Team effectiveness reflection is critical to understand the current advantages and drawbacks of team performance. The key objective of such reflection is to improve the productivity of the team members and enable a leader to understand and address the existing challenges. I have participated in various projects in the college, and the majority of them were successful. Nevertheless, some team interactions were complicated and overwhelming, which limited achieving the stated goals. I consider that team performance appraisal helps in allowing people to better understand each other, assess their skills, and increase the awareness of the required quality standards. Most importantly, every team member needs to know where he or she stands in a group, which includes specific roles and responsibilities.
While working with my team members on college projects, I have noticed that there are some common challenges we often faced. First of all, feedback was provided rarely, with minimal details and guidance for further actions. There was a one-way feedback communication process, which did not allow providing the response to it, but students were welcome to ask any relevant questions. Second, I have observed that peer review is another infrequently-used strategy that can be used to promote greater cooperation in the team. In this course, I have learned that my views regarding these challenges were rational. The importance of feedback is discussed by Aldag and Kuzuhara (2015), who states that it promotes a greater understanding of what goes well and what requires more attention. A lack of proper feedback leads to the dysfunctionality of teams and underperforming of every team member. The continuous process of learning is one of the best options to address the mentioned challenges.
Even though team performance appraisal can be time-consuming and uncomfortable, it is likely to motivate people and foster skill and knowledge development. I was a part of the college team that was assigned the task of conducting a research project. It became clear to me that the active and transparent exchange of information is a sign of an effective team since it is related to open discussion and mutual support. For example, if one of the team members struggled to complete his or her part, others were aware of that problem and tried to help. I have also learned that respect and trust between the members of a group allow for obtaining valid feedback from peers. In turn, peer feedback helps in aligning objectives to stay focused on the ultimate goal.
The teams that receive the mix of guided reflexivity and feedback are more likely to improve their performance. According to Konradt, Schippers, Garbers, and Steenfatt (2015), the quality of information processing determines the success of decision-making in a team. Based on the conditional process analysis, the authors report that the development of shared mental models makes a positive impact on team productivity. It is also noteworthy that the findings are relevant to face-to-face interactions, but virtual teams need to be studied in further studies. In my point of view, these findings provide valuable insight on combining feedback with team reflexivity to enhance decision-making in teams.
A team model of evaluation includes several key areas, such as leadership, partnerships, and resources, people, processes, results, as well as policy and strategy. I had the opportunity to observe how these areas are intertwined in practice. The readings completed so far structure my knowledge and make it more connected to practical implications. For example, I have discovered that partnerships between two teams can also be organized and managed in terms of a larger project. The whole class can be divided into two groups that are to be given the same topic, but they should consider it from different perspectives. In this case, students had to communicate with each other to agree regarding the resources and sub-topics to be covered, so that the project could include all the necessary parts. Therefore, I believe that there is a need to design a set of formal performance criteria that are pertinent to a particular team and specific environment (Aldag & Kuzuhara, 2015). Such an approach seems to ensure the most successful and complete team performance assessment.
A 360-degree feedback model implies that the majority of the following sources provide their response: senior management, a team leader, external customers, internal customers, peers, and the team itself. The course readings were useful to understand some mistakes that may appear while using the identified model. Making feedback an event rather than a process is the error that I observed in my team. I remember that the team leader stated her intent to provide feedback, and students were uncertain about its long-term implementation. In other words, it was a mistake to provide feedback only once at the end of the project as it limited the chances to timely improve drawbacks and build on strong points of the team. In addition, I have noticed that the use of feedback was not clarified by a leader, which negatively affected the outcome of the project. It would be better if she gave more detailed explanations on what exactly each of the team members is expected to change. This limitation was associated with a lack of internal communication and a poor understanding of the entire process of cooperation.
The study of the guidelines for effective team feedback sessions is another area that I consider to be significant as it improves my knowledge. Compared to my experience, this course offers a wide range of guidelines that I can implement in practice during future team projects. For example, the suggestion to pay attention to time-related aspects seems to be critical to agree on timeframes, milestones, and deadlines in general. Once the materials are received, the team should collectively discuss the chosen topic and identify performance evaluation issues (Aldag & Kuzuhara, 2015). Two-way communication may be encouraged by posing open-ended questions, and active listening skills should be applied by assessors. When feedback is given, specific ways of its use and performance enhancement goals are to be discussed.
Team building and development is a complex task that includes a lot of elements, each of which should be considered by a leader. The first issue that I have learned regarding team building is the importance of the number of people involved. Namely, it became clear that the teams larger than seven persons are likely to face a lack of cohesiveness and coordination challenges. In turn, excessively small groups can be fragile and tense (Aldag and Kuzuhara, 2015). When I was working on the project with three other people, there was a 2-2 split in opinions, which was resolved only after the intervention of the teacher. In general, the larger the time, the more difficult is to manage it and avoid conflicts. Therefore, the task to be completed should be correlated with the number of team members who are needed to complete it.
