Write a paper on group interaction within a learning team. Use the "assessing group interaction" table that is included. In the paper, you should discuss the following:
1. Identify Terry's strengths and weaknesses in working with the learning team.
2. Conflict management techniques that could have been or are the most effective for a learning team or those techniques that you believe would work best with a team.
3. Effective group decision-making skills and problem-solving techniques used by a team.
Must be in APA format and use at least 3 scholarly references (Please do not use Wikipedia)
If a team is not at its most efficient, discuss how performance could be improved in each of these areas.
Here is the assessment group exercise and a summary of each individual strengths (weaknesses) within a learning team:
Team Member Role Responsibility Communication Style:
-Designated Leader- Facilitate and co-ordinate the Learning Team Project Assertive communicator. Posted plan and asked for input, ideas and suggestions.
-Implementer- Implement ideas into action.
Clarify by posting my understanding of what is expected.
-Team Worker- Listen and do work assigned
Post work as stated by the leader and respond with questions of if there is anything else I should do.
-Completer-Finisher Searches out errors; makes sure project delivered on time. Communicate with team on what is needed to be corrected and changed.
-Team Worker- Takes equal responsibility of the designated work and helps the team in any way necessary. Communicates frequently and with a positive attitude and asks for direction when confused.
-Team Member- Work with others to establish a collaborative effort for the final assignment.
Try to remain positive and include everyone and I do not like conflict and want everyone to get along.
He appreciates a team collaborative decision even if I personally do not agree. I make decisions all day at work so I really like to take a back seat in teams and will lead if asked to in classroom teams.
-Team Worker- Takes on designated portion of work and completes in a timely manner and helps other team members that need it. Communicates issues and ideas. Asks questions when clarification is needed.
Joe Walker Evaluator:
-Assess ideas, arguments, and suggestions. Evaluate product and proposed product against requirements. Communicates assertively but with tact to point out areas of deficiency. Good comprehensive listening skills for understanding other member’s concepts.
Opinion Seeker Ask for group members opinions on different approaches in an attempt to gain consensus. Communicate through questions and probing, good analytical listening skills to comprehend multiple approaches.
Compromiser Offer suggestions to help minimize differences, search for resolutions to conflict. Communicates assertively but not aggressively, comforting members. Uses empathetic and appreciative listening skills to help relax members.
What is the relationship between task roles and communication styles?
Task roles within a group focus on behavior that helps the members in the completion of a given task or objectives. These roles can include an initiator who provides ideas and suggestions to get the group started; an opinion seeker who asks for member’s opinions to discover how the group feels about given subjects; or an evaluator-critic who assesses ideas, arguments and suggestions to ensure alignment with group goals. There are also additional task based roles such as an information seeker, opinion giver, clarifier-summarizer, energizer, procedural technician, and recorder-secretary, but all of these roles are associated with accomplishing the objectives and to do this effectively, it requires attention to communication styles.
Since task roles are related to the completion of work, the appropriate communication style for these roles includes assertiveness
and clarity to ensure understanding of the message being conveyed. A member fulfilling a task role is required to assist in driving the task to completion through group exchanges and communications that are clear and concise, removing the possibility of ambiguous transmissions. These roles require emphasis on detail and methods to attain proper results. These roles may use additional questioning and restatement of ideas and concepts to improve group clarification. When listening, members fulfilling task based roles are more likely to use either comprehensive or analytical listening styles. Comprehensive listening refers to the accurate understanding of both non-verbal and verbal communications within the group. Comprehensive listening requires the ability to understand what has been said, identify the main ideas and arguments used to support what was said, and confirm what is known or believed. Analytical listening requires the member to evaluate and form opinions about message content. It makes use of critical thinking and analysis skills that allows the member to determine different aspects of what is being communicated including validity or agreement. Both of these listening styles are essential to the members assuming task roles in directing the group toward clear communication of purpose and lucid solutions.
What are each individual’s strengths in the group process?
Each individual’s strengths in the group process are unique and combine to enhance the overall function and effectiveness of the group. These strengths exist across both the task and maintenance roles associated with groups. The group needs members that serve across both the task and maintenance functions to both drive completion of the task while ensuring cohesiveness of the group through maintaining relational needs. Each individual learns to adapt their skills and talents to the needs of the group based on the initial formation and storming phases. It is in these phases that members attempt to promote and/or assume roles that will best serve the group process.
