Learning Team Charter Analysis Learning Team A COM285 February 21, 2011 Rosana Nesheim Learning Team Charter Analysis Communication plays an important role in the determination and success of today’s organizational teams. Developing great communication, strong organizational support, clear objectives, and high levels of leadership are vital to the success of groups, especially when working across an organizational or geographical spread. Almost everybody has had the experience of working with groups at some point in his or her lives.
Regardless of the role played by each person, communication is vital between all members of those groups. Trust must be developed within the groups to communicate effectively. Ground rules, a great deal of thought, and due dates should be placed into the process for dispute resolution. Honesty must be present at all times on all ends of the team because untruthfulness could damage the team’s integrity. Team members should always share feelings and information between each other allowing total trust between them.
Following, a definition of group communication, differences, and strategies between group and individual communication, and examples of effective strategies of communication within teams will be provided. Technology utilized to facilitate group communication, the advantages and disadvantages of using each will be also discussed. Group communication is defined as a group of three or more individuals with different strengths and skills assembled for the common good of a project.
The individuals involved in a group will be from different cultures, so they will have different ideas and ways of doing things. Knowing that individuals come from different cultures and have different thoughts on how projects should be done is why group communication is so important, individuals need to learn to work together when involved in a group project, which is why it is so important to communicate with every member of a group and work for the common goal. Many differences between group communication and individual communication exist.
The main difference between group communication and individual communication is that individual communication is interaction between two individuals who allow immediate feedback from the other participant. Because there are only two individuals participating in individual communication the participants can better understand the thoughts, opinions, and ideas of each other, and also can respond to each other immediately. Group communication unlike individual communication is three or more people interacting with each other for a common goal.
In group communication members of the group do not supply feedback to another individual; they provide feedback for the entire group to analyze at a later time. Within a group it is important for each member to have input. The thoughts and ideas discussed can better the outcome of the finished project. The members of a group have to consider everyone’s culture to work out any problems that may arise while they are working together. There are many strategies that can be used to improve group communication as well as individual communication; two of these strategies are listening, and verbal and nonverbal communication.
In any type of communication whether it be group or individual, listening is a very important strategy. When listening more attentively an individual can pick up on more details. Listening has many different types, although the type that group or individual communication demands is discriminative listening and informative listening, the latter of which is how we maintain what we hear. Another strategy that can promote group and individual communication would be verbal and nonverbal communication, the nonverbal type of communication mainly dealing with body language.
In both group and individual communication the body language of an individual can tell colleagues more information, such as whether or not the speaker knows what they are stating, if he or she can be trusted, and many other items important in communication. The main thing about group communication and individual communication is whoever is involved needs to trust the other participants to the extent that no matter what the case, there are always times when we need to work together collectively for a common goal whether we agree or not.
Dispute resolution is a very important thing to discuss and consider when working in any sort of team. Diverse teams, like our learning teams will more than likely at some point develop conflict or even simply a disagreement. In our learning team charter we stressed the importance of frequent communication between team members and the idea that if our team communicates effectively that we will be successful. The idea being that if we have good team communication, we will avoid most of the conflicts that could arise.
The section in our charter that touches on dispute resolution we have discussed and developed the steps that we will take as a team if one team member is not participating in the project or has not turned in his or her assigned portion by the team deadline. As a team we have decided to resolve this conflict by first trying to contact the team member by e-mail or phone and then proceeding to take his or her name off the project if they continue to withhold participation. This is the only aspect of conflict resolution that we have decided upon as a team.
At first glance, this seems like everything we may need to resolve our differences, but after closer analysis this does not cover all of the bases or include enough information. To provide stronger strategies and more information to our charter it would be helpful to include a step-by-step process that our team would follow if we were to disagree about something. Because our group is diverse, it is probable that we will not always agree on the way that things need to be done or what is expected of each person.
To strengthen this section of our charter we need to touch on this type of conflict and what to do if a situation like this were to occur. It is important for us to add that we need to value each person’s opinion and except their differences. Adding something like this into our charter would help us respectfully handle a situation in which conflict has occurred or could occur. Another strategy that would strengthen this section of our charter would be to discuss team leaders for each week. From experience in a learning team, it is not fair and does not end well if only one person takes charge each week by default.
If we touched on this aspect it would eliminate most conflict that could arise from one person doing more work than the rest of the team. Even though this could be considered conflict avoidance, it would add to our charter and help our teamwork successfully together. Adding steps to discourage conflict we can resolve conflict before even begins and our team will work much more successfully together. Then adding steps to resolve disagreements or differences to our steps about resolving participation issues, we will be able to work through any conflict that does make its way into our team.
Adding this information will make this section of our charter stronger as well as our team. Fostering team communication has been effortless. The learning team (A) has completed the required (Learning Team Charter) which emphasizes communication between team members. All the members have input before the charter is finalized. The charter asks for guidelines in a number of communication-type settings: Team Ground Rules and Guidelines, Expectations for Time Management and Involvement, Ensuring Fair and Even Contribution and Collaboration, and Special Considerations.
Team ground rules and guidelines charges each team member to participate in the team meetings, discussions, and projects. Help with team members who need help with the project or questions. Remaining positive with each other to get the work done and accomplished on time is essential. Team members are always to approach each team situation with good manners and an open mind. We are trying to foster positive team communication and being polite is essential. Expectations for time management and involvement consider all team members and their endeavors indispensable.