Team staffing is another area that significantly impacts the ability of its members to achieve the stated goals. Among the issues that require special attention, there is cultural background, personality, diversity, and so on. In this course, I learned the key recommendations regarding team composition formation, which were partially implemented in my experience. First, the availability of the resources, skills, and knowledge should be ensured for the team, and my college projects were consistent with this statement. Second, it is important to vary the memberships across assignments. I have often observed that more talented or experienced students are given the key roles, while others feel excluded, which reduced their motivation to perform better. Third, it is also critical to act as a leader or assign a person who will keep the team on track. In other words, not only people but also tasks should be monitored in terms of effective team construction and development.
While being a member of various teams, I have understood that teams tend to change with time. This observation is supported by the course readings that prioritize the necessity for a leader to be flexible in decisions. For example, norms, unwritten rules, and expectations regarding team behaviors can be prescriptive or prescriptive. According to the former, the team members are dictated how to behave, and the latter clarifies what should not be done (Aldag & Kuzuhara, 2015). From my point of view, prescriptive norms provide wider opportunities for being creative and open to change. Since the team participants are aware of the unwanted behaviors, they can look forward and develop more options for reaching a common goal. At the same time, it should be remembered that new team members may bring their norms that can be adopted or rejected by others. New norms may evolve without the introduction of new members, which may happen if the current behaviors caused misunderstanding or low productivity. For example, if several people expressed their doubts on the process of decision verification, a novel process can be suggested.
The stages of team development compose one more essential area that was studied in this course. Any team matures with time when the mistakes became clear, and certain prospects for further cooperation tend to be more transparent. Among the basic stages, there are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning, which identify the allocation of roles, norms, and rules in a team. However, it is not enough just to announce them at the beginning of the project as they must be formed and experienced by the team. In this way, team members will be able to verify the seriousness of their intentions. In the process of forming the rules of cooperation in my projects, the team leader took on the key function of encouraging the continuous improvement of the rules and penalties for violations. If the rules are often violated by different members of the group, they should be discussed at the meeting, and, if necessary, some rules should be changed.
A different classification is applied by other scholars, who focus on the connection between the stage of development and team learning (Raes, Kyndt, Decuyper, Van den Bossche, & Dochy, 2015). These authors distinguish between four phases, including dependency and inclusion, counter dependency and fight, trust and structure, as well as work and termination. The findings of the identified study point to the following tendency: teams are more likely to learn better during the third and fourth stages that refer to mature negotiations and comfortable, collaborative work. The team participants engage in longer conversations and more frequent opinion sharing. Most importantly, the stage of trust and structure demonstrates team learning at a cooperative stage while learning behaviors are likely to become a norm in the future (Raes et al., 2015). These findings point to the need to pay attention to different developmental phases and related team abilities so that relevant learning processes would be adopted.
To build confidence, the team needs to be demonstrated success as quickly as possible. Therefore, the first intermediate goal must be formed in such a way that it is complex, but achievable for some foreseeable period. Such an organized success in the initial phase should lead to a growing belief in the team spirit, which will show the members that they are capable of solving even more complex problems (Kemanci, 2018). The emergence of team spirit can be shaped by a certain frequency of interaction, the achievement of which is not limited to only working meetings, and requires the closeness of the team members. Such intense personal contacts play a special role in crises. I believe that team spirit is important both for the team and the management in its relationship with the team. By openly and critically agreeing with employees, it is possible to increase loyalty in their behavior (Aldag & Kuzuhara, 2015. As a result, the team members will feel confident even in difficult situations.
In conclusion, the course readings helped me to relate my experience to the theoretical foundations that would guide my behaviors and decisions in my future team projects. I have learned that feedback should be considered an integral part of team performance improvement as it offers both positive and negative evaluations. This reflection allowed me to reveal the mistakes that were made by my teams and identify the ways they can be prevented based on team cooperation, mutual trust, openness, and guided reflexivity. I have understood that team assessment drives the ongoing learning and development of its members, while the 360-degree model is one of the relevant strategies to provide feedback.
I would like to stress that team formation and development involves a range of concepts and models that assist leaders in determining the team size, composition, roles, norms, and rules. The most insightful point of this course is that teams should remain flexible despite the seemingly stable conditions. When new participants join the team, or the environment alters, it can be necessary to reconsider the existing norms. For ensuring proper team formation, resources and knowledge should be provided to all the team members. I have also learned that team spirit plays a great role in team cohesiveness. The key recommendations on its improvement are praising team accomplishments, keeping the team small, and identifying outside threats. In general, this course allowed me to enrich my experience as a team projects participant.
Aldag, R., & Kuzuhara, L. (2015). Creating high-performance teams: Applied strategies and tools for managers and team members. New York, NY: Routledge.
Kemanci, G. (2018). Investigating the impact of esprit de corps/team spirit on employees performance in University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja. Nile Journal of Business and Economics, 4(8), 36-47.
Konradt, U., Schippers, M. C., Garbers, Y., & Steenfatt, C. (2015). Effects of guided reflexivity and team feedback on team performance improvement: The role of team regulatory processes and cognitive emergent states. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 24(5), 777-795.
Raes, E., Kyndt, E., Decuyper, S., Van den Bossche, P., & Dochy, F. (2015). An exploratory study of group development and team learning. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 26(1), 5-30.