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Team Dynamics and Conflict Resolution

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Team Dynamics and Conflict Resolution

Most individuals have different understandings and definitions of a team. Katzenbach and Smith (1993) define a team as “a small number of people with complimentary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goal, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable” (p.45). Based on the definition provided by Katzenbach and Smith we determined that there are several essential aspects to take into consideration when forming a team, because many times it is difficult for a team to be successful because people are accustomed to working alone. The essential aspects to forming a team are understanding the concept of a team, the number of individuals participating in the team, range of skills, clearly define and challenging goals, common approach, mutual accountability, conflict resolution, and communication.

When teams are formed, it is important that all members understand the concept of a team and know the difference between a team and a group. Many teams fail because the members are not aware of the difference between a team and a group. According to Hicks (1998), a group has individual performance goals while a team has performance goals to achieve and members of a team feel mutually accountable to achieve them. In a team, each member learns how to work and interact with others. For instance, the goal of a team is to put together the best possible presentation that represents the work of all team members, while in a group each member provides a contribution without working together. In a team, each member endeavor by working together for the best possible product or result. Typically, the result of a team is more than what an individual could achieve, whereas in a group each member provides a contribution without working together. Creating an efficient team may be the foundation for success.

The number of individuals participating in a team is important area that may affect the performance of a team. Typically, a team may range from two or more members; however, we believe that the fewer people in the team the higher the probability that the team may perform well. For example, if a team of 20 is created the interaction within all 20 members may decrease and sub-teams may be formed which could lead to difficulties developing the goals and purpose of the team. Dealing with each other in a professional matter may help each team member develop leadership qualities to become better individuals and advance in our personal and professional life. A team should have a sufficient numbers of members to perform the assigned task.

Another imperative aspect to consider when forming or participating in a team is the range of skills that each member brings to the team. It is essential that each team member possess interpersonal, technical and problem solving skills. However, if a member does not possess these skills when the team is formed he/she may develop them with the proper coaching and training. For example, a member of our team was not familiar on how to send an email with an attachment, but the learning team worked with the team member and guided her on how to send an email with an attachment and to forward information from the computer. Furthermore, it is important to achieve and master the interpersonal, technical and problem solving skills for the balance and success of the team.

Likewise clearly defined and challenging goals may help the team focus on performance in order to achieve the desired result. A clearly defined and challenging goal is an important aspect of an effective team. According to Hicks (1998), goals provide a clear sense of direction for a team. If a conflict arises, it is possible to channel the conflict more constructively by returning to the goals direction. The goals must be challenging yet attainable. In addition, the goals must be measurable in order to track and confirm the progress to the desired result.

In a similar manner, a common approach to complete assignments and projects will set the tone for the team. It is important that a team set schedules, procedures, and agendas when completing an assignment or project. For a team to accomplish all task and goals it is imperative to have a team charter in which each team member has communicated what they believe would be required to have a productive and successful team. The University of Phoenix learning team tool kit (2002) suggests that contact information, team goals, ground rules, and skills inventory, and conflict management information be included in the charter.

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