The Importance of Development, Communication, and Learning in Teams
The Importance of Development, Communication, and Learning in Teams
Many organizations often emphasize the importance of teams during their recruitment process, asking job seekers about their previous experience as team members. The need for team development stems from the view that working as a team achieves more than working alone (Whitcomb & Whitcomb, 2013). This work will cover the following areas: importance of team development, training principle in team development, stages in team development, communication in teams, and lastly team learning.
Importance of Team Development
Researchers have demonstrated that students or people within an organization setting learn effectively from each other. Hence, building a team is essential in helping each other to learn. A team comprises of persons with varied views concerning a particular topic. Thus, working together utilizes varied views held by members. Proponents of teamwork argue that teams are more effective for work in a complex assignment (Whitcomb & Whitcomb, 2013). For instance, completing a complex research dictates that the researcher must consult various sources before making a decision. In contrast, completing the research as a team would follow similar channel but the team would develop a comprehensive report as opposed to individual work. Team development helps team members to develop a number of skills including but not limited to coping with conflict, developing leadership skills, developing interdependence, developing interpersonal skills, and developing accountability among others. For instance, students in a team will learn to share their ideas, how to handle the views of others, as well as cope with conflict within the team.
Effective Training Principle
Teams operate within some structured guidelines, referred to as training principles, to achieve specific goals. Training is a critical component of team development because it dictates a team’s priority, relationship, and success. Critics suggest a number of effective training principles that are necessary for team development. Firstly, setting clear goals is critical in a training process. For instance, a team of five students working on a project will use the goals of the training to complete the project. Secondly, a team should display open communication. Communication is the fabric that holds a team. This means that a team would rely on open communication from members to achieve the desired goals. For instance, open communication enables team members to discuss freely thereby reaching out for the required solution. In most instances, people are willing to contribute to discussion when they feel that they are part of the team.
Thirdly, a team should enhance democratic process. The room for discussion depends on the space provided by the learning principles. Thus, teams that have allocated space for discussion often provide an opportunity for the members to air their views. Arguably, group learning occurs when team members have the freedom to exercise their views regarding a group project. Fourthly, respect is a critical element in defining learning environment (Dror, 2011). For instance, in a class, students who respect each other easily engage in learning discussion. Lastly, a team should embrace trust and support to its members. People exhibit varied talents; some are fast learners whereas others are slow learners. However, the slow learners or the fast often make unique contribution during discussion.
Stages in Team Development
Studies in team development indicate that a team passes through a sequence of five stages of development (Kurtz & Boone, 2008). The stages are forming, storming, norming, performing, and mourning. Available literature shows that teams take varied duration in the five stages of development. Notable factors that define duration in each stage are individual and team maturity, leadership, team’s internal or external climate, and the complexity of the task.
Forming – this is the first stage in team development. It involves identifying with a given team based on the objectives, definition of task, clear work plan, or team behavior. The common characteristics of this stage are demonstration of excitement by team members or hesitant participation; sometimes, the members are uncomfortable or anxious about the new situation and accomplish limited work.
Storming – this is the second stage of the team development. Critics observe that team members may demonstrate hostility as a way of expressing their individuality. The common characteristics of this stage are infighting or competition (as members may doubt about success), disunity among team members, concern over excessive work, and low team morale among others. In some situations, the team may set unrealistic goals, resist task demands, criticize the team leader, and complain.
Norming – this is the third stage in team development. At this stage, members accept the team, rules, roles in the team, and the views of fellow group members. Some of the notable characteristics of this stage are attempts to avoid conflict, develop trust and respect for team members, form friendship, high team morale, accomplish a moderate amount of work, develop sense of team spirit. Additionally, the team would be ready to accept a new team leader if the formally appointed leader seems to lack for the group.
Performing – this stage is the fourth stage of team development. At this stage, a team becomes an entity capable of identifying and solving problems as well as making decisions. Some notable characteristics during this stage are high conflict resolution ability, identify closely with the team, accomplish great task, understand constructive self-change, and understand member’s strength and weaknesses.
Mourning – this is the last stage of group development. At this stage, the group breaks because either it has accomplished its task or it has failed to achieve its goals. For example, a team established to solve a specific problem would dissolve when it accomplishes its task.
Effective teams often employ open communication as a means of addressing issues affecting the team. Critics contributing to team communication highlight various aspects of team communication. For instance, boundary spanning is a situation where teams acquire information from stakeholders, customers, as well as the employer. It helps teams to identify the concerns of stakeholders or customers (Dror, 2011). Another aspect of team communication is participative communication. For example, members of a team share views openly about a problem facing the team.
Effective teams often learn from team members. This involves sharing information about the best way of tackle a problem. For instance, a team of students working on a mathematical problem will readily learn if one of the members is cable of addressing the math problem.
The need for a team development stems from the view that teams achieve more than working individually. The success of a team depends on the training principles of the team and communication within the team. The establishment of a team involves a number of stages such as forming, storming, norming, performing, and mourning. In most circumstances, teams take varied duration in each stage. Lastly, team learning is evident when team members are free to participate.
Whitcomb, C. & Whitcomb, E. L. (2013). Effective Interpersonal and Team Communication Skills for Engineers (pp. 9–15). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Dror, E. I. (2011). Technology Enhanced Learning and Cognition (pp. 126–136).New York: John Benjamins Publishing.
Kurtz, L. K. & Boone, E. L. (2008). Contemporary Business: 2009 (pp. 146–156).New York: Cengege Learning.