Team member effectiveness is essential for the cooperative work of the group, as every individual contributes to the success. Understanding the characteristics of effective team is a key for understanding the roles of every teammate. Some of them depend on the particular task; however, there are certain universal requirements to the team members that influence the effectiveness of the team. The conducted self-assessment of team member effectiveness measures the participation in the team’s work, the quality of interaction with the teammates, the energizing the cooperation, orientation on the goals and results, and the knowledge relevant for work on the team’s goal. The latter also includes abilities of a member to perform the tasks of the teammates in case of need. The assessment was conducted based on my general qualities as a team player, as well as my effectiveness in particular teams.
The scores of the self-assessment appeared to be relatively high, as I consider myself to be a team player. It shows that my strengths lie in the open and honest communication and interaction, as I generally work in the teams with the stimulating environment and effective leadership, where members are driven by common goals. I also scored high in the expecting quality of the team work, as the focus on the future and creating the opportunities for the development allow me growing positive attitudes. However, my weakness is that I am not always ready to give the adequate feedback on the work of my teammates, as I sometimes fail to critically assess their work, because of the lack of necessary knowledge of their skills and responsibilities. It impacts my effectiveness as a team member, but it is possible to change the situation by improving the communication with teammates and increasing awareness of team composition. As far as particular teams are concerned, my effectiveness largely depends on the climate and relations with the teammates, while the scores still remain high. Practical implication of self-assessment results gives an opportunity to improve my team member effectiveness.
Team effectiveness is influenced by the group development process, as every stage contributes to the quality of team work. The most widely used developmental model was elaborated by Bruce Tuckman and includes five stages – forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning (Kinicki & Fugate, 2016, p. 264).
The first forming stage is characterized by the low trust between members, the anxiety, avoidance of the conflicts and desire to fit in. The members merely start defining their goals, roles and leaders. The group tries to communicate ideas and understand each other to set the basis for the further cooperation. The second stage is storming, and it is a period when “individuals test the leader’s policies and assumptions as they try to determine how they fit into the power structure” (Kinicki & Fugate, 2016, p. 265). The formal leader has to gain trust and consolidate the position within the group, while the subgroups appear and confront the leader. During the norming stage the individuals already begin addressing themselves as actual members of the group, understanding their roles and accepting group mates’ viewpoints. It creates the ground for effective communication of the ideas and concentrating on the common purpose, as the group becomes cohesive. The performing stage is characterized by the effective group cooperation, as the goals are set and each member of the team has established role and responsibilities. Open communication and trust stimulate the cooperation and mutual help, and the final goal is achieved successfully. During the adjourning stage the group assesses the achieved results and sets the plans for the future work.
The group development is vital for increasing the effectiveness of the team. However, the process is not always smooth and straightforward, as there are multiple factors that influence group dynamics. One of the most positive elements that influence the group development is competence of the group members relevant to the tasks and goals, as well as the experience of the leader. The competence allows the members to overcome difficulties in communication and effectively resolve conflicts, while the leader’s experience is essential to establish norms and policies that guide the work of the team. The most negative factor in the group development process is deindividuation, as in the cohesive group the established norms may blur the individual identity of the members. Therefore, the creativity and opposite opinions are often restrained by the members themselves, as the group has power to influence the opinions and behavior of the individuals. It may lead to the lack of the issue discussion and poor decision-making.
Another problem of the group dynamics is Ringelmann effect, or social loafing, “the tendency for individuals to expend less effort when working collectively than when working individually” (Karau, & Williams, 1993, p. 681). As the group size increases, the efforts of the individual tend to decline. As a matter of fact, it does not necessarily affect every member of the group; however, the loafers produce low-quality work and may drastically impact the effectiveness of the team. The loafers experience the lack of responsibility or interest in the task or feel disconnected from other members of the group. I have faced the social loafing during the group projects, when one grade was given for the collective work. I have noticed that almost every group project had one or two loafers, who did not want to contribute to the accomplishment of the task, as such individual did not acknowledge the responsibility for the task, but rather waited for the others to work on the project. It is a common example of social loafing and it is one of the factors that directly influence the group performance and team work effectiveness.
The work of every member of the group is important for the efficient functioning and development of the team. The analysis of strengths and weaknesses is essential to understand the procedures of working in the team, as it helps to identify what characteristics should be emphasized in the training. Additionally, team member effectiveness testing helps to critically assess the process of group development and avoid common pitfalls, such as social loafing and conflicts between teammates. The understanding of the processes that are critical to every phase of group development prepares the team for the difficulties that should be faced and enhances the cohesion of the team. All in all, the effectiveness of the team depends on various factors, but it is a responsibility of team members to contribute to their common purpose.
Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (1993). Social Loafing: A Meta-Analytic Review and Theoretical Integration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1993. 65(4), 681-706.
Kinicki, A., & Fugate, M. (2016). Organizational behavior: A practical, problem-solving approach. NY: McGraw-Hill Education.