Interpersonal & Group Communication:
Teamwork interactions among employees represent one of the essential elements of inter-personal communication.
A team is a unit of two or more people who share the responsibility for working towards common goals. Problem-solving teams and task forces, which are often cross functional, are set up to resolve specific issues. Committees are mostly formal teams which deal with regularly recurring tasks.
Team members have a shared mission and are often at the core of ‘participative management’. Since team members are collectively responsible for their work, effective communication is essential on every aspect of team performance.
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Productive teams develop the rules of interaction that are conducive (i.e. workable). Such rules, often unstated, become the norms. Every member in a group plays a role that affects the outcome.
* Members who assume self-oriented (dysfunctional) roles are motivated to fulfill personal needs and tend to be less productive: Controlling/dominating and exhibiting authority; or withdrawing/refusing to deal with any aspect of the team’s work; Attention seeking and demanding recognition; Diverting or focusing on topics of interest to the individual, not the team’s tasks;
* Members who assume team maintenance (functional) roles help everyone to work well together: Encouraging participation through nonverbal support, praise or agreement; Harmonizing: Reconciling differences through mediation or humour, etc.; Compromising: yielding on points of interest to enable acceptable decisions.
* Members who assume task oriented (functional) roles help the team to reach its goals: Initiating: getting the team started, seeking and giving information, coordinating and setting procedures.
In the process of team work, teams typically evolve through a variety of phases such as orientation, conflict, brainstorming, emergence and reinforcement.
Team members socialize, establish their roles and begin to define their task or purpose.
Members discuss their positions and become assertive in establishing their roles – disagreements and uncertainties are seen in this phase.
Members discuss all options and examine the pros and cons, aiming towards a solution.
A consensus is reached on a given solution.
The team clarifies and summarizes the agreed upon solution and follow up.
(The process is also defined as forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning – viewed as a general framework for team development. Teams may move backward and forward through several stages before they become productive and other teams may be productive right away even while some or all members are in a state of conflict).
Conflict in a team can be constructive or destructive. But the Team Members must strive to resolve the conflicts through any of the following measures:
* Pro-action: Deal with minor conflict before it becomes a major one
* Communication: Get the people involved in the conflict to resolve it
* Openness: Get “feelings” out in the open before dealing with the main issue
* Research: Seek facts before seeking solutions
* Flexibility: Don’t decide upon a solution before considering other options
* Fair play: Seek fair outcomes
* Alliance: Get the opponents to fight against an ‘outside force’
In Overcoming Resistance – the following guidelines are suggested: