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Successful Collaboration

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Nicole Wise

on 3 February 2015

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Transcript of Successful Collaboration

Team Collaboration for Academic Success
Why Learning Teams?
Identifying Conflict
If conflict is constructive, it is always an open learning opportunity.
Successful Collaboration and Team Dynamics
There are many benefits to working and learning in a collaborative environment. To better understand the benefits one must examine the key elements of a successful team, the dynamics that exist between team members, and how to potentially handle conflict within a team setting.
Team Collaboration and Learning Styles

Everyone is Important
Conflict Resolution
as a Learning Opportunity
Team Members should have the right “chemistry” in order for the outcome of conflict to be a successful one. (Halio,1990)
Successful Collaboration
and Team Dynamics

Carmen Crosby, Andrea Price, Nicole Wise
COM/516 Professional Communications
February 2, 2015
Susan Taylor

______________________
Creates an environment where both practical and creative knowledge can be shared. (University of Phoenix, 2004)
Improves quality of shared projects through innovation. (University of Phoenix 2004)
Increases accountability, punctuality and professionalism.
Provides opportunity to gain new perspectives and improve critical thinking skills.
Provides a sense of community and support. (University of Phoenix, 2004)
Affords an opportunity to develop team skills which are very desirable to employers
Constructive
Destructive
Focus on issues
Respect for others
Supportive
Flexibility
Cooperation
Commitment to conflict management
(Engleberg, Wynn & Schuttler, 2003)
Personal attacks
Insults
Defensiveness
Inflexibility
Competition
Voidance of conflict
(Engleberg, Wynn & Schuttler, 2003)

Stimulates creative thinking and leads to discoveries and improvements
Allows for new ideas and innovative solutions to long-standing problems
Encourages practice of collaboration and negotiation skills.
Leads to positive personal growth and change.
Improves the quality of the team’s decision making skills.
Leads to a more cohesive group after resolution of the conflict.
Conflict can be positive when it:
Each individual’s preference for learning can be used make the most of their abilities as they contribute to the team’s success. Each member will be better suited to a different set of tasks.
The Honey and Munford Learning Styles (Honey and Mumford, 1992) are outlined here:
Activists:

activists enjoy new experiences and are willing to take on new challenges. On a learning team this member would be most willing to take on a challenging task.
Crucial Communication Skills
for Effective Team Learning
Theorists:
theorists thrive on structure and purpose. This kind of learner would excel at drafting the Team Charter.
Reflectors:
reflectors collect and analyze data. This team member would be best suited at performing research and collecting information from the group.
Pragmatists:
pragmatists search for new ideas and are always looking for a way to do things better. On a learning team this person would be helpful with conflict resolution.
Good communication skills allow team members to effectively collaborate, organize and execute their work. An effective Learning Team should exhibit the following:
Ability to share ideas and explain them clearly to others.
Ability to validate others ideas, thoughts and feelings.
Ability to empathize.
Ability to be encouraging to others.
Skills in diplomacy and tact when dealing with conflict.
Ability to adhere to scheduled meetings and conference calls. Scheduling all calls or online meetings, can help the learning team stay ahead (MediaTec Publishing Inc., 2015)
Exceptional Listening Skills
Listening:
The Forgotten Communication Skill
Listening may be the most often overlooked communication skill but is crucial to the effectiveness of a team.
“Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood – communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.” (Skills You Need, 2015)
Learning Team members should strive to:
Focus on the speaker
Don’t interrupt
Remove distractions
Do not be judgmental
Give appropriate feedback to encourage the speaker
“Listening is not the same as hearing and in order to listen effectively you need to use more than just your ears.” (Skills You Need, 2015)
Learning Team Charter
The purpose of a Learning Team Charter is to reinforce collaboration and set guidelines while contributing to the success of the team in the following ways:
Clear goals are established and each individuals can express their own expectations regarding team outcomes.
Expectations are set for member participation and roles.
Provides for discussion on equal distribution of work and establishment of deadlines.
Outlines a way of tracking status of the project through meetings, conference calls or status reports.
Outlines expectations regarding commitment to the team.
Depicts a willingness to contribute to the teams success.
Sets contingency plans and plans for possible conflict resolution.
Effective Components
of a Successful Team
Active team members and effective communication
Understanding of roles/individual strengths and weaknesses
Commitment
Goal oriented, productive thinking
Responsive collaboration
Positive attitudes and reinforcement
Project management skills
Empowerment of team members
Project Management:
A Key Component to Team Success
A team that takes the time to employ the use of Project Management skills will find it beneficial in the following ways:
Proper allocation of resources (time and individual skills)
Objectives are clearly identified and results are tracked
Time management/timely completion of tasks
Contingencies are built into the schedule
Clear articulation of the steps needed to complete the project

