During my study of the paper, I have been involved in a large amount of teamwork promoted by the lecturers. And from such teamwork; I not only acknowledged many new things, but learned several new skills and gained knowledge. The following my essay reflecting on and evaluating my own performance of my teamwork in MBR.
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Specific experiences that allowed me to learn more about myself and working as a team during this semester will be identified and described. The most informative was taking part in the team formation process for the team presentation. For the team presentation, the team members spent a lot of time and effort working together. In the beginning, the team was very disorderly and chaotic; the members were confused about what they should do and how they should do it. During the first two meetings, we were always in disagreement and each team member insisted that their own opinion was the way to go. After two group meetings, we gradually came to consensus in some aspects including deciding our sub-tasks and allocating them to each member, deciding each members’ deadline and the arrangement for the team presentation. Since then, the team has been run in a smooth fashion and team members have followed their instructions to fulfil each task respectively, and negotiated with fellow team members when necessary.
Another interesting experience involving teamwork is taking part in diversity management which was an issue among our team. Our team members are diverse in various aspects, including different cultural backgrounds and gender. Taking cultural backgrounds as an example; our team includes people of Pakistan, Chinese and Kiwi descent. Different cultural backgrounds help determine different values and beliefs in someone’s character; (Thomas, 2002), for example the role of team leader and orientation around time. The high diversity among the team members brought out significant difficulties in our functionality as a team (Bartol, Tein Matthews & Martin, 2003). These difficulties include being unable to identify some detailed tasks, disagreements in task allocation and divergence in time management.
During my experience in this semester, I have obtained a higher level of self awareness of myself as a team member. I have become aware of my own personal strengths and weaknesses as a member in a team. One of my strengths is my positive attitude. I always have a positive attitude to everyday life, regardless of any issues that may arise in my day. My positive attitude not only contributed to me being accepted by my peers, but also contributed to the team as a whole in terms of acting as a catalyst in encouraging and inspiring others to accomplish our goal. My positive attitude was highly appreciated by my fellow team members.
Another strength that I possess is my willingness to be an active team member in that I am willing to take on responsibilities within the team. Throughout the semester I was always one of the first to voice my ideas, I always contributed my suggestions and I was willing to take the most difficult tasks. My active performance as a key member of the team was appreciated by some, but laughed at by others that may have thought I was trying to do too much and attributed it to arrogance.
The final major strength that I have become aware of in myself as a team member is that I can contribute the knowledge that I learned from the course to the team. During my experience as part of the team, I sensed that some team members may have not well understand what the paper delivers and be confused about the concepts and theories that are required for the team to work. Fortunately, I performed better in this aspect as I have a thorough knowledge of the concepts outlined in the coursework and my grasp of the English language is not terrible. Thus when in group discussion, when somebody was confused about the concepts and theories outlined in the course, I could offer help immediately. In this sense, I felt that I acted as a member who possessed the required skills and knowledge for the team to succeed and I proved to be a valuable member to the team.
In contrast to the strengths that I found that I possess, the team work experiences also made me acknowledge my shortcomings as a team member. One weakness is that I did not pay enough attention to my communication with other members. During group meetings, as discussed above; I was always actively voicing my opinion. However, the feedback given by the peer that was evaluating my performance, made me reconsider how effective I was in a team environment. Of course, I was not wrong to express my own opinions, but at the same time, I now understand that I should pay more attention to the feelings and opinions of other members of the team. Just expressing my opinions made communication during some of the group meetings one-way rather than dual way as some other team members did not express their ideas so openly and were sometimes forgotten (Bartol et al., 2003). Furthermore, the time for the group meeting is limited, and consequently time spent talking by me, leaves less time for other members to express their opinions. This hindered me from having effective communication with other team members and even inspired other team members to resist my ideas to a certain extent.
A second weakness of mine is that I was not good enough at dealing with the diversity within the team. As discussed above, the team was very diverse, but from interactions between myself and the team members, my handling of the diversity was not very successful. I sometimes could not have effective cross cultural communications with others because I did not fully understand their thought patterns, and I could not well understand the performance of some female members within the group due to it being different to my own.
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From my time spent in a team environment, I learned a lot about being an effective team member. One typical point is that I came to acknowledge the formation stages of team. According to Bartol et al. (2003), a team usually evolves from the forming stage, to storming stage, to norming stage, to performing stage, and to adjourning stage. The five-stage of team formation was well reflected in our team for the team presentation. We occasionally formed the team. At the beginning, we experienced the difficulties, conflicts, and chaos. Then the team entered the right trace, and team members performed their tasks according to the agreed guidelines. Finally, after the team presentation, the team adjourned. Experiencing a whole process of team evolution will contribute to not only my performance of a team member but also my ability in managing team in the future.
Furthermore, from the team work experiences, I came to acknowledge the significance of some important principles during the interactions between people, such as non-discrimination, and being equal and fair to all. As a democratic country, non-discrimination and being equal and fair to all are the widely accepted principles enacted in legislation. Definitely, people must comply with those legal requirements in their interactions with others; otherwise, they may breach the legislation and may be sued (Hubbard, Thomas & Varnham, 2006). During the team work experiences in this semester, I was very impressed by my team members’ complying with those principles, which made me comfortable and contributed to a harmonious team atmosphere. As a Pakistani, I was deeply impressed by their performance in complying with those principles, which is unimaginable in my home country.
In conclusion, from the team work experiences in this semester, I learned a lot about being as effective team members. During the team work, my strengths had been exerted, such as the positive attitudes, being active in a team, and the contributions of my knowledge on the paper. On the other side, I acknowledged my shortcomings, such as ineffective handling of diversity, and the less effective communications with other members. Furthermore, through the team work experiences, I better understood the formation processes of a team, and the importance of complying with certain principles, such non-discrimination and being fair and equal. These gave me deep impression.
The following is to present an action plan to further improve myself as an effective team member in the future. The most important is that I will learn more on how to deal with the diversity. In my future workplace, diversity is unavoidable, poor handing of the diversity may hinder my development in the workplace, just as what I had performed in the team for the team presentation in this semester. First, in the future, I will take papers that have knowledge on workplace diversity management and learn the knowledge and skills on how to deal with diversity. Second, I will read some books and articles on managing diversity in order to enrich my knowledge and skills in relation to dealing with diversity. Third, I will practice how to manage diversity in the practice, such as in the groups for studying tasks and during the interactions with people from other cultural backgrounds.
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