got team skills?


I was not very anxious about working in a group until the topic came up…in my first online class, specifically the challenges faced by student teams in an online setting.  It certainly was not due to my confidence in my ability to work with others.  It had more to do with my ignorance and lack of time to think about it, though I knew it would be expected in some classes.

That being said, I have found it to be the most important and helpful topic covered in LIBR 203 class to date.  Keys to successful teamwork as summarized from the presentations by Kenneth Haycock and Enid Irwin that are particularly valuable to me are:

Team Goals need to be established early.  Haycock recommends that in the beginning we commit to a common purpose, approach and expectations.  Irwin encourages us to learn about each others skills before establishing team roles and to focus on content.

Planning is essential and necessitates communication to establish the process to achieve team goals .  Communication was repeatedly emphasized by both to accomplish the task as assigned successfully according to it’s specifications.  (Haycock, Irwin)

Participation & Contribution are required to attain success.  Haycock suggests that there needs to be individual accountability and responsibility to ensure equality and success.  Irwin warns us of the barriers of success that reduce trust and enthusiasm, such as silence, absence and stubbornness.  Haycock encourages us to be aware of our strengths and weaknesses and the implications they have on our behaviors within a team and to make the modifications in our behaviors necessary to enhance teamwork.

Attitude is everything!  Irwin advises us to let the ego go and leave no teammate behind.  It’s not about ourselves, it’s about the team and achieving our goal through collaboration.  Both remind us to always be respectful.  Positive attitudes and beneficial behaviors are important criteria for success according to Haycock.

Haycock states that awareness of the stages of team development is important to overcome the challenge of working in a team.  It begins with forming or orientation as the group comes together.  The critical stage is that of storming when dissatisfaction and competition arises.  If a group gets past storming, then they will continue on to norming in which there is resolution and reconciliation so each team member can contribute successfully.  lastly, the group will attain the performing stage and the ability to meet its goals with satisfaction.

Armed with the advice of veteran scholars and teachers, Kenneth Haycock and Enid Irwin, student teamwork is less intimidating.  I have much more awareness and confidence to be a beneficial member of a team and am more prepared to deal with the issues that will assuredly arise.  Lastly, I hope to remember to:

Be flexible.

Communicate.

Be on time.

Be prepared.

Ask questions.

Celebrate our small achievements.


Information taken from SJSU LIBR 203 Unit 5 materials:

SLIS Colloquia Series Spring 2007:  Working in Teams by Ken Haycock

The Monster Inside Library School:  Student Teams by Enid Irwin

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