Small Group and Team Communication-Personal Reflection Paper

8 Pages   |   1,856 Words

Communication, defined as the exchange of information, is one of the most significant parts in team work. The to and fro swap of knowledge is integrally important when a team or a certain group of people is set to work. I always give key importance to promote the flow of information amongst team members, because a smooth flow is very important in order to create a healthy working environment. This also helps in improving the work efficiency of my team. I personally believe that a team can never accomplish a hallmark success unless it has a very well managed internal communication, developed amongst each other (Choudrie, 2004).
According to various theories it has been proven that flatter organizations mostly have better efficiency because of this particular reason that the flow of information, or team communication, is smoother than organizations with taller organizational structures (Hassan Abu Bakar, Mustaffa, & Mohamad, 2006).
According to my knowledge, communication has two main streams, especially in small groups and teams. Firstly, the internal communication in the team might be focused upon the task assigned to the group of individuals or towards finding the solution of the given problem. Secondly, there can be a need for a team to get involved in the maintenance communication. Without the latter one, emotions and personal schedules may get in conflict with the assigned job. A good team leader of a small team should excel and work in accordance with both of these approaches.

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Task Communication

Task communication can be defined as any communication which straightforwardly affects the result of any small group's efforts. Budget and schedule contributes a major segment of task communication and same goes for resource allocation. In my belief, gears like charts and graphs gauge the outcomes of task communications. Type "A" personalities, are the sort of people which have a more belligerent approach and tend to govern task communications in most organizations, masking out frail voices despite the quality of the given suggestions (Liu, Wang, & Cao, 2010).

Maintenance Communications

To me, a team is not a robotic entity. It is a bunch of people that are being put together to carry out a particular task or to solve a problem. Maintenance communication spotlights on the "people" side of the team. Disseminating stress and disagreement is one of the key features of maintenance communication, and guaranteeing that all the related voices are heard is totally another. Maintenance communications cannot be compactly described on a page or a chart. People specializing in the maintenance communications, like myself, tend to be more concerned and are more interested in group development and solidity than with the achievement of the assigned task (Olson & Olson, 2005).

Conflict

I have learnt it through my professional experience that teams in the initial stages of development have many clashes between the above mentioned task and maintenance communications. Teams should invest more time focusing on the growth rather than the achievement of the particular assigned task. This may look like a counterintuitive step, but a group which becomes a unified entity can achieve more than the one that has never left the primitive stages of growth and development. For example, one of my managers was a task-oriented person who wanted to start the task by explaining the problem that the team will address; on the other hand, one of the project's assistant managers was a maintenance-oriented person. He kicked off the project with concise introductions so that people can get to know each other working in the team. Each one used to see the other counterpart's tactics as a waste of time, which created the conflict. These conflicts were readily resolved otherwise the team would have never been able to achieve, neither its goal nor its build up beyond formative years (Martínez-Moreno & González-Navarro, 2009).

Cohesion

I believe that a group with fewer members works better when both of these aspects, namely task communication and maintenance communications, operate in accordance with each other. When the group achieves cohesiveness while simultaneously working toward its goal, it grows at a more rapid pace and realizes more. For example, I had seen that when maintenance-oriented self-introductions also included a brief summary of the group members' credentials, the team was more informed in assigning roles and responsibilities. When the team used brainstorming techniques that allowed greater contribution, a more expansive selection of options was available. Cohesive teams hence balance maintenance and task communications (Gossner, Hernández, & Ne, 2006).

Leadership

In small groups and teams, usually one or two members take the role of a leader. One may lead the group socially, while the other guides the remaining members on their tasks. The group leader facilitates strong team communication by guiding discussion. This characteristic of group conversation allows a synergistic decision-making process in which team members achieve more through working together. To me a team leader must not only keep the team on top of its task and build team cohesion. They should also recognize task and maintenance communications and be able to play an active role in both. Moreover, they must also know which one is appropriate in any given situation. A leader must be a good listener in order to assess when teambuilding is required; failure in either task or maintenance communication will lead to a failure of the team as a whole. I have learnt through experience in both my academic years and professional life, that the ability of being able to keep a balance between task communication and maintenance communications, works as a fundamental part of becoming a successful person to lead the team (S. Mello & E. Ruckes, 2006).
Multiple Perspectives
While working on numerous team projects, I found that each individual brought their own strengths, weaknesses and distinctive experiences to the group. When each member contributed, this encouraged discussion over the different topics being raised. I found that while a single person can only rely on their own skills or talents, as a group we could benefit from the abilities of each member and ultimately find the best solution (G. Norton, 2000).

