Adjourning Stage of Team Development

When I think about the teams I have worked on in my lifetime and how I felt as the project or event came to an end my mind instantly went to one time.  I was a teenager and a member of a mission group for our state.  It was made up of ten girls from all over the state so we didn’t know each other at the beginning of the week.  It’s amazing to me that we went from strangers to ending the week in tears because we were going our separate ways.  We bonded so much over the planning and carrying out the plans in just one week’s time and felt like we made a difference in the community we worked in.  “It is likely that any group that reached Stage 4: Performing will keep in touch with each other as they have become a very close knit group and there will be sadness at separating and moving on to other projects independently.” (Abudi, 2010, para. 17).

It was hard to say goodbye because we had devoted our time, our creative abilites, worked through conflicts, and had been separated from our families during this time.  Also we were working in communities that were inner city or so far out of town that they didn’t have running water.  Knowing that we made a difference in the lives of the people we encountered that week brought our team closer together as well.  All of these aspects bonded us and made for a very strong team and a hard goodbye.  Therefore, in my opinion a high-performing group is harder to leave.  For example, I was on another mission team the next year and the team leaders just wanted to site see instead of work in the community.  I couldn’t wait for the week to be over because I felt like the team leader did not stay to the objectives of the project and just wanted to have fun.  A fun excursion is something you do at the end of the week as a reward for the hard work.

I think the hardest teams to leave are the one’s that you feel like you have put all of yourself into the goals and the other team members have too and you see the success at the end.  I think that it’s important to reward the team at the end of a project, either by going to lunch together or a fun excursion if possible.  It’s nice to be able to pat each other on the back and decompress from all the hard work.  I really can’t imagine how adjourning will be at the conclusion of my master’s degree.  I’ve been going to school at the minimum of full time so it has been a long journey.  While I look forward to graduating, I still question, “then what?”  Adjourning is essential to teamwork because it, “provides the team the opportunity to say good-bye to each other and wish each other luck as they pursue their next endeavour.” (Abudi, 2010, para. 17).  It is closure for the team and each of the members.

Reference

Abudi, G. (2010). The five stages of team development: A case study. Retrieved from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/the-five-stages-of-team-development-a-case-study.html

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Conflicts

I want to begin this blog assignment by saying that I recently experienced the ultimate betrayal by my supervisor that cost me my job.  I was not fired but I had to choose between my mental health, that was affecting my physical health, and the job that I thought I would be with until retirement.  I wanted to say this before starting the assignment because my point of view is definitely bias at this time in my life.  I will try to be objective as I complete this blog but I appreciate the opportunity to be completely honest.

Our program had five centers and I was the manager of one of those centers.  My boss was over the program as a whole.  During one situation she felt one of my staff should be handled a certain way and was insistent upon me doing exactly what she told me to do.  I have never been insubordinate so I followed what she told me to do.  My morals were telling me otherwise because I knew she was having me do things to make this person unhappy and want to leave.  I also believe that we should not only be inclusive in our classrooms but with our staff.  One day she felt I wasn’t following exactly what she said to do and she spoke to me horribly over the phone.  I bowed down and said okay and I never stood up for my thoughts, feelings, or morals once during the entire situation.  I believe that if I had used the cooperative strategy of collaborating with my boss on a solution I wouldn’t have felt so bad about what was going on. “Collaborators are problem solvers who creatively work toward finding ways to meet the goals of both parties.” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2015, p. 232). Collaborating also involves divulging concerns, discussing the issues, and understanding each other’s perspective.

When I first started this blog I spoke of being betrayed.  My boss’ job was on the line for something that happened at my center.  She decided to take me down with her although the incident was neither one of our fault.  Now that I am no longer there I see what she did but during that time I didn’t and I was the one that apologized.  I know that I must forgive to move on and get past this conflict but I’m not ready yet.  “To forgive is an emotional transformation, in which you ‘let go’ and move beyond the conflict or ‘wrong’ that you perceive another has done to you.” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2015, p. 235).  Once I’m able to do this I think that her and I could be friendly again because I really did like her as a person.

Reference

O’Hair, D., Wiemann, M., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J. (2015). Real communication (3rd. ed).

