The time management was the toughest thing when we worked on group assignment. Our group went through all of the four stages, which are forming, norming, storming, and performing stage. In forming stage, since we took same program last semester, we have already known each other. We decided the team leader and the objective. Because we asked questions in the group, and supported each other, we could build trust. In norming stage, everybody did their work on time, and team leader provide feedback to the members. In storming stage, we had two conflicts, which are about objective and the content of the report. We discussed them, and made consensus together. As regards to roles, I took task facilitating role and relationship building role. Since my part was the basic part, I focused on task facilitating role rather than relationship building role.
In terms of stressor, I felt three stressors, which are time, encounter anticipatory stressor. I could deal with them by using appropriate method. With respect to interpersonal skill, I used three supportive communication skills, which are problem oriented, congruent, and supportive listening. These skills are useful for building the interpersonal relationship. At the end of this paper, the team effectiveness critique is attached. The team as a whole, the team members could work effectively and efficiently. Even though we had some conflicts in our team, we could discuss them because the trust could be established. The objective for this paper is analyzing the process of teamwork development. In order to analyze teamwork, the factors are considered with examples.
Our team has four members, who are named Apple, Banana, Orange, and Grape. All of us are from Asia. Banana and Orange are from same country, and another two are from each different country. Nobody speaks English as a first language, but Grape speaks fluent English because he lived in US for over five years. Banana and Grape have work experiences over five years. This paper is all about a project, which has a report and a presentation. The objective for this project is selling Canadian product to another country. We chose a high quality and price clothing, and sell the product in European country. The assignment should be over 7500 words, and presentation would be 30 minutes about some concepts in the report.
Four stages to develop a team
No matter what roles we take in a team, we have to know the importance of four stages to work effectively (Whetten and Cameron, 2011, p.498). In forming stage, the leader should be decided, and trust should be built. The purpose of norming stage is deciding the role in team, and make consensus to achieve the goal. In order to build equal relationship, a team might go through the storming stage. Then, when one team can build high creditability without skepticism, the team is in performing stage. I will illustrate these stages with examples.
In the forming stage, since we took the same program last semester, we were familiar with each other. We all understood the personalities, and the level of English. However, here was still a problem, which is accent in our pronunciation. Grape had the strongest accent, and Apple could understand half of what he was talking about. In order to understand the accent, we had to be used to it. In the first meeting, we introduced each other briefly, and decided a leader, who is Orange. Since Orange wanted to be a leader, and it got the highest mark in last semester, we chose Orange as a leader. In addition, we confirmed the objective for our project. Grape and Orange told other members how busy this semester would be, and all of us shared the anxiety about other subject. In order to study other subject, we decided to focus on time efficiency. We determined to finish the report as soon as possible, and spend more time to final exams and other projects.
Also, since presentation is all about part of the report, we determined to finish the report first. The report was divided into four parts, which are environment analysis, product and company analysis, strategy, and financial analysis. Each person should have over 2000 words for each part, and Apple had to finish his part as soon as possible because the part would be the basic information for every part. Additionally, since Grape would research the part for presentation, he had to finish it before presentation. In order to share the information, we made a group in social net-working service. Orange came up with a question about the structure of report. The structure of outline for the report was different from its sample, so we decided to ask teacher about it next class. In the first meeting, everything seemed to be fine since we could understand each other, and could successfully establish the goal and priority to achieve this project. We decided the date for next meeting.
We had second meeting, which was a short one. It was not scheduled, but Orange said it does not understand the difference report and presentation, so other members explained we would present part of our presentation. Every group member supports the team leader, and Orange successfully builds the situation, which members can ask question easily. Hence, the trust between team members supposed to be established. In the third meeting, Apple has already made the report for its part since his part would be the basic information for everybody.
Orange and Grape said Apple did a good job, and Banana said “impressive.” Grape found some information from website, and the other students also had some ideas for their own part. Everybody did their work, and shared them on the social net-working service. The trust was certainly established because when one member finished its part, everybody supported the job. In addition, Orange has already asked the question to the teacher, and the teacher said we have to follow the outline. We had clear vision for our successful project, and the purpose for forming stage was achieved.
In the fourth meeting, everybody made the first draft for their own part. The objective of time efficiency was achieved, and we could have good sense for the team. Since all of us achieved individually shared goals, we were in the norming stage. As regards to team leader, since Orange’s part is the strategy part, it read all of the works. Because Orange gave feedbacks to other members, it worked well as a team leader.
In the fourth meeting, since we had two conflicts, we were in storming stage. The first conflict was about the objective. Because we set the time efficiency is the most important thing, everybody should come to meeting on time. Apple was the only person who came on time, and student Banana, Orange and Grape were late for meeting. We confirmed the objective again, and decided the day for next meeting.
The other conflict was about the concept. The team leader said we need to change the pricing strategy in different product life cycle stage. Grape totally agreed with this idea because it is the best way to maximize the profit. However, Apple said we cannot change the price since the core competency of the product is high price and high quality product. Orange said since we had just learned penetration pricing strategy in economics class, it is better to use this strategy in practice. Finally, we decided to follow Orange’s idea.
Fifth meeting was just before the day of presentation. Everybody was in the library on time. We connected our idea, and practiced the presentation several times. Banana is good at making slides, and it had already made the perfect slide. Apple shared what it could not understand about the penetration strategy, and the team leader provided the clear explanation. Even though everybody has accent in their English, we could understand each other because high credibility and trust are established. Since we could build high creditability without skepticism, we could improve our teamwork. Hence, we were in the performing stage.
Three roles for teamwork
When we work as a team, there are three roles, which are task facilitating role, relationship building role, and blocking role. Task facilitating role is essential to achieve the team goal effectively and efficiently. Relationship building role is needed to make good interpersonal connection between team members. Blocking role bothers to achieve the team productivity. Each three role affects each other. In my team, I was taking task role and relation building role.
My role in the team
Firstly, I took task facilitating role. Since my part was the business environment part, I had to seek and give information to group members. In order to search information, I tried to find basic knowledge from members. Grape said the country is famous for its high income and cold temperature. Since our product is high price product, which is made by leather, this information was reliable. I found some statistic from official information, and made citation from creditable resource. Additionally, I had to give the information to other members because members develop the marketing strategy based on this information. For example, I provided the information about national GDP. Orange made pricing strategy based on this information. Actually, our group has two people who were taking task facilitating role because the role is the most important role. Due to task facilitating role, one team can work effectively.
Secondly, I was performing the relationship-building role. Since Orange and Grape always had a lot of opinions, I also had to participate in the group as this role. Orange took task facilitating role, and always provided information. I always supported Orange because its explanation was always rational. For example, because the presentation was not from my environment part, I had to explain the pricing strategy in our presentation. When I was confused about the pricing strategy to get into new market, Orange gave me some ideas. Actually, the idea was from economics class, and Orange applied it to other class. Since the explanation was clear, I could find a solution for my part, and we could make connection in our part.
Stressors in teamwork
When we work in a team, we may have four kinds of stressor, which are time, encounter, situational, and anticipatory stressor. A vital role for skilled manager is dealing with stressors, but it is ignored (Whetten and Cameron, 2011, p.112). When people have to do too much things too short time, they feel time stressor. Encounter stressor is happened when team members encounter some interpersonal conflict. Situational stressor occurs if people have to work under unfavorable working condition. Anticipatory stressor occurs when people feel anxiety about something might be happened in the future. Since these stressors are going to be the obstacle to achieve the goal, they are needed to be eliminated. While I worked in may group, I was feeling three types of stress, which are time, encounter and anticipatory stressor.
First of all, I felt time stressor. Since our objective was time efficiency, we had to make everything done on time. Additionally, I had to finish my part as soon as possible because it was the foundation part. The other projects were already assigned, and I ran out of time. I could not establish the priority, so I decided to use time management matrix. This project had high urgency and high importance since it was a group work. However, the other assignments had low urgency, for the deadline was three month later or they are individual work. Individual assignment does not affect the other member’s grade, so it has less urgency than team project.
Furthermore, I had pre-reading or short quiz in other classes. Since pre-reading does not affect marks, they have low urgency but high importance. In order to reduce the time stress, I had to solve the problem, which has high urgency and importance at first. Then, I can fix the problem, which has low urgency and high importance. Therefore, it can reduce the problems, which would be happened in the future. In order to establish the priority, this time management matrix is significant.
