courage of the team members. It is routinely seen in successful teams and in crowd reactions during an event. Spirit can be contagious, motivational, and inspirational. It can be generated by the team’s leader or members with encouraging words, hand clapping, backslapping, singing, and shouting. Therefore when morale, pride, and spirit are present within a team, productivity is high, relationships are strong, and it is actually fun to go to work. Without morale, pride, and spirit, the situation is very different and there will be dissatisfaction, lethargy, negativism, friction, and lack of cooperation which affect the effective communication within the groups.
More so, when a group have elevated morale, pride, and spirit among themselves, it brought an effective communication that leads to various benefit including quality produced by the groups, time management of solving problems, reduce complaints, grievances, sabotage, and substance abuse. Consequently for an effective communication to take place in a groups or team there should be an efficient building of team interpersonal skills.
2.0 Team dynamics and Corporate Communication
Hunter (2007) reports that the definition of dynamics is : “An interactive system or process, especially one involving competing or conflicting forces”. Team dynamics is concerned with the interaction between members of the team, and how it relates to the performance of the team. It also relate to the interpersonal and interdependent process of work; how things get done by and through people, and how team members relate to their task and to each other J. Martin(2004).
Senge(1990) observed in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, that the horse boxer always has the same answer to any difficulty, “I will work harder”. At first his well intentioned diligence inspired everybody but the harder he worked the more work had to do. But well intentioned individuals who have the best interest of their result will also say “I will work harder” when the teams of which they are a part fail to achieve the objectives set. The observation of Senge(1990) means that people within a team will only have the interest of the result but doesn’t want to take any responsibility or contribute at achieving the set objectives by the team.
In the cabin dance off activity in camp , nominees from the cabins was to learn the dancing step from our lecturer and teaches other members in his or her cabin. In my cabin, some of us did not learn the steps from our cabin nominee until few minutes for the dancing presentation. This really affects our cabin performance because most of us are following the steps of the cabin representative during the presentation of the dance off.
An observation of Whetten(1989) is that any manager who becomes more effective at developing high performing teams within their organization will directly contribute to an increase in the team productivity. Whetten(1990) observation shown clearly that building high performing teams within the groups through effective communication will makes the teams to present a better result.
The factors that influence group member’s perception of themselves as a team were studied by Higgs and Rowland(1992). The dominant factor was found to be individual group member’s opinions as to be significance of their independence on others within the group. This implies that the higher the perceived interdependence on others within the group, the higher the likelyhood individuals would consider being part of the team. This compliments the findings of critchley and casey(1984) who identified the perceived need for effective exercising of interpersonal skills as a key aspect of interdependence within a team, therefore the need for building morale, pride, and spirit within a team was found to be highest when team members perceived themselves to be essential in order for the team to achieve their objectives.
2.1 Communication Theory
Communication may be defined as a two way process whereby information is sent from one person through a channel to another person who in turns reacts by providing feedback. The communication model developed by Shannon and Weaver(1949) compartmentalized communication into discrete units which progressed from left to right, starting with the speaker. The process started from the sender which is referred to as the source. A person usually sends a message within a given setting, because of a need to convey information, express feelings, obtain feedback, or satisfy some other specific need. Figure 1 is a schematic representation of Shannon and Weaver’s(1949) model of communication, it is important to note that information can be misinterpreted during the time it is conveyed from the source to the destination due to noise in the environment where the communication is taking place. This can later affect the feedback of the receiver. An instance occurs from the camp activities:
“In one of the camp activities, the team leader was trying to pass a political idea to the group member, so as to win the activity but one of the member didn’t receive the information properly due to the noise within the class which later affect the plan and feedback expected by the team”
Information Source Transmitter Receiver Destination
Figure 1 Shannon and Weaver Linear Model of Communication.
According to Finnegan(2002), communication can be studied empirically and critically at different level of human experience, which is centralized to understand human behavior. These levels identified are:
Intra-personal: This how individuals process information
Inter-personal: This how individual interact to influence one another
Group: This is how communication dynamics occur among many individuals
Community and society: How communication builds or changes the agenda of important issues.
The Finnegan(2002) empirical study says that applying scientific methods to the study of communication; as in the study of behavior change resulting from exposure to a communication campaign and the Finnegan(2002) critical study apply the idea of cultural, literary, or normative criticism to the study of communication. Shannon and weaver(1949) proposed that information can be misinterpreted during the time of conveying the message but Finnegan(2002) proposed that the various levels of human experience he identified can be a significant influencing factor on information misinterpretation. The building of team interpersonal skill creates strong relationships within the team which cater for information that may be misinterpreted by any member in the team. Therefore, communication within a team member is effective when the idea or message as it was initiated and intended by the sender, corresponds closely with the message as it is perceived and responded to by the receiver.
2.2 Personality and Team Communication
According to Mosby’s dental dictionary, Personality Test is a test that usually involves a standardized series of questions or tasks, used to describe or evaluate a subject’s personality characteristics. It is used as a tool to help dysfunctional teams learn more about each other and begin to work through some of their differences. For each team member taking the same personality test and then sharing the results with other members create a more functional and cohesive team atmosphere, once it is realize among the team members that someone has a different personality type which might make them more suited to one type of communication than the other and can work together to create the best team dynamics.
In Joint Application Development literature on management development, John and Frederic(1997) says that three characteristics of productive teams are strongly related to individuals seem to dominate effective leadership, intra-team communication, and group cohesion. Although all the three characteristics are at least partially dependent on the personality type of the individual involved.
Myers and Kroeger(1988) suggested that diversity of psychological type results in successful group performance and a typologically diverse team may take longer to accomplish a project but the end result will always be better. This implies that there are opposing personality types that help the team process. A case study in journal of management by John and Frederic(1997) says extroverts are energised by interacting with other people and help the team to open up lines of communication between members, while introverts provide internal reflection of group discussions because they enjoy the inner world of concepts and ideas. Sensing types bring up potential facts, while an intuitive personality type bring up new possibilities and provides ideas. The thinking types present a logical analysis of the decision making situation, while feelers offer insight into how feelings of other group members. Consequently, it is important to have diversity and balance in the personality of various team members. Combinations of personality test are particularly important to the effective teams because much of a development team’s work relates to receiving and processing information to make a right decision about the task involved.
According to the personality test did on similar minds, it shows that my test has both positive and negative effect on the communication in the camp
During the Potjie activity in the camp, I cleaned up all the dishes and other kitchen utensil used in potjie preparation
My extroversion results were very low which suggested that am reclusive, quiet and secretive. It shows among the team members in the cabin and entire people in the camp because my communication with others seems not effective.
In all the meetings held during the camp activity, I always felt relaxed and wished our cabin to get things done, such as writing and formulating the camp fire night story
The result of my personality test from http\www.similarminds.com is shown below
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Stability results were medium which suggests you average somewhere in between being calm and resilient and being anxious and reactive.
Orderliness results were high which suggests you are overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense too often of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.
Extraversion results were medium which suggests you average somewhere in between being assertive and social and being withdrawn and solitary.
clean, organized, dislikes chaos, semi neat freak, perfectionist, traditional, realist, fits in most places, enjoys managing others, risk averse, good at saving money, prudent, respects authority, high self control, hard working, does not like to stand out, follows the rules, finisher, resilient, takes precautions, cautious, honest, unfamiliar with the dark side of life, practical, dutiful
Figure 2 Trait Snapshot
2.3 Effectiveness of a Team
Team effectiveness refers to the system of getting people in a group or team to work together effectively. To perform well, a team must surmount three hurdles. namely (1) exert sufficient effort to get the task accomplished at an acceptable level of performance; (2) bring adequate knowledge and skill to bear the work; (3) employ task performance strategies that are appropriate to the work and the setting in which it is being performed (Hackman and Monis, 1975). So, according to (Hackman and Monis, 1975) effective leadership is an important factor in the success of any team and ineffective leadership will sabotage team productivity, this implies that a knowledgeable leader must not only be available and properly trained in team dynamics techniques, but must also be the type of person who can lead and represent different functional areas.