New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

 

Communication Evaluation

For this blog assignment I evaluated myself and asked a friend and my brother to evaluate me in the areas of communication anxiety, verbal aggressiveness, and listening styles.  The one thing that surprised me is that my friend and my brother evaluated me within the same range as I evaluated myself.  Our scores were different but they all fell within the same range.  I was surprised by this because I am usually harder on myself than others are on me.  “Self-esteem consists of attitudes, the positive and negative feelings we have in a given situation about our abilities, traits, thoughts, emotions, behavior, and appearance.” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2015, p. 48).

An insight that I gained about myself in regards to communication this week is in the verbal aggressiveness category.  I was scored in the “significant” category by myself and the other two people.  “With little provocation, you might cross the line from ‘argumentativeness,’ which attacks a person’s position or statements, and verbal aggression, which involves personal attacks and can be hurtful to the listener.” (Laureate Media, 2017).  I know that I struggle with being defensive about my ideas and actions but I never thought I was argumentative or aggressive.  I always worry about hurting other people’s feelings or saying something that is considered ignorant by another.  After this assignment I realize that I need to take personal inventory of my communication capabilities.

The two areas that I need to improve on are verbal aggressiveness and listening.  Although at the time of completing this assignment I could not see where I was scored on listening style I can tell by my responses to the questions that this is an area I need improvement on.  I think these two areas affect my communication effectiveness in my professional and personal life.  In listening, I need to actually listen to what the other person is saying instead of jumping ahead in my thoughts or zoning out when it doesn’t interest me.  In verbal aggressiveness, I need to think before I speak and choose my words and tone of voice carefully based on who I am communicating with at the time.  “Self-monitoring is your ability to watch your environment and others in it for cues about how to present yourself in a particular situation.” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2015, p. 56).

References

Laureate Media. 2017. Verbal Aggressiveness. Retrieved from http://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/EDUC/6165/04/mm/quiz/quiz_verbal/index.html.

O’Hair, D., Wiemann, M., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J.  (2015). Real communication (3rd. ed). New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Inter-cultural communication

I believe that I do communciate differently with different groups of people or cultures. The first one that comes to mind is that I communicate in a professional manner when I am meeting with colleagues.  I wouldn’t communicate the same way with a group of my closest friends.  As I think about my colleagues we come from different cultures because our race, our religious and political affiliations, and even our education and experience are different.  We may have some of the same common goals but our culture affects our perspectives.  So when I communicate with colleagues I have to keep these things in mind.  “While you’re listening to someone, you’re also adapting your behavior to respond to the person’s cultural expectations.  To multitask takes both creativity and flexibility.” (Beebe & Beebe, 2011, p. 110).

The next inter-cultural communication difference I think of is within my own family.  We are influenced by the way we are raised but as we begin to form our own conclusions about life and we have individual experiences, these things affect our personal culture.  I was raised in a middle class, educated, religious, very conservative, and slightly racist family.  I still fit into some of those categories as far as middle class, educated, and religious beliefs, but I am more liberal in my political views and not racist at all.  On a recent trip to my parents home the difference in our political views became reality.  I struggled to know what to say because I did not agree with them.  Out of respect I stayed quiet, smiled, and nodded my head, but inside was disagreeing.  “Don’t expect that just because you know a person’s culture you can predict his or her behavior.  Few cultural patterns are rigid or apply to all members of a culture.  Furthermore, cultual patterns change when they come in contact with new patterns.” (Gonzalez-Mena, 2010, p. 81).

The final difference in the ways I communicate are with parents at my center.  There are 116 families at my center and that means cultural differences between every single person and family.  My communication with each varies depending on their personality but also the topic they want to discuss.  For example, one time I may be joking and laughing about everyday things with a mom but the next time she has serious concerns that she wants to discuss.  “To become other-oriented is to do two things: first, to take into account another person’s thoughts and perspective, and second, to consider what the other person may be experiencing emotionally.”  (Beebe & Beebe, 2011, p. 111).  I must be able to adapt from informal to formal communication with a parent and be sympathetic to their thoughts and concerns.

