Personal Application Assignment
When I started to work at the present organization, I was assigned a project management task during the second week of employment. It was not an individual but a team-based task for which I was required to work in collaboration with other three members, David, Martha, and Adler. Since I had just joined the office, I had developed some relationship with David while having no prior experience of working with Martha and Adler. Our team leader divided the tasks amongst us in a way that we could not individually complete our parts and merge them together, but we needed to work in close collaboration. It was a project management task, and I was mainly responsible for monitoring the progress of the project, aligning all the parts together, and then communicating the progress to the team leader. The timeline allocated for the project was 4 weeks.
The first week went fine; however, I noticed that Martha and Adler were quite slower and did not complete all the assigned tasks after the first three days. I requested everyone to speed up so we can finish the task before the provided deadline. I and David had developed the feeling that the team members were not well aligned in their work approach, and some conflict might be raised in the later stages of the project. We both decided not to pressurize other members too much; rather, we should try to compensate the general speed by ourselves so that we could meet the deadline. Therefore, during first half of the second week, I and David worked a lot more than it was actually assigned to us, but it was worth it as we were well in time.
The issue started when Martha began to complain about the tasks assigned to her that we completed. She considered us as if we were trying to degrade her performance and increasing our value in the eyes of the team leader. All three of us tried to explain that it was not about taking the credit; instead, we were trying altogether to meet the deadline. Interestingly, Adler accepted his fault and justified his low performance to the team by explaining the issues he was undergoing with his family. Martha, however, was not convinced that we were not trying to underestimate her or cut down her contribution to the project. Having started to control at first, I became more serious later on in conflict as I began to blame Martha for the lack of interest and professionalism she had exhibited throughout the project. The result was the team split: Martha and Adler were separated out, and the team leader divided the tasks into 2 subsets where we no longer needed to collaborate with each other.
Initially, I felt released and free from the pressure when the team was split. However, I realized very soon that all of us were frustrated and tired due to the heavy work load, and the whole incident happened due to that. In case we had discussed the issue calmly, the split might not have taken place, and we could have resolved the issue among us more professionally. Since I was the one who clearly started blaming Martha, I assumed myself to be responsible for the split, thus feeling guilty. As a consequence of the split and the lack of collaboration between the teams, the project which could have been completed in four-week time took us above six weeks.
Although, all three of us, namely me, David, and Adler accepted that Martha and Adler were slow and the project was being delayed due to their performance, I reacted most aggressively. David assisted me in the discussion and tried to explain to the peers how their low speed was worsening the overall project progress. He did so in a softer tone as compared to me. On the contrary, I began softly as well first, but when Martha did no show her willingness to accept the lack in her performance, I was filled with anger and could not control myself. Adler also tried to control the situation by accepting his fault and promising to manage the pace in the future weeks. Looking at the complete picture, it comes to light that I and Martha were those two who reacted nearly in a same way.
The reasons I can assume behind my behaviour was that I was held responsible for managing the deadline and monitoring the pace of the project. Thus, I was directly answerable to the team leader about the prospective delays. Therefore, I also tried to manage the situation by working more, but Martha did not accept the favour. Rather, she considered this effort as a conspiracy against her. Last but not least, I would also hold the team leader responsible for the split: he should have tried to manage the team by resolving the issues instead of just splitting the team in two groups as it ultimately resulted in lack of the resources.
From the inter-group perspective, it can be seen that none of us had actually the teamwork skills. Although two of us initially tried to control the situation by putting in more efforts, we could not continue along the same lines later on. Similarly, Martha did not try to control the situation even when she was at fault. Adler accepted later the fault, but he should have initially shared the issues with the team to avoid these problems. From the organizational perspective, the issue occurred because both the team leader and team members were not trained to work in close collaboration with each other. Each one of us wanted to prefer him/herself over the team goal.
One of the theories which can be applied to the situation is the Welchs leadership policy. The major attribute of the theory is that the roles of all group members should be assigned according to their expertise. Most probably, the incident took place because Martha and Adler were not the correct choice: Adler explained the reason, but it should be in the knowledge of the team leader that Alder would not be able to put in the required efforts and time for the project. Similarly, Martha could also not come up to expectations of the team, which reveals that the leader was not actually able to comprehend the skill set or situation of each team member and assigned the responsibilities without these investigations.
Second concept of organizational behaviour, which directly relates to the solution, is the work motivation of the team members and performance appraisals (Kotter, 94). Throughout the project period, we were not motivated or encouraged by our team leader for spending all those extra hours in our attempts to complete the project in time. Although two team members were slow from the very beginning, their performance level might have gone up if either the team leader or the team members had appreciated and motivated them. Similarly, the Maslows hierarchy of needs also relates to the situation since the need for esteem was never fulfilled.
Finally, the aspect of performance appraisals could be applied to the situation. The performance evaluations were not conducted by the team leader. If done properly, they could have changed the situation as the slow performers would have developed the idea on how their overall evaluation and resulting compensations and benefits might affect the overall performance. The perceptions of the employees might have changed if they consider what the leader actually thought about their role in the project.
The most important lesson I learnt from this paper is that the lack of collaboration and teamwork skills in the organizations result in waste of resources. Although two of our team members tried to manage the situation on their own, it did not come out to be the correct solution because the overall time of the project delivery was extended even after that. Instead of taking the matter in our own hands, we should have immediately reported to the team leader. Therefore, it is always important to immediately communicate all the issues related to the project and team members participation to the team leader. Moreover, some necessary trainings for promoting collaborative and teamwork culture should be provided to all the employees. These trainings would make the team members realize that if another member helps them, it is not a method to degrade them but to make the project successful. Similarly, these training would attempt to increase the tolerance level for the team members, which would assist them to resolve the issues in a professional manner.
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I have now learnt concepts of organizational behaviour mentioned in the previous section. Thus, I plan to work more systematically as a team member in the future. Rather than blaming individual team members for the failure or incompletion of the project, I have realized that the project success and timeline should be given preference. While working as a leader, I would ensure to investigate the interests, skillset and expertise of each group member before assigning the tasks to all of them. I would personally check with each team member if he\she is able to take the project responsibilities during certain time frame: this is because an employee (e.g. Adler) could be very good at performing some tasks but might not exhibit the same level of efficiency during the needed time frame due to a situation such as illness or domestic issue. Therefore, it is important to assess the context of each team member before relying on them for the project. The assessment of the skill set of each team member would make the task easier to achieve as no one would feel overburdened and would actually enjoy doing it.
The other step which I would take in the future is to appreciate the team members for even their minor contributions to the success of the project. This is important in order to keep the morale of the workers up and keep them motivated. I would often explain them how important is their roles for overall success of the project and how well they have been contributing to meet the vision and mission of the organization. The team members should be motivated right from the beginning of the project till the end. Finally, I would provide the team members with their performance evaluation and the impact of their performance in each project on their quarterly/yearly evaluation. They should be given a clear idea on how important their performance is on each project and how it might go down even if they perform lower in one of the projects. With the performance feedback, I would also ensure that they achieved recognition within the team in accordance with the Maslows hierarchy of needs. The frequent reward and recognition offered to the team members would not only keep them motivated but also push other team members to perform up to the same level.
This paper described one of my teamwork experiences. Being unaware of most of the organizational behaviour and leadership concepts, I could not have the team project completed, and the team was finally split. Afterwards, I realized that the lack of leadership in the organization as well as in the teamwork skills of me personally and my group members may cause serious consequences. I learnt the lessons about the importance of effective leadership, teamwork, collaborative working culture, motivation, and performance appraisals.
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