From the 21st of November to the 25th of November, I have participated to an intensive class. The goal of the class was to understand what makes a team and what the role of the managers and the leaders was. Through this final blog entry, I will talk about my experience as a student and team leader. Before the classes start, I already had the opportunity to be a manager in associations. As I had this 2 years’ experience, I thought I knew enough of the theory and was expecting concrete situations. We will see that not only I have learned a lot of tools for my future career, but also I had the opportunity to be once again, a team leader with a very productive team.
Everything started on Tuesday morning, I couldn’t come the Monday because I was sick. I was expecting to not be welcomed by my team. However, I was really surprised to see that they didn’t have negative feelings of me. Indeed, we started this class by knowing each other and see how we perceived the others. Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity this day to know one of my team member who couldn’t come. However, thanks to the Belbin’s team role, we found quickly the role of every one in the team. Indeed, we have seen that we all have complementary skills and role. Through the week, we understood the importance of the individual role. I realized that I could have managed my old teams better if I had pay intention to the individual roles. I started to wonder myself what other process I should have implanted to create collaboration and cohesion. I already know that a team must collaborate to achieve something. We had to create a 2 minutes show that was evaluated through originality, collaboration, synchronization, and dynamism. We worked together quickly to find a thematic and a choreography. The goal of this exercise was to collaborate to have the best outcome we could provide. We did these types of exercise all over the week to find our role, our skills, and our abilities to make this team works. Indeed, we tried to respect the process established to avoid phenomenon like Groupthink.
If the second day was focusing on team work and team cohesion, the third day was targeting one of the biggest threat of team cohesion: the communication. Indeed, all researchers would tell us that without effective communication, teams often fail to achieve their goals. On the other hand, conflict is also a threat and a driver of team’s successes. Through this day, we illustrated the difference between a constructive conflict and a destructive conflict. In a role play situation, I had to play a negative person that wanted a totally different project compared to his colleagues’ wishes. In the end, my role was to slow the process, creating communication breakdown and make people focusing on my issues and not on the project. The idea was to show us that frustration and anger creates conflict, and this type of conflict might be destructive. This is something we must fix when we want cohesion and effective communication. Indeed, conflicts often raise from the ashes of frustration and communication breakdown. We have seen that a effective communication is essential to create dynamism and avoid destructive conflicts. To illustrate also how communication can be distorted sometimes, we played a game where someone had to give a message to another one, which also had to give to another one. At the end of the line the last person, must tell the others what he heard. We can see that the more complex the message is the more difficult it is to provide the right information.
Through this week we learned a lot about teams. And, compared to other theory that I wouldn’t know how to implant it, we had the ability to see how these theories worked, how we could build team and find our place in it. I was the leader of my team but all of them were leading me too. I ensure guideline and help when they provide support and creativity all over the week. I won’t forget what I learned and I regret I couldn’t come the first day. This week was also about knowing who I am, and I think that through the tests we made, I could become a good coordinator and managers. I will have the ability to put these theories into practices in few weeks as I will do an internship. I hope I will be able to find my place in the team.