Team are more effective when working together than individual working on their own to achieve their objectives because various skills are shared between the members of the group. The effectiveness of a team is determined by a number of factors but should include:
Right Mixing of skills: This factor provides a means for a team to be more effective by bringing together people who have different skills and assigning them appropriate roles in the group. However, if members of a team all exhibit same skills set. it is unlikely that the team will be proper
e.g. “In one of the camp activities, roles were assigned to each member of the cabin to carry out the task based on the skills possessed by each member of the team”
Right motivation: Team effectiveness is directly linked to the interest that the group has on a task. When the job is too easy, too difficult or the rewards for achieving the end result do not seem worth the effort, the team may end up working half-heartedly on the task given.
e.g. “The color me activity on the camp seemed to be very easy because members of the individual team felt that the result was not worth the effort and the whole task was delegated to one member of the team without following the rules involved”.
Ability to solve conflicts: Many teams end up making the decisions they know are not in the best interest of the task. So conflict is inmate to any work done in teams and should be taken as part of challenge rather than as something to be avoided by compromising.
Having a team comprise a smaller number of participants lends itself to the reduction of conflicts, because the larger the size of the team, the more opinions can arise which need to be accommodated Therefore, the smaller team’s effectiveness can be enhanced because it is easier to follow a code of conduct agreed upon.
Managing Effective Team
According to Linpack and Stamp(2007)”teams can be successful only if people cooperatively manage the coordination involved in membership and leadership”. which means the leader should give up the ideas of control by welcoming contributions from other members of the team.
A team can be effectively managed utilizing the following factors Stadion and Lisel(2002, p.42):
The art of listening is one of the most important communication skills and is crucial for successful and effective team communication. Attentiveness is needed in order to be aware what others are saying, so that it is possible to absorb the information, rationalize it, and action it..
Various listening habit help to act effectively in a group, this involves:
Letting the speaker express thoughts fully without interruption.
Listening carefully to the speaker
Remembering important facts discussed
Concentrating on the message even if it is perceived as dull or boring..
Ignoring distractions when listening; and
Showing genuine interest in the conversation.
Within a team, effective listening helps in achieving better interpersonal relationships, saving time, money, energy and avoiding mistakes and misunderstanding that might comes up among the team members.
Task delegation and communication
This is another factor that helps in managing an effective team, it is done by delegating task to each member of the team and communicating the task among the members. This will helps everyone in the team to know there individual process and the stand of the entire group. Dividing up the tasks gave each person something that they are directly responsible for, which increased group accountability and progress.
2.4 Effect of Team Roles on Performances
A team role is defined in terms the product or the contribution an individual make to a team. Analysis made by a professor of personal and organizational development university of Hertfordshire Ben(2002) saying the idea needed to play to the different strength of individual’s personalities when putting the team together is a way of limiting the potential performance of the team. He said a major influence in the area of effective team work has been the role identified by the American psychologist. Ben(2002) identified nine team roles contributing to team success. According to Belbin(2007), in every organization there are people who will naturally take on each of the various roles because of their personality.
Action Oriented Roles
Challenges the team to improve.
Puts ideas into action.
Ensures thorough, timely completion.
People Oriented Roles
Acts as a chairperson.
Explores outside opportunities.
Thought Oriented Roles
Presents new ideas and approaches.
Analyzes the options.
Provides specialized skills.
Figure3: Belbin’s Team Roles
Explaining further by Ben(2002) that knowing the type of the team role individual is fit in within a group will be a trouble of the person concerned. Each member in a team need to be more flexible in order to achieve their objectives and should be able to take on any role as necessary and able to dispense with natural tendencies.
This finding of Ben(2002) implies that following Belbin(2007) prescription will be a completely wrong way to consider teams because the team are not playing to strengths but playing to weakness. But if team selection is necessary then the Flexible, Innovative, and Trainable (FIT) people should be chosen. Research indicates that FIT people are able to take the necessary roles and do the necessary task as appropriate to the demand of the situation and not be the prisoner of their responsibilities. It is thus clear that the Belbin(2007) team’s roles can be adopted but flexibility must be introduced, so as to have an effective team work.
No team can expect a good outcome without having a good beginning. Understanding the acceptance of individuality among the team brings more effective communication and helps to cater for dynamics that arise within the team. Hence, this essay concludes that effective communication can take place in a team by building the interpersonal skills between the team members.
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