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The Forgotten Team Member

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CASE STUDY- The Forgotten Team Member

The case presented in The Forgotten Team member is a great example of team development as well as developing leadership skills. Christine is faced with a group member whose personality fits well with the teams but because of time commitments, does not feel included in the overall team atmosphere. This causes him to not contribute as much to the team, which would be extremely beneficial to the team as a whole. During the weeks that the group was together for this class project, Christine was aware of the distancing of Mike from the rest of the group. Each week provided different cases of this distancing, from Mike unable to meet with the group due to other commitments to his reaction to not joining the group when he saw them all together. Yet, even though Christine was aware of this issue, she did not address it. If Christine had known of the stages of group development, she would have realized that most of the team had already past the norming stage, and moved onto the Performing stage, however Mike had not successfully made it through the norming stage He was unable to build relationships or work together with the team and the team did not make any effort to try and make sure he caught up with the group in their group development. By knowing the stages, Christine could have made the group aware of the issue, and try and get them to accommodate their schedules to try and include Mike more. She could have also addressed the issue with Mike, which would have led him to feel like he was wanted in the group. The group was not holding his lack of face-to-face participation against him, yet did not try to include him any more. In order to improve group performance, each member has to feel like they are needed and what they are doing and/or their input is extremely important for the group’s success. Christine seems to be aware that Mike can contribute much to the group, yet fails to understand how individual membership in groups work. What she ended up doing was just simply taking the information that Mike had, and from what seems to be the case in the reading, was that she would only provide the information to the group, but would not reconvene with Mike at a later point. This would make it clear to Mike that the group does not value his work or feel like he needs to contribute as much. This then leads Mike to not provide creative ideas or actually finalize his work. Christine really needed to focus on making him feel important in the group, as having the feeling of being valuable makes people work harder and provide quality work. Since Mike would provide her with handwritten notes, she could have made encouraging comments such as “Mike, this idea that you gave me was extremely helpful in last nights meeting! I think we really need to try and get you to the meetings so you can express your own ideas because I do not believe I can do them justice!” This would encourage Mike to try harder to work out his schedule and be present at the meetings. Unfortunately, Christine is not as effective of a group leader as she could be for several reasons. The biggest reason lies on her lack of action to include Mike in the group. It is mentioned that the Professor was available to gear groups to finding solutions for issues that would arise in the teams. Christine was well aware of Mike’s feeling of not being included in the team by week 3. As a leader, it would be her duty to talk to Mike right after the cafeteria incident. She should have explained what had happened and discussed Mike’s response to the group and clarified how the group wants him to be a part of the tam, for school work or nonschool work related meetings. She could have then come up with purely social gathering, and made sure it was a time that Mike could meet. By doing so, he could have bonded with the team and moved forward in the Norming stage. If this was ineffective, then she should have gone to the Professor to seek more advice to solve this issue. Yet instead, she just kept the issue to herself and pondered over it. She was also able to empathize with his busy schedule and his personal life but did not provide any advice or extra help to make him feel like she and the rest of the team truly cared. Since he specifically told her he had to balance work, school and his stressful love life, she should have asked him what she could do to help accommodate him. This would give him the feeling of acceptance and empathy but would be more productive to including in the team and making him feel self-worth as a team member. An effective leader can identify problems and take action. Even though she was very good at creating quality work, she is not effective in bringing the group together which would result in high quality performance.

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