Teamwork and the use of organised groups in business operations have become important operations and key organisational behaviours in several institutions. For example, teamwork increases the ability of employees to learn from each other and eventually contribute more proactively towards the success of organisations.
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From my personal experience as documented in this reflective essay, individuals in a team usually feel free and contribute more towards their specified tasks when they work alongside other colleagues at all levels of management in an organisation. Antonio, Albino, Carbonara and Rotolo (2010, p. 640) indicate that the use of teams is essential in maintaining and promoting cooperation. Many teams in organisations have adopted a well-articulated Belbin’s team role model whereby teams and individuals develop key ideas that can be used to manage their weaknesses. Besides, the strengths of teams are used to promote development. It is against this background that I explore how teamwork enhanced and improved the operations of our sales team according to Belbin’s team role theory.
Negotiation and Belbin’s team role theory
In order to effectively generate high levels of success in management, Mills and Smith (2011, p. 162) indicate that a business should always endeavour to use teams in their operations. Teams and team operations provide a major operational platform that enhances the advancement of productive working relationship. In addition, teamwork promotes continuous learning and application of leadership and management ideals (Gallagher 2013, p. 191).
The same notion is strongly echoed in Belbin’s team roles theory. Belbin holds the opinion that through teams, behavioural strengths and weaknesses of individuals can be identified (Fisher, Hunter & Macrosson 2002, p. 14). In our sales negotiation process with a client who wanted to buy a car, I realised the ability in our team to learn, interrelate and make key contributions. In my negotiation skill as part of the team, I learnt that the ability to convince a client to buy a product heavily depends on listening skills, team effort and an attractive pricing model or strategy.
According to Ewest (2010, p. 138), the notion of teams usually provides a key outline for the success of business operations. However, an understanding of the behaviour of individuals in a team is necessary in order to avoid pitfalls and unsuccessful team operations. Unlike the traditional mechanistic methods where all aspects of management were operated on a highly hierarchical model, operation of teams requires thorough comprehension of various roles and responsibilities of team members (Gallagher 2013, p. 192).
Iaquinto, Ison and Faggian (2011, p. 15) also concur with the same argument. The authors explain that when operating as a team, members are able to internalise the sense of appreciation of their roles. The latter is indeed crucial for their commitment and innovativeness. In my case, this understanding was a key motivating factor because we were able to concentrate on our roles. As a matter of fact, I was one of the two team members who relentlessly tried to make a better deal for the firm. We were considered key players in drawing effective organisational decisions in order to win a holiday trip.
This motivated me to get a lower price for the car. I was also supposed to make sure that whoever buys the car takes a loan facility in my firm at a good interest rate. All these operations would influence the final amount of money saved on behalf of the firm. The negotiation exercise enabled me to learn how to treat customers in the most appropriate manner. We learned how to listen to a customer. In fact, two of us acted as if we were working at the firm. During the process, I acted as if I was doing everything to the customer according to his interest.
The role of presentation included comparing four supermarkets namely Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury, and ASDA. There were major challenges in this area. For instance, there was no one to control each one of us within the team. As such, the group of five people failed to complete the assigned task. We also had a difficult experience on how to submit work at the right time. Personally, I had time pressure and there was no team at all because everything relied on two people. However, I can confirm that I learned how to use the University of Westminster’s library in locating required information.
Belbin’s role theory suggests that understanding responsibilities among team members facilitates higher levels of identity within an organisation especially if team members operate at their full potential all the time (Fisher et al 2002, p. 16). In particular, effective teams are able to consult and most importantly, learn from each another how to address emerging problems. Regarding my experience during the presentation phase, I was disappointed because it was not very successful. We were unable to balance the roles in the team in order to create drive and direction. However, the different levels of experience as expressed by Honey and Mumford that posed the worst threat towards my success. Group members with prior work experience tended to hold an upper hand in sales drives.
According to McAdam (2000, p. 233), team building entails all activities and processes that seek to increase team’s operations and overall performance. The same assertion is supported by Belbin’s roles theory. In my case, team building was indeed a major operational tool towards achieving the objectives of our sales team. I was involved in activities and exercises that facilitated effective communication between team members especially in relation to our project’s objectives.
Taking into consideration that our team members had diverse experiences and learning styles or backgrounds, we were able to engage each other in planning to ensure that our working mechanisms and decision-making procedures are effective. Besides, we were oriented to trust exercises that would facilitate inherent ability of team members to coordinate without fears or sabotage at either the decision making or implementation level.
In an organisational setting, Marina (2007, p. 98) explains that it is only through teamwork that success is possible. Notably, I realised that the procedures involved in presentation are highly interdependent and require effective team relationships as well as understanding of roles (Gallagher 2013, p. 192). Therefore, at every level, team operations enhance efficiency and facilitate the ability to solve any emerging problems. Nold (2011, p.90) indicates that deliberations of teams act as the direct interlink between departments and consumers. Hence, teams are able to figure out the best practices and effective approach to apply.
In regards to debate, we dwelt on the topic “Bitcoin is a future gold currency”. In addition, we were four people in our group. I learnt how to structure my thoughts logically. This aided me in convincing people to buy my idea. The latter was fully supported by thorough research. Belbin indicates that even with strong teams, poor understanding of a team’s weakness jeopardises it even more.
While bulks of teams in different organisations often fail to realise this fact, Honey and Mumford (2006, p. 63) indicate that proper organisation is key towards the success of a group. Besides, I learnt that good communication and listening skills are crucial while working with teams. This aided me in appreciating and supporting Bitcoin’s idea of becoming a future gold currency.
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Moreover, I noted that new propositions that may pose negative implications to the teams are not easily communicated and supported by other group members. Such a weakness may culminate into widespread resistance and possible failure of excellent ideas. I also understood how to reference myself after stating points besides justifying my answer.
To recap it all, the use of teams as discussed in this reflective essay is crucial in achieving organisational or group objectives. In order to ensure the attainment of goals and objectives in a team, Belbin’s role theory calls for an understanding of roles to be carried out by individual team members. In my case, I was able to promote better communication among the team members at all levels of deliberations, negotiations, decision-making and implementation of the team’s proposals. While emphasizing on the need to take communication to a higher level, I ensured that procedures for implementing different propositions were created. In addition, it is essential to establish and sustain learning styles of members. As an activist, I was able to draw realistic objectives and goals which enhanced effective operations of the team.
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