Roles

I believe that each member of a team has his or her own distinctive role to play. While one may contribute by giving ideas to the team, another may do so by leading the discussion on another course. Another member may play the role of opinion-seeker and probe for feedback from others. I have seen that some team members are more vocal and take every chance to voice every stray thought that may come to them, while others only communicate those ideas they believe are worthy. Ultimately every person has a role to play, and this is how they can communicate effectively (Cooper, V. DeJong, & Forsythe, 2002).

Commitment

While working on a particular group project, I found that because we were working together as a team there was better decision-making. After brainstorming several ideas, we assessed the execution and feasibility of each to see which could be used. By going through each step together and getting the approval of each member, I felt that the team was very committed to the decisions made. Supporting each other and the idea itself, meant a greater lack of commitment than there would have been if it was an individual’s own thought (P. Lazear, 1999).
Barrier to Creativity
The barrier to creativity comes with the barriers in communication amongst the team members. I have witnessed this throughout my professional experience that this is the major cause because of which the employees miss out on the actual problems that are there. Perceptual barrier helps the team in hiding issues; it includes difficulty in spotting or separating the issues or encircling on one key issue. Small groups or teams in smaller organizations only see the initial high cost of build up and not the long term cutback and benefits it will have for the working environment and organization as a whole. The reason has always been that the team goes off their previous experience. They judge the outcome on the basis of initial expenditure, without giving the program a chance to flourish. This mainly comes by the boon of lack of internal communication and communication barriers (R. Bloom & A. Alexander, 2000).

Coordination

I most often kindle my team's creative thinking by using nontraditional brainstorming sessions in order to overcome the restriction that the communication blockade put on the team. The only way in which I made it possible was to get the entire team involved and familiar with the going concern together to brainstorm and produce new ideas on problem solving loom to make the team achieve success. This process brought diverse standpoint together to extend to a creative solution. Having the various ideas from different departments gave me a collaborative explanation that the whole of the organization was on the same page and it helped the organization to achieve its goal of being a successful venture while saving the company money in the long run (McLachlan, 2001).

Conclusion

I personally believe, in the light of my experience in the academic and professional life, that small groups have a better ratio of efficiency rather than larger groups. However, team communication can be an integral factor in achieving that trademark efficiency. An organization working in smaller groups and developing a good flow of information can undoubtedly achieve a greater degree of success rather than one working in larger groups of individuals and giving lesser important to the team communication.

References

Choudrie, J. (2004). Understanding the role of communication and conflict on reengineering team development. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 64 - 78.
Cooper, R., V. DeJong, D., & Forsythe, R. (2002). Communication in Coordination Games. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 739-771.
G. Norton, B. (2000). Improving Ecological Communication: The Role of Ecologists in Environmental Policy Formation. Ecological Applications, 350-364.
Gossner, O., Hernández, P., & Ne, A. (2006). Optimal Use of Communication Resources. Econometrica, 1603-1636.
Hassan Abu Bakar, H., Mustaffa, C. S., & Mohamad, B. (2006). LMX quality, supervisory communication and team-oriented commitment: A multilevel analysis approach. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 11 - 33.
Liu, J., Wang, W., & Cao, K.-p. (2010). Leader political skill and team performance: a moderated mediation model. Nankai Business Review International, 5 - 22.
Martínez-Moreno, E., & González-Navarro, P. (2009). Relationship, task and process conflicts on team performance: The moderating role of communication media. International Journal of Conflict Management, 251 - 268.
McLachlan, J. D. (2001). Communication Networks and Monitoring. The Public Opinion Quarterly, 194-209.
Olson, J., & Olson, L. (2005). Virtual team trust: task, communication and sequence. Team Performance Management, 256 - 276.
P. Lazear, E. (1999). Globalisation and the Market for Team-Mates. The Economic Journal, 15-40.
R. Bloom, J., & A. Alexander, J. (2000). Team Nursing: Professional Coordination or Bureaucratic Control? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 84-95.
S. Mello, A., & E. Ruckes, M. (2006). Team Composition. The Journal of Business, 1019-1039.

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