(De Janasz, Dowd & Schneider, 2002)
Motivation Leads to
Increased Team Productivity
Keeping team members engaged and motivated is essential to increasing productivity and beneficial outcomes. Learning about your team members and what motivates them in other life goals can help determine which strategies and techniques to use.
Reiterate and clarify goals to keep team focused on the desired end result
Provide opportunities for constant communication to be sure new ideas are expressed and acknowledged.
Schedule regular meetings to provide opportunities to answer questions and concerns
Members take time to show appreciation for and encouragement to one another
Focus on team members’ strengths, treat members as valued individuals and keep interactions positive.
Celebrate successes!
Conclusion
Successful collaboration and learning team success can be challenging. Individual differences and opposing ideas can lead to conflict and dysfunction if not properly addressed. However, if a team takes the time and necessary steps to clearly outline its goals, establish expectations, and discuss guidelines for conflict resolution, then the benefits will surely outweigh the problems. Properly formed Working Teams of any kind encourage a sense of community and support and whether in a class setting or professional setting, leads to innovative discussions and desirable outcomes for all.
References
De Janasz, S.C., Dowd K.O., & Schneider B. Z. (2002). Interpersonal Skills in Organizations. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp 349-365.

Engleberg, I, Wynn, D, and Schuttler, R. (2003). Working in groups: Communication principles and strategies (3rd ed.). Boston, Houghton
Mifflin. pp 172-201

Halio, J.L. (1990) Team Learning. Shakespeare Quarterly, 41(2), 230. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/195929761?

Honey, P and Mumford, A (1992). Manual of Learning Styles, London, P. Honey

MediaTec Publishing Inc. (2015) Five Traits of Effective Learning Teams. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from http//www.clomedia.com/articles/
five_traits_of_effective_learing_teams

Skills You Need. (2015). Listening Skills. Retrieved from http://skillsyouneed.com

