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August 05, 2012

Final Entry on Working in a Team

Original Action Points:

  1. Try not to avoid my least preferred roles ('implementer' and 'specilaist') and improve on them by working closely with these kinds of team members, in order to learn from them and make these roles more manageable.
  2. Continue to emphasis my strengths in team work by co-ordinating, promoting discussion and exploring multiple opportunities.
  3. Understand that I will not get on with everyone or understand their methods but accept these so called 'allowable weaknesses' in order for the team to be happy and productive.

This workshop alongside the leadership scheme have been extremely valuable to me. After experiencing a difficult second group work assignment at the beginning of my course, with individuals that I clashed with, learning and understanding about the different roles people prefer to adopt when working in a team has helped my understanding of group dynamics and ultimately helped me to ease group tensions. From the belbin profiles it's clear that I have many manageable roles I can 'flex' into to support a team, most notably the monitor evaluator as mentioned in my previous blog. Plus, by working closely with people that adopt my least preferred roles I understand that I do not need to be good at everything and trusting others to complete work to the same standard that I would is an important part of group work.

As a co-ordinator, I feel most comfortable managing the bigger picture or objective of group work and as a resource investigator I like to find time to explore opportunities the group discusses and those open to me such as the Warwick skills portfolio and leadership awards. Understanding this has definitely helped me to continue to emphasise these strengths as well as use the Belbin Theory as a framework to effectively understand others, delegating work more effectively and improving the overall efficiency of the group work I have been involved in as demonstrated in my previous blogs.

Finally, the understanding that I will not get on with everyone or like their preferred working style has helped to prevent me for taking responsibility and trying to finish everything a group produces to a standard or the 'way I like.' I have always tried to avoid this and the further understanding gained from this workshop has definitely helped to solidify this. Overall, I feel I have achieved all of my initial action points and gained a lot from this workshop.


May 28, 2012

Further Follow up on Working in a Team

Here's a summary of how I'm getting on with my action points

1. Try not to avoid my least preferred roles ('implementer' and 'specialist') and improve on them by working closely with these kinds of team members, in order to learn from them and make these roles more manageable.

From my academic group work so far, one of the roles which I have noticed is often most neglected is the monitor evaluator. There are always plenty of co-ordinators or leaders willing to direct team work and a general group drive to get on with the tasks set. However, on one occasion rushing into the tasks set meant an area of the presentation we were to cover was missed. Luckily, after taking a step back and evaluating the work we had done so far with the guidelines set, we realised and corrected the hole in our presentation and avoided the problem noted in other group presentations. Although some of the information we were expected to find, concerning specific drug upstream and downstream manufacturing and clinical trial development was difficult to find due to market sensitivity, we were still expecting to generalise instead of avoid these areas. Therefore by re-evaluating what we had done with the tasks given as part of a monitor evaluator role, we avoided missing details some other groups were penalised for.

2. Continue to emphasise my strengths in team work by co-ordinating, promoting discussion and exploring multiple opportunities.

As a co-ordinator, naturally associated with leadership, I enjoy stepping into this role and as previously discussed joined the Warwick Leadership scheme to further develop this attribute. As there are a lot of large personalities on my course it is often not necessary to single out a leader in particular. However, if I'm part of a group with less dominant or driven personalities I like to encourage discussion and bring out the best contributions from everyone in the group. Understanding the roles which relate to the Belbin's theroy has definitely helped to at least begin to delegate work more efficiently, such as give the 'completer finishers' the job of proof reading the final seminar slides and letting the 'plants' generate our ideas. Whereas 'co-ordinators' like myself and 'monitor evaluators' take a step back to keep the bigger picture in mind. In my most recent group work, we decided to split the slide requirements equally so each person generated 5 slides related to the area of the topic we each volunteered for. This was probably the best example of delegation that worked well and again as co-ordinator I volunteered to integrate and format our final slides. This approach however does require trust in the other group members to complete their contributions on time and to a good standard, but as we picked teams and were already close friends, this is much easier to do than working with a group of new people. This approach also helps to encourage ownership and responsibility for completing the work delegated on time and to a good standard and this was proved as we scored a distinction.

3. Understand that I will not get on with everyone or understand their methods but accept these so called 'allowable weaknesses' in order for the team to be happy and productive.

