According to Belbin, the definition of team is “a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way” (Belbin.com, 2017). An important aspect of work in a group is productivity. Every team member takes on different responsibilities in the group to achieve the common goal. Belbin’s research identifies that there are nine team roles, and every team role has characteristic strengths and weaknesses.
Those roles categorized into three groups: action oriented which are: shaper, implementer, and completer-finisher; people-oriented which are: coordinator, team worker, and resource investigator; and thought oriented which are a plant, monitor-evaluator, and specialist (Appendix 2). However, a team does not need to consist of nine people with different roles to be a perfect team, as people have a mixture of roles.In the class, I completed the Belbin Team Role Inventory and my results showed that I am an implementer and a specialist. The implementer is the practical organizer who gets things done by turning the team’s idea into positive actions. However, they can be too conservative to new ideas.
Specialists are dedicated people in a group who provide specialist knowledge and skills but may have only known this in a specific field. It helps me to learn about my strengths and I can manage my weaknesses after I did the test. An example worth mentioning is the first assignment in the group at the beginning of the academic year, where we had to do a presentation. On our first group meeting, we shared the work between five people and we were discussing the task. The problems began when one of the members a ‘plant’ did not send any e-mail and he stopped working at the next meeting because ‘plants’ prefer to work alone. The other two members ‘shaper’ and ‘coordinator’ gave out their ideas, but they both want to be leaders, so conflict was unavoidable. Another student represented as a ‘team worker’ expressed his opinions and I thought this was great.
The main problem was who would be the leader in our team and what if the second person would feel unsatisfied. My work as an implementer was to turn ideas into practical actions and I tried to convince the shaper and coordinator to modify their ideas to make the final plan accepted by all team members. We finished the presentation as a team but made some mistakes. I think that we allocated tasks in the wrong way to team members. Tuckman and Jensen (1977) as cited by Tubbs (2017) can help me better understand various problems at different stages of team development. A group passes through five phases of development as forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning (Tuckman and Jensen, 1977).
Next time we should allocate tasks to the group according to Belbin’s theory because people are more motivated if they working in a way that is natural to them. By doing the Belbin Team Role Inventory and after this teamwork experience I know my role in a team.Good teamwork plays a vital role and can be an effective way to learn and is also very important in the workplace.
By identifying different roles in the team, I learn that all roles having different strengths and weaknesses. This exercise helps me to better understand teamwork and group formation. According to Huczynski and Buchanan (2007)communication is “a process involving the transmission of information and theexchange of meaning between at least two people”. (Tubbs, 2017). For a thought or idea to be exchangedbetween two people, there are many different stages. Shannon and Weaver’stwo-way communication model (1949) highlights these stages and many factorsthat influence effective communication.In 1949, Shannon and Weaver’s model of communicationwas designed to improve technical communication.
However, later was used todescribe different fields of communication. The model has five basic factors assender, encoder, channel, decoder, receiver, and feedback. In addition, thereis also the concept of noise, which affects the communication process (Appendix1).The communication process involves a sender who sendsa message through a channel to the receiver. They encode their message usingsuitable language or signals and choose a channel such as face-to-face conversationor phone. The receiver decodes the message; sometimes the sender’s message may bemisunderstood even if a speaker sends a clear message because the receivertakes a different meaning to the message the sender intended. Shannon andWeaver identified this as noise in the channel.
Noise can be environmental andsemantic. Semantic noise can conflict with communication between people whospeak the same language because many words have multiple meanings and sometimesthe receiver misinterprets the message the sender intended. The source ofenvironmental noise may be, for example, road vehicles, trains, and publicworks. Shannon and Weaver’s model include feedback so thereceiver can check their understanding of the message via feedback giving thesender an opportunity to re-clarify the message. Last week I made a call to work to speak to my managerabout working overtime. I encoded mymessage and chose a phone as my channel. However, when he decoded the messagehe thought that I was saying that I will not come to work for a few days. Hemisunderstood my message.
The noise in the channel was both a bad telephoneline and the fact that I am from Poland and English is my second language. Themanager thought that I wanted less work while I was asking for more work. Sometimes,the noise during a conversation can affect just one word that will change themeaning of the whole sentence. Shannon and Weaver highlighted this as noise inthe channel. In this situation, noise affects the ability of the receiver tounderstood the message as intended.
Next time when I will call to work or anywhere I willspeak louder, slower and clearly, to make sure that the person on the oppositesite will receive the right message from me. The feedback plays a big role inconversations between the people. In addition, verbal communication is only 7%,and the remaining 93% is nonverbal signals, including 55% of visualcommunication as body language, and 38% for non-verbal communication as thetone of voice, intonation, and way of speaking (Mehrabian, 1967).Communication is not a one-way process and plays avital role because is the foundation of all human relationship. Finding andunderstanding the noise will help to solve problems in communication betweenpeople.