The second stressor was encounter stressor. When our group worked together at library, I wanted to work at home because it was already 9 o’clock. Grape said we have to work together for seven or 8 hours until we finish the project. Grape got angry and emotional, and said a lot of negative things to me. It is the difference between affectivity and neutrality. I am from Japan, and Japanese are so called high context people. I always focus on relationships, so I do not want to way negative things even if I got emotional. I had to think about what he was thinking, meaning I had to develop my emotional intelligence. The emotional intelligence is similar to cultural intelligence. I had to think about how to express the emotion in Grape’s culture. Since it is from the country, which people have affectivity, it can express its emotion. I promised I would do my part as soon as possible, and send it to him.
The third stressor is anticipatory stressor. Presentation causes my anticipatory stressor because I hate presentation. When I have a presentation, I cannot think about anything in my head. My hand starts trembling, and I cannot look at audience’s eyes. In order to reduce my stress for the presentation, I used small win strategy. I decided to change my preparation, so I asked my friends to be my audience for practicing. Additionally, I asked my group members to have a rehearsal. Since I could have some times to practice my presentation, I could speak smoothly. Furthermore, I tried to look at the eyes, when I speak with my friends. Changing habit was not an easy thing, but this small change brought me a sense of achievement. Small win strategy was really helpful for me because I could build self- confidence through small wins.
Supportive communication skill is essential skill for interpersonal communication. When we have to provide negative comment to group members, this skill is helpful to improve the relationship (Whetten and Cameron, 2011, p.242). There are eight supportive communication skills exist, and I used three skills, which are problem-oriented, congruent, and supportive listening skill.
Firstly, when I tried to fix an issue, I explained the issue was happened because it is a problem-oriented problem. For example, when Grape used information from discreditable website, I had to explain we cannot use the resource because it is going to be plagiarism. Since Grape also had some conflicts with others, it became defensive. I had to explain this is not person-oriented problem, so I said everybody has same kind problem. Grape seemed to be cautious at first, but he listened to me at the end of the conversation. I tried not to use “you” to Grape, so it understood that the problem is not person-oriented problem.
When I gave some negative comment, I tried to be congruent. This is the toughest supportive communication skill for me because I always try to hide my emotion. Since I do not have negative relation, I cannot say what I want to say directly. When Orange canceled a meeting, I was furious because it was the third time Orange did it. I said that directly to Orange, and it gave me apologize. Additionally, when Orange came up with an idea, which is using white board in the presentation, I wanted to say I cannot do that. Since my part is so complicated, I thought using white board is wasting of time. In the rehearsal, we tried to use white board, but Orange realized it takes too long to make a graph. We decided not to use graph in my part.
The third skill is supportive listening, and I used it to solve every problem I mentioned. For example, when Orange was late for a meeting, I had to say some negative comment to it because Orange said it wants meet at that time. Orange said it was late because it had to go to bank first. In the class, I have learned that the most important skill for managers is listening, and listening is not just listening. In order to show my understanding, I was listening first, and making eye contact. I understood the reason why Orange was late, and could successfully show my understanding.
The purpose of this paper is illustrating team development process. I this case, team members come from different countries, so they have to understand each other through different stages. Teamwork is tough because it needs internal and interpersonal skill. The team development has to go through certain process, and each member has to take appropriate role in one team. Furthermore, With respect to internal skill, it is important to understand what causes the stressors, and how to treat the internal stress. Additionally, in order to make good relationship with team members, sufficient supportive communication skills are needed.
I have learned how difficult to work with others through this project. I could successfully handle my stress by using appropriate method, and could use the three supportive communication skills to others. However, since I could not understand what the other members were thinking, I could not recognize whether the problems were fixed or not. I could solve this issue by asking questions. In order to work effectively, we have to understand ourselves and the others without skepticism.
Alexander, M., 1985. The Team Effectiveness Critique. In: M. Alexander ed. 1985. The 1985 Annual: Developing Human Resources. University Associate. Whetten, D.A, Cameron, K.S., 2011. Developing Management Skills. 8th ed. Prentice Hall.