References

Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2011). Interpersonal communication: Relating       to others (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. (pp. 85–114)

Gonzalez-Mena, J. (2010). 50 strategies for communicating and working with diverse                 families. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Looking at Nonverbal                   Communication Across Cultures. (pp. 80-81).

Communication Skills & Styles

I chose to watch the pilot episode of “The Office” for this assignment.  Although I know it was a popular show I have to admit I never watched it.  I went into this assignment not knowing the characters or the storyline at all.  I watched this episode for the first time with the television muted.  I felt like the boss was someone that wasn’t truly qualified for the job and relied on the workers to get the job done.  This is based on the uncomfortable feeling you get while watching him meet with, who I thought was a client but later found out was an executive.  Also, when he met with staff they seemed to be asking questions but he would stand in front of them without replying, then say something, and laugh but no one else was laughing.  He seemed to think he was a commedian but based on the staff’s eye rolls, lack of laughing or smiling, and looks of disgust on their face I surmised that they didn’t think he was funny at all.  I believe I was able to come to this conclusion based on the nonverbal communication of  gesturs and body movement, more specifically affect displays.  “Affect displays are nonverbal gestures that convey feelings, moods, and reactions.” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2015, p. 103).

I believe that my assumptions were correct about the characters and the plot of this episode.  The boss said, “I am their friend first and their boss second.”  He seems to think that jokes make him their friend.  I didn’t realize that he was a bit insulting to his receptionist.  Based on her body movement and facial expressions I felt like she thought he was an idiot, but I misinterpreted those things because she was actually insulted.  “Contradicting behavior is also part of what makes joking around, teasing, and the use of sarcasm (cutting remarks) so powerful.” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2015, p. 98). I was also correct that he does not seem to know his job very well and relies on his staff to make him look better.  I think that if I had been watching a show I knew well that I would have started with preconcieved ideas and I would not have grasped the full meaning of the assignment.

I learned from this assignment that nonverbal communication in the form of facial expressions, gestures, body movements, and situational context can tell you so much without hearing a word.  I was able to understand most of the story line all based on observing the actions of the characters.  I think that when we hear the word “communicate” we instantly think verbal communication, although when we talk with a friend or colleague we are interpreting their facial expressions and body movements even if we don’t realize it.  While I observed this episode I found myself focusing mostly on the characters overall body language but as I read the textbook I had an “aha” moment.  The textbook states, “situational context includes spheres like the place you are in, your comfort level, the event, current events, and the social environment.” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2015, p. 117).  I suddenly realized that the setting of this show is a nonverbal communicator in itself.

Reference

O’Hair, D., Wiemann, M., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J.  (2015). Real communication (3rd.

ed). New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. (pp. 3-26)

Competent Communication

The first person I thought of when I read this assignment was my former co-worker, Brittney.  Competent communication is defined as, “communication that is effecitve and appropriate for a given situation, in which the communicators evaluate and reassess their own communication process.” (O’Hair & Wiemann, 2015, p.13).  Brittney has a skill for assessing a situation and responding professionally and appropriately within seconds of what the other person has said or done.  Her response is always precise and she is able to convey her message without making the other person feel inferior.

I would definitely like to be able to communicate like Brittney.  I have sat in many meetings with her where I found myself in awe at her responses.  I am the type of person that does not think quick on my feet, most of the time.  I have to have time to process and usually by the time I do the moment has passed.  If I respond too quickly, in some cases, then I come across as being defensive or unintelligent.

Reference

O’Hair, D., Wiemann, M., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J.  (2015). Real communication (3rd.ed). New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. (pp. 3-26)

Professional Hopes and Goals

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A hope I have as I complete this course is that I will always keep in mind what I have learned through it.  I hope that I don’t get complacent and begin to think of diversity the way I use to.  I also hope that I can pass what I have learned on to my staff and they can use the information to make their classrooms more inclusive for the children and their families at our center.

One goal I have for the early childhood field in regards to diversity, equity, and social justice is that we absorb as much information as we can on these subject matters, that we incorporate them into our classrooms and our legislation, and that we pass progress on to the next generation of early childhood professionals.

I want to thank all of you for your words of wisdom, support, and insight throughout the last eight weeks.  I wish you the best in the courses to come!  We can do this!