The idea of working in groups often brings fulfillment to the team members because of the learning experience, development, and new information gained by the participants. However, group work might be challenging if some participants possess dysfunctional behavior, which may hinder the team from performing to its fullest potential. For this reason, different learning and development theories have been identified towards examining the framework of teamwork and its practicability. Through this commentary, readers will learn the skills needed to make a partnership useful and ways to deal with a group member who may possess dysfunctional behavior that may hinder the confidence expected from working as a team.
Teamwork refers to people’s ability to come together towards accomplishing a shared goal (McEwan, Ruissen, Eys, Zumbo, & Beauchamp 2017, p. 2). For instance, educators instill the spirit of working in groups since most employers perceive it as an essential element for increasing productivity within a company. Consequently, students learn to work in teams to help them understand the importance of group work and in the process gain some skills relevant to their future lives. Conversely, one challenge that may affect the performance of teamwork is dysfunctional behavior exhibited by a group member. Dysfunctional behaviors are perceived as abnormal deeds carried out by a person that could lead to group conflicts, which result in underperformance (Cole, Walter, & Bruch 2008, p. 947). Consequently, people should not only learn the importance and skills developed through group work but also figure out how to handle or deal with a team member possessing dysfunctional behavior.
I learned the importance of effective communication as essential skills for enhancing the efficiency of teamwork. My experience of working in groups has taught me that effective communication involves both listening and talking to each other. For example, when working on a project and one participant talks, the rest should learn to listen attentively and actively. Hoppe (2007, p. 11) found out that listening gives people a chance to grasp relevant information as presented by the team members and later ask questions to clarify a point or have constructive criticism. Equally, giving people time to speak and listening to them is a form of respect and it motivates team members to express themselves without feeling intimidated. Consequently, I have adopted this skill because it helps me develop my ideas and assisting my teammates to respect each other’s opinion irrespective of what they feel about the shared views.
My work experience of operating in groups helped me learn the importance of persuading my audience. Employers often give their staff projects to handle, and it is upon the team leaders to ensure that they come up with adequate information that could enhance the organization's productivity. For instance, the assignment may involve formulating a funding proposal needed by the company to support the company’s project. In such a case, the team should come up with a persuasive presentation that will convince their potential investors to support the project in question (Hamilton 2013, p. 394). In this case, the process of convincing each other about different ideas will help the team members defend their views but remain open minded to new insights aiming at accomplishing a common objective. Before I understood this concept, I disliked people who challenged my ideas because it gave me the impression that they detested my views. However, I learned to embrace positive criticism because it helped me rethink my thoughts, come up with a better version. and achieve utmost results.
My work experience of operating in groups helped me learn that teamwork enhances leadership roles. My professor always emphasizes that students should work in groups for active learning and collaboration. I came to understand that this alliance helped me reflect upon my roles as a leader. A successful group should have a team leader who controls the functioning of activities carried out by the group members for efficiency purposes (Tsai 2011, p. 1). In such a case, I have led two work groups, and I acquired that I possess the characteristic of a participatory leader. I believe that every member should participate and contribute to a project or discussion because their ideas remain relevant to the outcome of an assignment. Also, through participatory leadership, all members feel that their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated and in return, it motivates people to work harder to enhance performance.
There exist cases when teamwork fails, and that can be attributed to situations of dysfunctional behavior exhibited by at least one person in the group. As s stated earlier, an individual with dysfunctional behavior finds a way to disrupt the collectiveness built by a group which results in conflicts that bring the team apart. Some of the dysfunctional behaviors that may be demonstrated by a person in a group may include criticizing others to prove their intelligence, dramatic mood swings, or controlling among other behaviors. However, people should not allow such abnormalities deter them from making their team prosper. Instead, learning to deal with people with dysfunctional behavior can enhance teamwork performance.
A person should find out more about the dysfunctional behavior exhibited by the group member as a platform to help the individual. Social Development Theory depicts that a person’s surrounding may influence an individual’s behavior and cognitive development (Daniels 2012, p. 81). A person may enjoy despising people because he or she experienced the same treatment while growing up. Consequently, researching and learn more about the cause of that behavior can help determine the course of action. For example, some people look down upon others because of jealousy. Therefore, if that is the case, it becomes easier to approach and counsel the individual to understand the impact that behavior has on the rest of the team.
Another method to deal with a person with abnormal behavior is to expect that they will never respond positively. For instance, some people have a negative attitude towards positive criticism because they react with anger. According to self-theories, students with this behavior dislike being corrected and always want to prove to their team that they are always smart and never make mistakes (Dweck 2013, p. 151). The most efficient way is to continue criticizing the individual’s ideas if necessary in a compelling manner without feeling guilty. Eventually, such people will come to learn that irrespective of their behavior some people will not tolerate their abnormality and they may end up leaving the group and finding where they belong. Equally, learned the importance of setting boundaries that do not tolerate people with dysfunctional behavior. It is vital to expect that teammates with strange characters might not change. However, setting limits will keep them from disrespecting others.
Teamwork and collaboration is an important way of learning and adopting group skills that enhance performance. Most employers like staff with a teamwork spirit because it increases productivity, growth, and development as an individual and organization. Learning the significance of teamwork should begin from school settings such that a person can utilize the skills in the workplace. Equally, people should understand that people with dysfunctional behavior may exist in any group. However, that should not deter them from progressing. Instead, identifying mechanisms such as lowing expectations, setting boundaries, and researching more about the problem can help team members deal with such a situation for maximum results.