University of Phoenix. (2004). Learning Team Toolkit : Online Campus Learning Team Handbook. Available on the University of Phoenix
student/faculty website: http://ecampus.phoenix.edu (January 27, 2015)
There are many benefits to working and learning in a collaborative environment. However, these benefits are now beginning to be found beneficial and practiced in classroom settings. To better understand the benefits one must examine the key elements of a successful team, the dynamics that exist between team members, and how to potentially handle conflict within a team setting.
Successful Collaboration and Team Dynamics
Team Collaboration for Academic Success…
Why Learning Teams?
The opportunity to work in a team gives each individual a chance to acquire skills from other team members. Team learning can also offer a chance to gain new perspectives on an idea through discussion and help build critical thinking skills. When multiple persons are working to achieve the same outcome, the chances of having a better product are higher. Collaborating for success also gives a sense of support that one might not find when working individually. Team collaboration also prepares students to be successful team players in the work place.
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Identifying Conflict
Conflict can be both constructive and destructive. Helping students identify which would fall under each category can help decrease negative tension within the team. All team members should encourage a constructive foundation for conflict resolution. Constructive traits would include focusing on the issue that is preventing the team from reaching the goal. A destructive behavior that might inhibit focusing on the goal would be a personal attack from a team member. Respecting team members, being supportive, being flexible and cooperative are all behaviors that can help stay focused on the initial goal and help reduce the destructive type of conflict resolution.
Speaker Notes
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Conflict resolution as a Learning Opportunity
Students should have the right “chemistry” in order for the outcome to be a successful one (Halio, 1990). A conflict within a team is always an open learning opportunity. However, not everyone on the team will see conflict as such. Some individuals have more traditional than liberal views on life. When choosing a strategy for conflict resolution one must be meticulous of other’s interpretations. To reach a resolution the persons involved must use negotiation, empathy, and willingness to discuss possibilities without jumping straight to the solution (Conflict Resolution Network, n.d.). Conflicts within a group can help build positive relationships with those involved, as well as personal growth. As the result of conflict, a team’s decision- making skills can improve.
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Team Collaboration and Learning Styles
Learning about each group member’s learning styles will be crucial to the outcome of a project. Every learner is different. The learning style of each group member can contribute to the strength of the group’s dynamics. A visual learner might be good at a task such as creating graphs, while an auditory learner might be good for conducting an interview. As outlined by Honey and Mumford (1992), each learning style, the Activist, the Theorist, the Reflector, and the Pragmatist each have individual strengths. The Activist enjoys new challenges, the Theorist needs structure, the Reflectors are analyzers and the Pragmatists are innovative in their thinking.
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Crucial Communication Skills
Particularly in an online course, communication is of great importance. Each team member must be able to express ideas in a way that would be clear by each team member. Empathetic and encouraging are two qualities a good team member should possess. Motivation is something that can make a difference to a team member that thrives on praise and acknowledgment. Finding what motivates each team member could be a way of building the quality of work that each member contributes. Time zone differences may cause conflicts if appropriate measures are not used. Scheduling all calls, or online meetings, can help the learning team stay ahead (MediaTec Publishing Inc., 2015).
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Listening
Listening is a skill that has been forgotten over the years. With the use of technology as a means of communication it has hindered these skills. When communicating solely through text messaging, email, or some form of chat, listening skills are not required. An immediate response is what is required. When practicing good listening skills, one must focus on the speaker. When the focus is off the speaker, individuals tend to interrupt and speak before everything has been said. Appropriate dialogue can be encouraging to the speaker. Removing all distractions can help listeners stay focused on what is being said.
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Learning Team Charter
The Learning Team Charter is put in place to introduce the expectations and goals of each team member. Members can create together a cohesive set of goals. It allows opportunity to discuss individual strengths and weaknesses. By understanding the learning styles of each member, we can then designate roles within the project more accurately. The charter reinforces the participation of each team member and ensures an equal contribution amongst the group. If ever confusion arises, to prevent conflict one can refer to the learning team charter to review their individual responsibilities to the team.
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Effective Components of a Successful Team
In order to have a successful team, each team member should practice several effective components. Through responsive collaboration, active participation, positive reinforcement, and constructive criticism the team has a better advantage in attaining their goals. Working together in a team environment can be very beneficial and effective to ones overall success. Exchanging ideas, gaining insight, and learning different perspectives brings valuable knowledge to the team. Through effective communication and commitment, team members can work together to enhance the quality of their work.
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Project Management
Project management sets the pace of a team's progress and success throughout their assignments. When collaborating on projects, it is always beneficial to create a timeline for team members to follow. A timeline will help keep track of specific tasks and deadlines, and eliminate any interruptions in the work process. This will also bring order and structure in achieving team goals. By articulating the steps needed in order to complete assignments, one is also integrating time management. It is important that teams reflect professionalism through their ability to balance time, contingency, and efficiency within their work.
Motivation Leads to
Increased Team Productivity
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Conclusion
In working team environments, it is essential to keep all team members focused and engaged. Through motivational strategies, such as: exerting positive attitudes, expressing appreciation, and using constant communication, team members can help encourage one another to perform at their highest potential. The purpose of a team is to provide support and a foundation for those who are eager to succeed. Without the effort of each individual team member, the team wouldn't be nearly as strong. One should always remember that every person brings different strengths and values to the team.
While collaborating in learning teams may have its challenges, the benefits however, will always be rewarding. If a team effectively communicates, establishes cohesive goals and expectations, then success will surely follow. Though one might find bumps along the way, it is important to rely on the support and community of ones team members. As the saying goes, "two heads are better than one," together we can empower each other with our individual strengths and knowledge!
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