Within our group we have members that serve their work organizations in managerial positions; this experience allows the team to be lead in an efficient and professional manner. Other members have talents associated with the role of evaluator or critic. The fulfillment of the role of evaluator or critic allows our group products to be assessed objectively prior to final release. Still other members serve in the role of opinion seeker. Members that serve in this role are always working to extract different viewpoints from members of the team. They do this to make sure that everyone is included and gets a chance to contribute. It is through the culmination of these multiple strengths that the team achieves synergy and higher level of productivity that could not be realized through individual efforts.
How are participation, leadership, and motivation skills demonstrated within the group process?
Participation is a fundamental process within a group, because many of the other processes depend upon participation of the various members. Levels and degrees of participation vary. Some members are active participants while others are more withdrawn or very busy with other things. Participation means involvement, concern for the task, and direct or indirect contribution to the group goal. If members do not participate, the group ceases to exist.
Leadership involves focusing the efforts of the members towards a common goal and to enable them to work together as one. We designated one individual as leader for each week of class. This person provides leadership with respect to achieving the goal. Other members may provide different roles which could change over time. Team Leader’s role is to make sure that everyone is contributing.
If group goals are set by one individual then group members may not be impressed or inspired. If a group is involved in developing a goal, the motivation of members to work for the achievement of that goal is heightened. “Kenneth Thomas describes four categories of intrinsic motivators needed to energize and reinforce our work” (Engleberg & Wynn, 2003, pg 269) a sense of meaningfulness; a sense of choice; a sense of competence; and a sense of progress. A sense of meaningfulness is the feeling that you are pursuing a worthy task. A sense of choice is the feeling that you have the power and ability to make judgments about doing the task. A sense of competence is the feeling that you are doing good, high-quality work on the task. A sense of progress is the feeling that you are accomplishing something. Leaders may assign specific tasks to group members to stimulate interaction and motivation (Engleberg & Wynn, 2003 pg 273).
A group is able to share experiences, to provide feedback, to pool ideas, to generate insights, and provide a field for analysis of experiences. A group provides a measure of support and reassurance. Group discussions are an effective learning method and are successful when participation, leadership and motivation is demonstrated within the group process.
List five ways that group interaction enhances the individual skills of the learning team members.
Group interaction is as important to self growth as to team collaboration. While interacting with a group, a person can experience growth in communication, conflict resolution, decision making and leadership. These are five skills that can benefit an individual skill as well as team interaction.
Communication is a skill that an individual should practice that will be necessary in every aspect of a person’s life. A group can help build communication skills through interaction of listening, questioning and understanding. A group is an ongoing practice arena for personal communication. The more people interact in a group the more people learn how to communicate in other settings. One on one communication requires the same basic communication skills as in a group (Engleberg & Wynn, 2003). Communication group skills are listen effectively, understand one’s role within the group, actively contribute to group problem solving, ask clear questions to obtain information, establish a professional rapport with other members, communicate effectively with members from different cultures, use language effectively, nonverbally convey a professional image, resolve group conflict, demonstrate leadership. Most of these skills will be beneficial even for one to one communication.
Conflict resolution is an important skill to improve upon. An individual will come across several conflict situations. Groups tend to pose a series of conflict whether individuals have different ideas or different agendas. Groups allow an individual become more aware of difficult situations and how to overcome conflict. The need to argue for conflict resolution is a skill within the need to address conflict resolution. Understanding that argument is necessary at times and how to constructively argue will help an individual become more successful with life and work related issues.
Leadership and the decision making are skills that an individual can build during group interactions. While groups are engaged in the decision making process, there are leadership skills that one will acquire. While decisions are being made, the leadership role allows the team to become effective through cohesiveness. A team member will acquire leadership and decision making skills whether they are the leader or not. Just being a part of the team when the decision making process becomes successful is building leadership skills. Even non designated leaders will require leadership skills in or out of a group.
Recommend two ways that verbal communication can be used effectively during group interaction, and give a rationale for each recommendation.
