In the case study, "The Forgotten Group Member" (p. W-112) the components of the team came out of the forming stage to enter to the Storming stage. At this stage, as the book points out, is a period of high tension among the group members and emotionality. During this stage, hostility and infighting may occur. This can be seen when one of the members, Mike, feels outside of the group. From the beginning Mike was categorized as the clown of the team, and he contributed to have given that name.
During the process, he has not shown much cooperation and/or effort in terms of meetings and tasks assigned as a team. Therefore Christine, Diane, Janet and Steve have shared more and developed teamwork in which each has a function. Misinterpretations and some incidents occurred during those five weeks that made Mike feel rejected by his team. All these events have created an atmosphere of tension where the team has been not able to completely create a team work.
Christine as "Team leader" was worried and understood Mike and even empathized with him but on the other hand the group it could be affected by his performance. By knowing the different of the stages that team passes, Christine could have prevented certain situations, for example in the formation stage is when the group is known and defined the goal of them as a team and what is expected of them as individuals. It is important to remember what the "team" will produce at the end of the class (a good grade). Another important point is the behavior and attitudes as individuals within the team and establishes rules.
Primary, the group itself was facing a problem of communication which has brought misunderstandings with one of the members. From the beginning the communication was not effective with this member, Mike. He, in humorous mode, expressed that could not arrive at meetings before the class, and that was not taken into a consideration by the other members. Therefore, this made Mike feel outside of the group and that not be involved and/or participate actively in the work and decisions of the team.
Secondary, Christine didn’t know how to address the issue, she was more worried about her qualifications then the team succeeds. She was concerned because depending on the group’s opinion about the value of the contribution of each member that could raise or lowered their grades.
Christine should have known that as a leadership establish a clear vision and sharing that with the member of the group was part of her role and it was crucial for the team to success. Also, coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members would have helped her with Mike’s situation. Therefore, Christine should have followed the OB SAVVY “Must Have” Contributions by Team, by she understanding every single of these criteria, would have avoid the situation that her team is going through.
Two Possible Solutions to the Primary Problem
A possible solution to the lack of communication between Christine, Janet, Diane and Steve with Mike is doing a reunion in which all the above are present. Definitely, they will have to return to the Forming stage to set clear objectives and team goals. Christine must assume her role of leader defining and dividing the tasks between each of them in equal proportion. She should promote the team work and let them know what is expected of each of them as individuals within the team.
This time must establish and defined rules for behavior. Another possible solution would be to change the leader. Basically, choose another team member as leader. Two people that seem to have the attitudes are: Steve and Janet. Per the description in the text they are both responsible, respectful and committed with the team. Since Steve showed more initiative, for example taking notes of what was done at the meeting, he might be a good prospect. However, Steve would have to return to the Forming stage to establish team goals, etc. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS| PROS| CONS|
Returning to the Forming stage| - will allow Christine establish and define goals as a team-will also give her the opportunity to know her team and to communicate effective | -no too much time, the case will be due in a week-there may be resentment from Mike to Christine or the group| Choosing a new Leader| -different way of strategies, point of view and attitude -no room to think that it will be the same like with the old leader| -no too much time, the case will be due in a week-it may create a rough environment between the new leader and Christine|
Unfortunately the group did not have a good basis from the beginning as Christine began to exercise her role of leader well. Not established goals for the team and not conducive good relationship between them. It seems that the team consisted of 4 people, not 5. In no time she met with Mike to find alternatives.
It is important to note that Mike did not work hard to find a solution to his situation. He could have tried to talk to the team and let them know how he felt about it, but since Christine was the team lead she should have approach him and work it out. If the team had been composed by Steve, Janet and Diane, Christine would have been an excellent leader.