Because my team and I consist of different nationalities, and possess different egos and personalities, and moreover, have only met a week, based on my observations of how our team dynamics currently are, I have identified a few risks or perils we might face while undertaking group projects in the coming weeks.
One major problem, in my opinion, would be the difference of opinions or views due to varied cultures, traditions, upbringing and ways of approaching problems. Difference in opinion always has and always will cause disagreements, as I have already experienced it with my previous group. Last semester, I faced an issue where one colleague always wanted to have the last word, and wanted only their opinion to be heard and implemented in the final paper. At that moment, we did not take any measures but simply went ahead with their views. I see similar issues taking place here too. One factor to consider is that because things that seem right to me may not always seem right to my team members and vice-versa, this sets off everyone’s time and efforts.
Second major hurdle that could potentially derail our progress and productivity while doing assignments could be the lack of effective leadership, and the subsequent inability to resolve conflicts resulting from poor communication due to accents and subtle non-verbal cues, as well as contrasting views on team and personal goals.
And a third problem could be the presence of negativity in the team in case a certain project does not yield the desired result or output; because this happened during my past team experience where a certain member became upset and subsequently pointed fingers at the rest of the team for not meeting their expectations. And this is nothing new. Almost every team has at least one member who has slightly higher expectations when it comes to grades or feedback/ contract extension/ higher profits than others.
These are the three chief challenges, I feel, my team and I could potentially face in the forthcoming weeks. In order to make sure these challenges are avoided to an extent, if not completely, it is imperative we come up with a few solutions and remedies beforehand.
In my view, the key to solving any major or minor team dynamic issue is one-on-one communication and being empathetic. Majority of problems occur due to poor communication and lack of compassion. Every individual is different, and so when one explains a particular topic, it is not a given that the other will understand what they said. In order to avoid embarrassment by asking the other person to repeat what they said, the individual merely makes a presumption. And this is how misinterpretations and subsequent confusion start. Therefore, it is vital that every member in the team talks slowly and has the patience to repeat if need be. They must put themselves in others’ shoes without holding any presuppositions or preconceived notions. Keeping the lines of communication open can create a flexible team that reacts well to challenges. We must ensure we offer each other clear directions and constructive feedback, and create a positive and energetic atmosphere that encourages performance by getting to know each other on a more personal level.
And a second important solution is motivation. A motivated team is excited to work and contribute. We can inspire each other by making them feel appreciated, setting clear goals, encouraging creativity, offering opportunities for self-development, and supporting their ideas. If, through proper communication and motivation, we can manage to work as a team, then I believe, half the battle is won.