One method for improving verbal communications within a group is by reducing the use of abstract words and moving toward the use of clear precise verbiage. Abstract words are those words that may have different meanings to different people, this is not just a word with multiple meanings, it may be a word or term that conjures different perceptions in the mind of the receiver (Engleberg & Wynn, 2003). As an example, the leader of a group says “we need to have that report soon.” The word “soon” could mean within a few minutes, within the week, within the month, or some other time span. If a speaker wants to convey a message and have it understood, they must use language that is definitive so that the meaning is not misconstrued based on an individual member’s perception. Using the previous example, if the leader of the group said “We need to have that report by close of business tomorrow” the message is concise and all members understand when the report is due. In effect, using ambiguous communications can result in work slowdown or complete breakdown (McKenzie & Qazi, 1983). Clarifying communications through the use of more accurate and less abstract words and terms can help ensure against incorrect assumptions and misinterpretation.
“Our ability to use language helps determine the extent to which one successfully expresses ideas and influences the actions of group members or work team.” (Engleberg, Wynn, pg.98) When a work team examines how they will communicate with one another, they can create a process in which a way one communicates with the other. Verbal communication can be effectively during team interaction when we use pronouns such as “we, us”, and “our”, to be inclusive of everyone and the group that everyone is doing as well as equality among all of the members. When things need to get done and we have timelines to meet, express shared needs and not individual needs. Again, that will give more of a team project rather an individual project. The use of pronouns not only will make sure it includes everyone on the team, it will make everyone feel like their role is important to the success of the project. Without their input and work, the project will be completed. Also the use of pronouns acknowledges shared needs, brings forth opinions, and shows the need for compliance and cooperation. “Language is the most critical tool we have to shape the future and success of a group.” (Engleberg, Wynn, pg.102)
Recommend two ways that nonverbal communication can be used effectively during group interaction, and give a rationale for each recommendation.
Communication within a group deals with the spoken and the unspoken, the verbal and the nonverbal, the explicit and the implied messages that are conveyed and exchanged relating to information and ideas, and feelings. “Communication is often not so much what we write or say but how we write and often what we do not say” (Gajadhar & Green, 2003). To successfully send a message, we need to blend the verbal (what we say) with the nonverbal (how we say it or what we don’t say). The use of textual symbols can provide nonverbal communication elements in online group building. The use of nonverbal elements in text-based virtual interactions found in our learning teams, provides participants with some of the richness of real-time, face-to-face interactions. Nonverbal communication adds tone or richness of meaning that cannot be communicated by verbal elements alone. There are many types of nonverbal expressions used in virtual groups such as the use of multiple !!!, which could be used to reflect enthusiasm. Mmmmmmm, is a spoken pause that could show thinking, uncertainty, or agreement. Emotions can also be reflected in virtual groups by using ƒº to denote a friendly person or to encourage friendly conversation. LOL (laughing out loud) can be used in much the same way. When members of a virtual team enter into cyberspace, “they do not leave behind their gregariousness or their inventiveness” (Gajadhar & Green, 2003), but are able to communicate in a way that reflects the users feelings or thoughts. Encouragement and use of nonverbal support in the direction and development phases of group building can aid in building rapport in groups.
Use the appropriate dress for you audience or group. Your dress is a non-verbal form of communication. How you dress will be the first impression given in a meeting. If you dress professionally, people are more likely to take your input more seriously. People also will also change how they communicate to you simply based on your dress. While wearing a suit to give a speech is always recommended, your attire selected can have adverse affects on how people view you. “If you overdress when speaking to a humble audience, you may alienate yourself from your audience,” (Steele, 2007). You can overdress so be sure to understand your audience and dress accordingly.
Engleberg, I., Wynn, D. (2003). Working in groups: communication principles and strategies. (3rd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Gajadhar, J., & Green, J. (2003). An analysis of nonverbal communication in an online chat group. The Open Polytechnic of New
Zealand, Working Paper. Retrieved December 20, 2007, from www.topnz.ac.nz/
McKenzie, C., & Qazi, C. (1983, March). Communications Barriers in the Workplace. Business Horizons, 26(2), 70. Retrieved December 22,
2007, from Business Source Complete database.
Steele Jonathan, (2007). Rapport. Speechmastery.com. Retrieved December 21, 2007, from http://www.speechmastery.com/rapport.html
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