Teamwork (2)
Originally when thinking of teamwork, sports teams came to mind. In order to reach the common goal of obtaining a championship (or goal) of some kind, the sports team has to work together, through thick and thin, to reach that goal.  They have to use teamwork. However, sports teams are not the only “teams” that use teamwork to obtain a goal. Teamwork is also used within the work place, in outside extracurricular activities, such as a club or other community based program, and in family as well.

Technically, team work is “the psychological, behavioral and mental work that members of the team carry out as they collaborate with one another on various tasks and subtasks that they must complete in order to reach their desired goal” (Forsyth, 2014 ). In order to work effectively as a team, the team must bring together the individual and unique talents of everyone involved. This will maximize the team’s performance. In order to do that, the team needs to spend time working together before they mold into an effective group. In time the group will develop a shared understanding of the team and the tasks at hand.  Early in the team building process, a team must set their goals, develop their group identity and work through any interpersonal stresses within group relationships. This will diminish any potential conflict and allow the team to progress smoothly.

This first stage of developing a team and moving towards teamwork has been called “forming.” This term was developed by psychologist Bruce Tuckman in 1965, along with the terms storming, norming and performing, later followed by adjourning (Mind Tools 2006-2013 ). During this stage the importance of a leader is very evident. Many individuals at this point in development are anxious and are not sure of what the team and the goal may hold. Within this period of time the team is going through a transition process. “Teams typically take on tasks that need extensive planning ahead of time in order for them to be completed” (Forsyth, 2014 ). During this transition process the team goes through mission analysis where they focus on the current situation. They form tasks and subtasks that must be completed, figure out what resources are going to be available to their team to aid the way to their goal and determine any environmental conditions that may influence the teams work.

This is also where “storming” comes into play. During this stage the team or groups individuals are determining where they fit within the team and if the team goal is all that it’s cracked up to be. Within this period of time the leader of the group may be questioned as well as the ultimate goal of the group. In time this can all settle down because of the overall look at team progress and team coordination.

After goals are set, the group identity is developed and the team has formed, the next step within team development and teamwork is the action process. Obviously this is where action is taken to meet their goal. This is also where norming of the team develops. The hierarchy of the team is established and other members may take on leadership qualities in certain areas (Mind Tools Ltd., 2012 ). The team monitors their progress during this stage to determine what else has to be done to obtain their goal. The team will look over their progress individually and as a group (Forsyth, 2014 ). This is also where teams and task groups differ. On a team, a team member will help another simply because their team member needs help. The team develops a stronger commitment to the ultimate goal, and progress towards the goal is apparent. Individual goals and preferences are set aside for the team and individuals will change their behavior to aid the process of coordination. Each action set in motion by each individual will mesh together resulting in synchrony (Forsyth, 2014 ).

During the transition and action process, the interpersonal process is also taking place. Teams must spend time tending to their relationship aspects of their team to decrease potential conflicts within the team on a personal level. Conflict can disrupt the unity of the group which is why conflict management is so important to a team and its teamwork towards their goal. Conflict management can include, “motivation, confidence building, communication, pacing, role clarification and creativity” (Forsyth, 2014 ).

A conflict within a team is “a process resulting from team mates’ real or perceived differences’” (Martinez-Moreno, 2012 ). There are three different potential conflicts; task, relationship and process conflicts. A task conflict is the awareness of differences in view points and opinions pertaining to a group task, relationship conflict is an awareness of interpersonal incompatibilities which include components such as feeling tension and friction and process conflict is an awareness of controversies about aspects of how the task accomplishments will proceed (Martinez-Moreno 2012 ).  Each potential conflict can affect the group positively or negatively based on how the team reacts to the conflict at hand.

Task conflicts can be disagreements on certain tasks based on different perceptions of the facts or personal views about the tasks. These task conflicts can turn into relationship conflicts which are harder to resolve and can be more detrimental to a team’s development and the outcome of their teamwork on the main goal. Relationship conflict tends to take energy and time away from the goal because that energy and time is being spent on each other rather than the team-topic. “In order to prevent these negative outcomes the team has to understand the conditions under which task conflict triggers subsequent relationship conflict” (Martinez-Moreno, 2012 ). Task conflict that does not progress into relationship conflict can bring potential positive aspects to the team because it can lead into group discussion about the tasks at hand and how they are being carried out. Other creative ideas or thoughts can be brought up and ultimately a more productive way of going about the task can be develop through that discussion.

A team owes part of their success to the strength of their bonds linking the members together. To form strong team cohesion a team does need to form social cohesion, develop a level of task cohesion, agree on what tasks need to take place for the ultimate goal and emotional cohesion to diminish the amount of interpersonal and relationship conflict. Absence of negative personal qualities, similarity in attitudes and proximity will bring team members together, build friendships and ultimately bring the team closer with one another. This will build team cohesion and help to develop strong teamwork abilities that will allow a team to reach their collective goal.

Here is a short video clip that I found on youtube describing forming, stroming, norming, and adjourning with scenes from the movie Remember the Titans.

Remember The Titans - Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning08:34

Remember The Titans - Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, Adjourning

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