Fortunately, since my second assignment, I have not had many other experiences of tension within a group. I know as I prefer to be a 'team player' that I clash with 'shapers' who are not afraid to step on people's toes to get things done. Nonetheless, as a discussion raised in Leadership scheme highlighted, is labelling people under such roles discussed in the Belbin theory really beneficial? Of course at first it can seem restrictive to operate under certain labels, however the understanding of these roles has for myself and many on the Leadership scheme, served as a 'framework' to understand the working styles of different people and resulted in better delegation of work and happier more productive working environments. Of course, some people still need 'pushing' or more motivation to complete their work on time due to their preferred last minute working style, but by sticking to agreed deadlines, this has helped to avoid the tension and stress this can cause among more organised individuals in my group work teams.


February 16, 2012

Follow up on Working in a Team

Here's a summary of how I'm getting on with my action points

1. Try not to avoid my least preferred roles ('implementer' and 'specialist') and improve on them by working closely with these kinds of team members, in order to learn from them and make these roles more manageable.

As previously discussed, it may not be as important to improve on my least preferred roles, but I have many manageable roles which I could 'flex' into, in order to get the most out of a team environment.

2. Continue to emphasis my strengths in team work by co-ordinating, promoting discussion and exploring multiple opportunities.

To demonstrate my preferred roles and maximise the opportunities here at Warwick I have also joined the Warwick Leadership scheme where I hope to further understand my leadership style and apply this to my group work during studies, future employment and role as a PGSSLC member.

3. Understand that I will not get on with everyone or understand their methods but accept these so called 'allowable weaknesses' in order for the team to be happy and productive.

So far, this understanding has been beneficial to my studies as I'm involved in a lot of group work activities. I believe it has also been valuable in diffusing conflict and tension, nonetheless, sometimes members of the group have had to be pushed in order to maximise productivity.


November 25, 2011

First Entry on Working in a Team

Workshop tutor: Trudy Hillier

Date: 16-Nov-2011

Introduction

This workshop focused on developing our thinking and understanding into the factors involved in successful team work. Beginning with a discussion into the key factors that contribute to a highly effective team, the main points raised included:

  1. Leadership - provides a drive and direction to the group in order to achieve its goals
  2. Communication & organisation - listening/contributing, time management and understanding individual strengths and allowable weaknesses.
  3. Diversity - fresh perspectives, new ideas/solutions
  4. Team players - support morale and tolerance
  5. Commitment - the motivation to complete objectives

In other words, team work involves "a group of people with complimentary skills, that work to achieve a goal, with mutual accountability."

Following this, we then went on to look at one of the key theories in relation to team development, Belbin's Theory.


Belbin






The above image illustrates the 9 roles Belbin highlighted, from left to right they include:

  1. Plant (PL) - creative and imaginative
  2. Resource Investigator (RI) - extrovert, explores opportunities from other perspectives
  3. Co-ordinator (CO) - promotes team discussion
  4. Shaper (SH) - provides drive
  5. Monitor Evaluator (ME) - strategic and discerning
  6. Teamworker (TW) - Co-operative, diplomatic and averts friction
  7. Implementer (IMP) - Reliable, takes practical steps and actions
  8. Completer Finisher (CF) - Searches out errors and delivers on time.
  9. Specialist (SP) - provides knowledge and skills in rare supply

The Belbin profiles we generated from self perception surveys prepared before the workshop provided an opportunity for valuable reflection and discussion. From my profile I discovered, that my strengths or preferred roles lie as a 'co-ordinator' and 'resource investigator' and my least preferred roles are as an 'implementer' and 'specilaist.' I believe this was an incredibly accurate representation of myself and useful in understanding my manageable roles which I may have to 'flex' into in order to perform within a highly efficient group.

From this workshop my understanding of 'difficult' people I may have clashed with has been enhanced and often the most challenging and provocative people, liable to offend others are just 'shapers' that thrive on pressure and provide the drive to get work done.


Action Points

  1. Try not to avoid my least preferred roles ('implementer' and 'specialist') and improve on them by working closely with these kinds of team members, in order to learn from them and make these roles more manageable.
  2. Continue to emphasis my strengths in team work by co-ordinating, promoting discussion and exploring multiple opportunities.
  3. Understand that I will not get on with everyone or understand their methods but accept these so called 'allowable weaknesses' in order for the team to be happy and productive.

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  • Dear Gwyn Thank you for your final entry, it has been a pleasure reading your blogs and it is great … by Samena Rashid on this entry
  • Thank you for this final blog. It's good to hear that you have been able to put much of what we cove… by on this entry
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