Essay Preview: Managing Groups
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We hear about it all the time. Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork! Ever since our grammar school days we have been put into teams and expected to create a product of some kind. In first grade, my teacher assembled the students into “pods” – four desks pushed together to build small teams. Even at that young age, group dynamics were evident. As the students grew older the storming phase issues transitioned from, “Mrs. Hardy, Darryl wiped a booger on my desk,” to high school basketball practice and, “Coach, Darryl isnt passing the ball and it is causing us to lose games.” Whatever the age and in whatever field we have chosen to work in, we are most certainly going to be part of a group. Therefore, it is important to understand group dynamics in order to increase the efficiency of our groups. This paper will summarize an article about teamwork as well as identify what kind of characteristics would be essential to each member of a team.
In an article titled, “Kelsey-Seybold team follows pace of leader / Management chief breaks down walls with words,” by Mary Sit-DuVall of the Houston Chronicle, illustrates an example of effective teamwork at Kelsey-Seybold Management Services (KSMS) and Kelsey-Seybold Medical Group (KSMG). The article focuses on two individuals, the CEO of KSMS – Valerie Bergeron, and the chairman of the board of KSMG – Dr. Spencer Berthelsen, although more the previous than the latter.
Bergeron, who is the first female and also the first African-American to hold her position, focuses on people rather than bottom lines. According to Bergeron, “If you have the ability to communicate very enthusiastically, create opportunities for personal and professional growth and a sense of teamwork in not only what you say to them, but how you participate in the organization – your level of commitment of projects, your level of commitment to support – then people within the organization will want to work closer with you.” (Sit-DuVall, 2004) This quote from Bergeron illustrates her feelings that teamwork and a close and friendly working environment are keys to her success. A board member from Kelsey-Seybold affirms this statement: “If she doesnt know something, she tries hard to understand itShe hasnt created a barrier between her and the rest of the system. Shes part of the system…” (Sit-DuVall, 2004)
It could be reasonably inferred from the statements above that Bergeron strives to continually widen the “open quadrant” of the Johari window by fostering openness with her co-workers. A co-worker observes that Bergeron tries hard to understand things…a sign of an effective communicator. While reading the article, a lot of the statements made by Bergeron referring to her success highlighted her collectivistic attitude. Her statements usually included “we” instead of “I.”
It can also be inferred that since the article was written in a positive light that the KSMS and KSMG are successful. I bring this to light because, along with a “we” and team attitude that Bergeron fosters, it can also be inferred that her group is operating at the “performing” stage of the five-stages of group development. In the performing stage, the members of the team know their roles and are all working towards their common goal. Roles have been identified and accepted. Although, it can be noted that when a new member(s) join the team, the group may have to back-track through the stages of forming, storming, norming and performing because they group dynamic would have changed, naturally, with the different personalities of the new member(s).
According to another one of Bergerons co-workers, Ann Cook, employees are not afraid to raise concerns or voice their opinions to Bergeron, whether or not they are positive. This says that perhaps they feel as if Bergeron is a good listener, an active listener that will not only take the time to hear their concerns, but will genuinely listen to them. She does not put up any barriers to communication by presenting her self as the “boss” who must not be disturbed. Her subordinates feel comfortable around her.
While the case study question asks about the ways that Dr. Berthelsen has compiled an effective team, the article focused mainly on Bergeron and her ability to foster teamwork and a positive