Now that university life is starting to settle down, I’m feeling comfortable with my courses, and MGMT 300 is starting to make sense to me. I begin to ask myself what has troubled me over the past week, and how have I overcome it? Instantly I think of the thoughts I have on team assignments, the experiences I’ve had working in teams, and the subsequent grades that have accompanied my experiences in teams. Looking back on my experiences in teams, they are mostly filled with rage and annoyance, which has lead me viewing teams in a negative fashion, one that evokes anxiety and stress. So naturally when I heard a part of our grade will be based on teamwork I instantly thought to myself “oh… how fantastic”.
In short, the problem I choose to reflect upon is: Why view team assignments so negatively?
I remember the first time I properly worked in a team, it was year 13 at high school, I was the managing director of a mock company with around 7 other directors. In summary the experience was mixed. I liked being a manager, but the fear of losing grades due the poor effort of team members always loomed over my head. In university this feeling still remains, the feeling that my effort and grades may be compromised due to the lack of effort put in but other team members.
Upon looking back on my team experiences however my grades have been okay, they seem consistent with what I would have probably gotten if made to do work individually. Which raises the question, why am I viewing team experiences so negatively? I believe a main reason for my view on teams is because I’m an introvert. I prefer “solitude, reflection, and internal exploration of ideas” (Helgoe, 2010, p. 9). Being someone who likes to think to themselves is clearly a bad start towards a team effort. However I believe I contribute towards the team function. Another possible reason could be that the teams I have worked in have been large, and according to Katzenbach and Smith (1992) large teams face an issue of a prevention of all team members’ inputs.
Upon reflecting upon my thought on teams it has become clear that I need to work on becoming less of an introvert when it comes to teamwork, as it is something I’m going to have to do for the rest of my life. I believe I can do this by simply spending more time within teams, learning what works and what doesn’t work for me, but also for the team. Also by coming into team activities with a broader more optimistic view of the experience, I believe this will reflect the overall experience and grades I will receive.
Helgoe, L. (2010, September 01). Revenge of the Introvert. Psychology Today, 9.
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3--27