Brockbank, tasks. Lewin and Gertrude (1948) developed

Brockbank, McGill and
Beech (2002) suggest when an individual learns they
may improve their performance and may also transform themselves. When a group
learn they are likely to transform themselves. A group reflecting on a learning
process is more likely to develop, prosper and survive. In
this essay I will use Schon’s (1983) reflective practice cited by
Macleod-Brudenell and Kay (2008) to reflect on action, looking back over
events, review and evaluate what has happened. I will use my reflections to
describe the nature of group dynamics exploring specifically
possible barriers of group working and the impact on working
relationships.

According to Levi, (2017) “Groups are more
than just a collection of people. Groups have goals, interdependent
relationships, interactions, structed relations and mutual influences”
(p.15).  Forsyth (1999) describes a team
as a group of people working towards a common goal with coordinated
interactions to complete tasks.  Lewin and
Gertrude (1948) developed the notion that how individuals within a group
situation respond and react to changing circumstances had an effect on the rest
of the group. Group dynamics is therefore the process that occurs between group
members, affected by each member’s thoughts and feelings whether expressed
internally, externally or via nonverbal communication resulting in positive or
negative consequences. Reflecting on this knowledge and my practical
experiences working within a group, I experienced how the dynamics of the team
have changed as a result of individuals’ actions and how these changes directly
affected the group’s performance.

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Firstly, I was allocated to a group with two fellow
students. After pleasantries our common goal was choosing a topic. Initially
the group did not agree which topic should be researched due to group members’
previous knowledge. The group deliberated and agreed on a topic of which all
had limited knowledge. The task was reviewed and unstructured research based on
the desired outcomes began. This is very similar to Tuckman’s (1965) initial
stage of group development “forming” (p.396). Tuckman (1965) describes forming
to include group members discovering what “interpersonal behaviours are acceptable
in the group, based on the reactions” (p.386) of other group members. Tuckman
(1965) also describes the forming stage to include an “orientation to the task”
(p.386). This entails the group members attempting to identify the task at
hand. On reflection, during the forming stage I initially felt apprehensiveness and the fear of the
unknown. I was worried, as I can be over domineering but also eager to please,
I felt that I needed to hold back in a new group situation to first discover
the others personality traits therefore limiting potential conflict.

During the forming stage group members undertook a workshop
about personality traits, using the iMA Colour Style Tool (Colman &
MacNicol, 2015, p.45). Using this information, I could conclude the preferred
personality traits of the group, with each member’s own unique trait impacting
on the roles they would take in the group. This is similar to Belbin’s (2010a) personality
types, which are directly linked to the characteristics of Belbin’s (2010b)
team roles. Belbin (2010b) identifying a set of nine roles which
are needed in a team to ensure a good balance resulting in an increased
likelihood of success.
Belbin
(1981) as cited by Trodd (2016) suggests that “for a team to work successfully
together they need to be well balanced fulfilling a range of roles, including:
Action oriented roles, People orientated roles and Cerebral Roles” (p.422). Reflecting on this workshop I
could see my iMA Colour Style Tool personality type was Assertive Logic
(RightTrack, 2017) which shows similar traits to the role Belbin described as
“Shaper” (Belbin, 2010b, p.22), relishing overcoming obstacles while leading.

Regrouping, the group shared their research and quickly discovered
that poor organisation and lack of communication outside of the classroom in
the initial forming stage meant each group member’s research was very similar,
resulting in frustration and a realisation that the task may not be achievable.
Tuckman (1965) calls this stage “storming” (p.396). Tuckman (1965) describes
the storming process as a time where intergroup conflict will occur and the
emotional demands from the task is identified. It was clear that the group
tried to be “all-rounders” (TP Human Capital, 2013) lacking leadership and
therefore direction.

I decided to take leadership without consultation with the
group. The need for clearer communication was agreed, therefore online systems
were implemented and used for communication. Levi (2017) suggest that accessing
technology as a form of communication helps the “team manage their task and
group process” (p.322). On reflection, I see how a lack of communication can be
a barrier to success. A group needs clear guidance and communication to remain
focused and help the group remain on track. As the leader my role at this stage
was as a “coach” (Ramsey, 2017). As a result, the group transitioned through
the storming phase quickly and became a more cohesive unit.

Allocating topics, sharing research and opening clear
communication links enabled the group to enter what Tuckman (1965) described as
the “norming” stage (p.396). This promoted group unity and an ambition to
succeed at a higher level. Due to our new sense of ambition, additional
meetings were agreed including face to face group discussion; resulting in the final
product surpassing our initial expectations. 
The group transitioned into the “Performing” stage (Tuckman, 1965,
p.396) by working together seamlessly. On reflection I enjoyed this period of
group work the most as we each wanted the others to succeed and would support
and help every team member to ensure the end goal was the best. As the team
leader my role changed from “collaborator” to “visionary” (Ramsey, 2017).

Finally, the time came to give the presentation and receive
the praise that was given. An overall sense of achievement was felt.  The group achieved what we had set out to do,
although this moment was bittersweet as a period of exemplary group work drew
to an end. Tuckman & Jensen (1977) describes as this stage “Adjournment”
(p.5). Reflecting on this period I found as the leader of the group although
the task was complete my role continued. The role became supportive, giving
each member praise and comfort as the realisation dawned that the group had
naturally come to an end.

Reflecting on my learning from
this unit I can see that groups naturally transition through various stages of
development and that communication and structure is key to success. A group
needs a variety of personality traits and roles to succeed. Using the skills
learnt throughout this unit in future group work I will be able to work on
overcoming barriers that may impact on working relationships.