Everyone ought to participate in discussions and projects. Communication is the key to a well formed group and effective team. If a team member is unavailable the vested individual needs to give timely notice, so that other teammates can complete the scheduled tasks. To keep with deadlines, team members who do not submit will not have their name on the project. Being honest and dedicated are qualities that great teams possess. Ensuring fair and even contribution and collaboration guarantees the team that its’ members are willing and able to foster a positive learning team experience.
If one team member has picked a portion of the project and has not turned it in by the team’s due date, the individuals will be called and e-mailed about the portion. When necessary, the team will divide up the unavailable section and the responsible member’s name will be removed. Communication is the key and to ditch the team is selfish and unpleasant. Being polite at all times fosters desirable team communication. Special considerations allow our team members to depend on one another. Asking for help and receiving it can create feelings of trust and value. The more the members feel valued the more dedicated they are likely to be, and this in turn makes it easier for the team as a whole to achieve its goals” (Buzzle. com, 2011, paragraph 3). Positive feedback and evaluations allow team members to express themselves without concern for scrutiny. “Interpersonal communication, communication between people, is crucial for good teamwork. It relies heavily on interpersonal skills such as listening and dealing with conflict” (Locker & Kienzler, 2008, p. 458). An outstanding learning team allows its members to express their: opinions freely, thoughts, how they feel, and their ideas.
Team members are well mannered, knowledgeable, enlightened, and fair. Their attention is kept on assignments and they listen well. The foremost learning teams are honest, moral, and ethical. Group communication relies heavily on technology. Technology is the “branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment. It is also the sum of ways in which social groups provide themselves with the material objects of their civilization” (Technology, 2011, p. ). Many technologies are used in learning teams in today’s society, we will discuss two of them. These technologies tools are teleconferencing and instant messaging. Teleconference is virtual, and a person can be anywhere in the world. Teleconferencing can be by Internet, phone, e-mail, or camera like Skype. Teleconferencing for a group project in an academic setting is contingent upon the observance of specific requirements. The requirements are for academic participation and work products in a team environment.
The advantages of teleconferencing in a team environment are the benefits of flexibility, archiving, and reduced likelihood of computer virus infection between team members. The team members also receive participation points for communicating with each other. Teleconferencing is also voluntary and is not required by the school. The disadvantages of teleconferencing are that it is voluntary but only if the whole learning team agrees to communicate that way. That transcripts or minutes are to be posted to the online learning team main forum. The minutes or transcripts need to be addressed in a certain order.
The last disadvantage of teleconferencing is that using this form of technology does not excuse late submissions of learning team projects. Instant Messaging is another form a learning team could use to communicate in his or her online group forum. Instant Messaging is “an electronic message sent in real time via the internet and therefore immediately available for display on the recipient’s screen” (Instant Message, 2011, p. 1). The advantages of using Instant Messaging are the team can pick on service provider and use that to communicate.
Communicating through the school is supported by Instant Messaging in the classroom. The team can receive academic credit for participation and work while using instant messaging media. Instant Messaging or ”IM” is voluntary and the learning team is not penalized for using a different media than e-mail or learning team forum to communicate. The disadvantages of Instant Messaging are the same as teleconferencing. Using this type of media for learning teams needs to have an official transcript or minutes submitted to the online learning team forum.
Any mishaps from using the Instant Messaging will not excuse late submission or participation. The last disadvantage is that the whole team must agree to use the Instant Messaging and the same provider for communication. The online campus does not sanction the use nor does the Technical Support staff trouble shoot or provide assistance for their use. The most reliable of Instant Messaging programs may seriously compromise the configuration or security of computer systems. “The biggest challenge in today’s society is that team members could be across the country or even the world. (University of Phoenix, 2004, p. 6) Leading teams in a virtual online team environment is becoming more difficult. Getting work done is harder, how to share data with each other, how to do things at a distance, and gain new skills and knowledge. The good thing about virtual technology is that online learning teams will help develop competencies and will use new technology tools to help promote virtual collaboration. Although learning how to communicate properly with people takes time and effort, communicating effectively is an important skill that everybody should know.
Effective communication starts with confidence. This is the foundation and the thread that binds together everything else. For some, building up solid confidence would require a huge step but once this is accomplished, everything else would fall into place. Knowing how to communicate effectively will hold the key to a successful future whether it is a small or big group it will assist, support, and help the people advance in practically every aspect of their lives. References Buzzle. com. (2011) Small Group Communication: Effective Team Communication.
Retrieved from http://buzzle. com/articles/small-group-effective-team-communication. html Communication (2011) In Dictionary. com, Retrieved from http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/communication Demand Media, Inc. (2011) Importance of team communication. Retrieved from: http://www. livestrong. com/article/105939-team-communication-important-teams/ Instant Message (2011) In Dictionary. com, Retrieved from http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/instantmessage Internal Comms Hub, (2006) Role of communication.
Retrieved from http://www. internalcommhub. com/open/news/ashridge. shtml Locker, K. & Kienzler, D. (2008) Business and Administrative Communication (8th edition) New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, Retrieved from: University of Phoenix online library. Susan Sullivan, Jeffrey Glanz; (2005) Building effective learning communities strategies for leadership and learning. University of Phoenix (2004) Learning Team Toolkit. Available on the University Of Phoenix student/faculty website: http://ecampus. phoenix. edu (February 18, 2011).