Throughout my time at this university, I have been put into many teams for many different classes and I can honestly say that each of those experiences were different from the others. Sometimes my teams performed well and sometimes they didn’t. It is too early to tell how my team for this class will perform, but since this class is the first that has made me actively evaluate and analyse how I can get my team to perform better, I can look back on how I’ve performed in a team in the past and think about what I can do better this time around.
Thinking back on my previous experiences in teams, one thing that made the teams fall apart was when the workload was not evenly shared and some people started freeloading. What was interesting to me however, was that this didn’t bother me too much. My goal was always to get a good grade so if it meant doing more work to compensate for someone slacking off then that was what I had to do. I just accepted that some people in the group aren’t going to work as hard so there was no point in getting upset over it even if other people would. But the question I ask myself now is: based on what I’ve learned about teamwork this week, should I have approached teamwork differently?
In looking at Katzenbach and Smith’s (1992) views, that a group doesn’t become a team until it holds itself accountable as a team, I can determine that the group of people that I was working with in the past was in fact not a team by Katzenbach and Smith’s (1992) definition. We were instead a group of people who occasionally got together to work on the same thing. But because some team members were not accountable at all and I was only being accountable for myself, no one there was acting as team member. We may have gotten a good mark for the project, but we didn’t do it as a team. This may have been good enough for me in the past, but now that I have only one semester to go and will likely be working in a team in the near future, I cannot allow myself to fall into the same mindset this time around. For the team I’m in to succeed, we all need to be accountable as a team and not just for ourselves. I think with specific roles being allocated, this will be an easier task than it had been in my previous teams. So in the first week or two the main goal of the team may have to be to cultivate the idea in all of us that we need to start acting as a team and not as people in a group.
Katzenbach, J. R., & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. Mckinsey Quarterly, (3), 3-27.