Individual Critical Reflection on Group Work

The success of any group highly depends on how effective is communication between the players takes place. Without effective communication among the members of a given group, it is not possible to achieve its goals and unnecessary conflicts may arise. Group communication was one of the vital lessons learned during the group project. This paper will reflect on what was learned about the group communication from the group project, the individual’s role in the group, and what one learned about own inter-relational style. It will also indicate whether one identified personal use of transformational leadership skills as one acted as a change agent and if not what one needs to do to develop these skills.

What was Learned about Group Communication during the Project

One of the things one learned about group communication is how it makes it possible for one to see issues in different dimensions from own. People see things from different perspectives and through the exchange of ideas with group members, one had to either refute the previously held beliefs about the issue of organizational change or enrich the ones previously held. Another important thing learned about group communication is the need to respect the views of everyone even if they do not sound correct based on what one already knows [1]. Besides, one also learned the importance of listening to one another. When more than one person is speaking at the same time, the value of communication fades away and everything becomes noise. When people listen to one another, they can critically analyze why a certain view is correct or incorrect together. Mutual understanding was found to be a paramount factor in ensuring teamwork in a group. Despite the efforts to ensure that all issues were critically discussed, some of the members were not satisfied with conclusions reached especially if they tried to prove the beliefs they have held for a long time as untrue. However, this did not lead to unnecessary arguments but gave people who disagreed with the group’s conclusions an opportunity and direction for doing further research.

Individual’s Role in the Group

During the discussion, one acted as both an active listener and a contributor to the ongoing debate. Although at times, one would take the role of a leader especially when an argument seemed not to lead to any beneficial results, most of the time was spent listening and contributing to the discussion just like other members of the group. Active listening is among the characteristics of a good team player and a leader. One needs to hear and understand the views of other people before accepting or refuting them. Even when one has to refute them, they should be done in manners that do not make them feel like a failure. As a contributor to the discussion, one did not force personal ideas on the other members of the group but allowed them to scrutinize whatever one said and decide whether it was correct or wrong. Before making a conclusion about the perspectives of any member of the group, a thorough discussion was done until one was convinced how his or her view was wrong and what it should have been. This way, a respectful discussion environment was maintained. At times, there is the need for a moderator in a group discussion to calm the members when things get out of control [2]. This is where one’s role as a leader came in. although one was not assigned the role of a leader at the beginning of the discussion; it automatically appeared that without someone guiding the activities of the group, no results would be achieved. Therefore, as far as the group interaction is concerned, one can say that it was mutual. One contributed to the group discussion and even provided some resources which helped in discussing leadership issues in a healthcare organization.

What was Learned about Own Inter-relational Styles during the Project

For group work to be successful, members must interact with each other positively. This implies that one must be able to relate with each other constructively through understanding and management of personal and others’ emotions. Most of the communication among the group members was verbal, and one had to ensure that the language used was formal and respectful. The silence was also applied where necessary to prevent the escalation of disagreements into chaos. This inter-relational style is known as compromising to prevent the problem that may be developing from escalating. After the disagreeing members calmed down, the issue that was being disputed was approached and discussed further in a controlled environment. The individual’s experience during the group discussion proved one as having strong inter-relational skills as evidenced by how one calmed when other members raised their voices as they defended their views.  The ability to calm down in crisis is a vital characteristic of a good leader. A leader should be there to inspire followers in times of crisis and guide them on how to solve the problems at stake [3]. Without being able to listen to each other and present personal views with respect, the discussion would have hardly been successful. One can, therefore, say that knowing how to relate with one another during the group work contributed to the success of the group and is among the greatest lesson learned during the group project.

Another important thing learned about the inter-relational style is the need to allow everyone to learn from each other. As mentioned earlier, listening to one another was of paramount importance for the group to work together. According to Marquis and Houston [4], the inter-relational style promotes team dynamics by encouraging the free exchange of information in a respectful environment. One also learned that it is not always possible for people to agree on everything. At times, the disagreements between the group members over a certain issue strengthened the discussion, everyone became engaged, and more suggestions were raised. One of the advantages of group discussion was that it allowed people to explore the issue deeper than it would have been if only one person was involved. However, it took more time than it would have been with one person as members had to reach a mutual agreement.

Identification of Own Use of Transformational Leadership Skills

Although one demonstrated the use of transformational leadership skills, many areas of development were also realized. Among the areas in which one demonstrated transformational leadership skills included guiding the members through the discussion while ensuring that every point was thoroughly understood. This called for patience as people have different learning abilities and one had to convince other members to wait until everyone was contented with the final decision regarding the issue. Another area in which transformational leadership skills were evidenced was the ability to command respect from the members. This is a vital skill associated with transformational leadership as it makes the followers motivated intrinsically, and thus strengthening their level of trust in the leader [5]. The mutual help experienced during the discussion also proved one as having transformational leadership skills.

Among the transformational leadership skills that one needs to develop is the ability to identify areas that need change, stir people’s emotions, and make them look beyond self-interest. An effective leader knows when change is needed and how to mobilize followers to implement it [6]. One reason for not having developed these skills could be because one has never been in a leadership position in the past. Like other followers, one is also a subject to resist change especially if it is perceived as a threat to one’s career or seems to complicate duties. However, by learning from the transformational leaders in the future organizations where one intends to work, one hopes to develop these skills and become a change agent. One would also need to research from literature about what a leader needs to do to become transformational. In the healthcare environment, change is inevitable and one as a leader must have the necessary transformational skills.

In conclusion, group communication was found to be crucial in group work. Members in the group need to understand and respect the views of each other, even if one disagrees with them. As far as the personal role in the group is concerned, one can be said to have played the role of an active listener, a contributor, and a leader. Among the inter-relational styles that one employed included compromising and collaboration. The two styles helped in solving conflicts that would arise as two or more members of the group defended their viewpoints regarding the issue discussed. The members worked together, listening to each other even when one’s ideas were different from those of others. Although one has some of the transformational leadership skills, one still needs to learn how to identify areas of change and stirs followers’ emotions to accept and implement it. Transformational leadership was also found to be among the most suitable in the initiation and implementation of change in a healthcare environment.

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