In this paper, I reflect on my teamwork experience and interaction with a community partner. During the project, I worked under the leadership of Gabby Moraleda, a board member of PSRC center in San Francisco, as my community partner. The focus of our work team was on previewing and marketing the PSRC program, which essentially meant creating awareness about this program to the public. We were also required to bring to the governments attention the fact that distribution of public funds was being done in a very inefficient manner leading to some non-profit organizations not benefiting at all.
During the project, I learned many things about management and organizational behavior. Top of the list is the significance of teamwork for successful project management. Teamwork is one of the most important aspects of organizational management. It refers to the practice of bringing together the efforts, abilities, and actions of individuals for the determination of achieving common objectives. Team members can play unique roles and take on the different responsibilities necessary to achieve the desired common goal. During interactions between members, arguments and conflicts may arise due to differences in members perspectives, viewpoints, and positions. But with the support of strategic leadership, these differences can be harmonized for the common good of the team. Essentially, the key to successful teamwork is to exploit each members unique capabilities and motivate them to play their respective roles while supporting the common vision of the team.
Although the team project was very successful, some aspects of it were very challenging. These included frequent conflicts, mistrust among team members, personality clashes and power issues. Conflicts over strategies and positions were common during the formative stages of the team building process. This was because each team member wanted an opportunity to play a major role in the team. This led to instances of mistrust as some members felt that they were not being appreciated. These challenges made me realize that differences are inevitable in any situation where passionate people come together to execute a common objective. Under Moraledas sound leadership and guidance, we were able to overcome the challenges, which allowed the process to continue smoothly.
The project work enabled me to learn and appreciate important issues about organizational behavior. By definition, organizational behavior entails the study of the impact of structures, individuals and policies on human behaviors within organizations Scott (69). Apparently, organizational behavior is an interdisciplinary field that draws heavily from psychology, management, and sociology. An important lesson I learn about organizational behavior during the project is the importance of communication in teamwork. Communication is the most important factor that influences the success of projects. Through communication, team members agree on common objectives and methodologies for delivering the expected outcomes. Teams that communicate effectively and frequently complete projects efficiently (Leonard, Graham and Bonacum 89). Effective communication also gives team members an opportunity to appreciate each other peoples contributions to the team. This, in turn, helps in creating the necessary room for accommodating divergent views and also for clarifying any issues that may lead to misunderstandings.
During our team project, we developed a communication plan, which guided us through the process. The plan outlined how information could flow from the source to the recipients and what specific actions need to be taken to ensure that the desired response is obtained. Our team leader was in charge of communication protocols. The team leader worked in close collaboration with Moraleda to coordinate the communication process and ensure that team members had access to the right information necessary to execute their respective roles in the team. Because of this arrangement, it was easier for the team to resolve conflicts and work together to achieve the common objective.
Another important lesson I learned about organizational behavior is the significance of having a visionary leader in a project team. Ideally, the process of choosing the leader of a team is a critical decision because it can influence the success of the teamwork. Regardless of the purpose of the team, having a committed leader is critical in executing the mandate of the team and also in motivating members. A leader can also play a critical role in eliminating some of the decision making burdens from the shoulders of the members, and hence free them to concentrate on ways of helping the team to grow more successfully (Trenholm and Arthur 23). Our team leader played a prominent role in providing the much-needed guidance, which enabled us to fulfill our roles. He also helped in motivating team members and fostering creativity. Moraleda proved to be a very nice person to work with because of her proven experience in leading project teams. She was very understanding, supportive and an effective communicator.
As the team project progressed gradually, there were some important behaviors, processes, and characteristics that members observed. These include beliefs, awareness, challenges, communication styles and responsibility. Regarding the issue of beliefs, members were particularly keen to understand how the values professed by the team influenced individual commitments to the group, as well as the ability to meet desired objectives. These values included punctuality respect for the individual, integrity, and focus. The issue of challenges was particularly important to the team members because everybody was interested in overcoming any setbacks that could derail the project. Although important challenges were observed in the team, members were determined to overcome each one of them. They achieved this by experimenting with best practices in team management and also by challenging status quo.
My experience in this team enabled me to learn about more innovative ways of managing organizations for optimal outcomes. I gained a great deal of awareness regarding the significance of building high performing and well-motivated work teams. Such teams can be important strategic partners in the process of organization growth (Trenholm and Arthur 58). I have also learned about the importance of embracing cultural diversity in organizations. My interaction with people from different cultures helped me to respect the views of other people. I learned that due to cultural differences, people have different perceptions, values, and attitudes. However, these differences can be turned into strengths instead of being an impediment. I also got to know that teams are an amazing context for learning. With teams, we get to learn from each other about our strengths and weaknesses.
Given that our team project was focused on community-based service learning, I got an opportunity to learn about the operations of the not-for-profit sector and the important role that these organizations play in promoting social justice. I realized that majority of non-profit organizations are operating in a very challenging and competitive environment. This problem is mostly related to the shortage of funds, leading to the inability to achieve the desired objectives. For instance, PSRC relies entirely on donor funding and donations from the public as the primary sources of its income. In recent years, donors have been unwilling to support non-profit organizations. As well, public knowledge of the important role played by modern charities is very low (Larson and Wambua 29). These two challenges have made it difficult for non-profit organizations such as PSRC to play its roles more effectively. The implication is that many people who deserve social justice cannot get it because the organizations charged with the responsibility are not getting enough funds. By going forward, the government should look into this issue and develop more efficient ways of funds non-profit organizations that play a critical role in promoting social justice.
Overall, my interaction with team members was very successful and contributed greatly to meeting my expectations of participation. Team members were very friendly, understanding and supportive. In their discrete capacities, the members displayed high levels of emotional intelligence, which was necessary to move the team to higher levels of performance. The team had a good mix of members from diverse cultural backgrounds, which helped in yielding a variety of ideas and opinions. Most importantly, the members shared a common understanding of their individual goals and common objectives. The members treated each other with high dignity and communicated all the time proactively. Under the team leaders strategic leadership and the members cooperation, it was easier for the members to take responsibility for their contributions to the team. The team leader also inspired members to look for innovative ways of overcoming any problems that were encountered.
Larson, Bruce and Nancy Wambua. How to calculate the annual costs of NGO implemented programmes to support orphans and vulnerable children: a six-step approach. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 2.2(2011): 14-59.
Leonard, Michael, Simon Graham and Douglas Bonacum. "The Human Factor: the Critical Importance of Effective Teamwork and Communication in Providing Safe Care". Quality and Safety in Health Care, 13.1(2004): 8590.
Scott, Richard. Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems Perspectives. New York: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007.
Trenholm, Sarah and Jensen Arthur. Interpersonal Communication Seventh Edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
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