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Understanding of the key principles of practice development (PD) and the development of skills and strategies to action positive change within the workplace to optimise patient-centred care (McCormack & McCanoe 2016). By the conclusion of this seminar, nurses and midwives will have gained strategies and skills for extending their own practice development, as well as an understanding of how it can be utilised in their workplaces to foster, implement and adhere to change (Ignatavicius & Chung 2016).

Topics covered included:

practice development, leadership, clinical supervision, promoting change, mentoring, facilitation, motivation and reflection, endeavour to provide an understanding into the fundamentals of practice development theories and how the individual can utilise these theories to create a culture of accepting change in the workplace (Johnson & May 2015).

Topics Covered

In this essay, my aim is to explain and analyze the various theories of leadership and reflection but mainly, the group processes by linking my role in the team project. I will try to provide all the information regarding the group process that I was involved in and share my experiences as well. I will provide certain leadership theories and group processes that could be followed in the future projects. In addition, I will use the Gibbs’ reflective cycle to analyze my role in the team and the extent to which I was able to carry out the responsibilities given to me. Throughout the group project, I have had to play multiple roles within the team as per the requirement and the situation.

Working in the project has helped me understand the team dynamics in a much better light. In addition, the team project has also assisted me in understanding my own capabilities and weaknesses. With the help of this newly gained knowledge, I will be able to improve myself as an individual and as a team player as well. I will also include the personal learning outcomes that have come out from the group project to shed light on the newly gained insights into my personal development. I will provide a personal development plan (PDP) that would address my weaknesses. In this essay, I will include my own strengths and weaknesses that I have explored during the team project. The analysis will also include the impact that I was able to exert on my team while carrying out my role as a team player. Our project on “Nurturing Practice Development in Nursing and Midwifery” was received well and I could proudly say that I had important contributions to make in its success. I will include my contribution and its influence on the outcome of the project.  

The Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle was developed in 1988 by Professor Graham Gibbs in his book Learning by doing” (Potter 2015). The cycle has five stages starting with description of the event, the feelings during the event, evaluation of the feelings and thoughts, conclusions drawn from the evaluation and further action that is deemed necessary. Using the Gibbs’ cycle would help me in describing the group project process more easily.

In the forming stage, the team begins to come together with members being introduced to each other. The members then share information about their interests and backgrounds. At this stage, the common goal, the process for organizing the team, rules of the group and member’s responsibilities are decided. It is in this stage that I have been given the role to look after the Medication safety project in my organization (Tuckman and Jensen 1977).

Gibbs' Reflective Cycle

The storming stage is where the team comes together to work as a team and discusses ways to achieve the common goal. This stage is also, where there is increased chance for conflict because the members begin to compete for acceptance and reputation. During our group project, a conflict arose when my team leader rejected my proposal of preparing a Gantt chart for the project. She argued that for a small project like ours, Gantt chart would not be necessary. Conflicts are bound to arise within the team because there will be some clash of ideas, ideologies and egos. It is important for the team leader to manage the conflict in a proper way (Bradley et al. 2013).

In the norming stage, the individual goals make way for the collective goal of the team and each member starts to give her and his best to achieve the goal. The most important characteristic of this stage is that the members demonstrate respect for each other and appreciate the ideas they share.

Performing is the fourth stage where the team works with full motivation and focuses entirely on achieving the goal with perfection. Motivation is at its peak amongst the team members to give their all and achieve their goal.

The last stage is adjourning when the group project ends and the team dissolves. The members celebrate success of the project and reflect on the future project. This last stage was included later by Tuckman to complete the group development stage (Betts and Healy 2015).

To ensure the success of any group project, it is crucial that the group process is effective and systematic. Group process refers to the way the members of a team or organization collaborate and work together to fulfill the assigned tasks. The process includes initiation, communication, decision-making, allocation of tasks, setting the routine and the rules, setting and maintaining the deadline.

In this project, the team had to prepare the seminar program, the abstracts, group reports, seminar certificate and evaluation form. In order to fulfill all these tasks, the team had to hold a meeting first and decide the team leader and other responsibilities. Our team consisted of five members that included along with me, Salina Blake (SB), Li-An Collie (LC), Vincy John (VJ), and Laura Watson (LW). Salina Blake (SB) was chosen as the team leader. All the members were introduced to each other through the conversation MyLo discussion board thus completing the forming stage.

Group Processes

The group discussion board was the first communication that took place between the team members on 26 November 2018. Then, a group email was created to help the members share and ask for information. Our first meeting held through the group email on 9 December 2018 was to discuss the initial meeting for project discussion and meeting schedule.  Second meeting took place on 12 December where work allocation and project seminar discussion took place through web conference. In addition, members were assigned for the proposed abstracts.  In the third meeting held on 16 December, also through Skype Web Conference, LC and VJ were given the role to communicate and discuss the program and flyer for the seminar. SB had the role to complete and submit the abstracts by 21 December. LC had the additional role to discuss the colors and the group affirmed the choice. The next two meetings held subsequently on 22 December and 9 January respectively. I must state that the roles that were assigned to each member at the start of the project were quite difficult to fulfill. Nonetheless, as a team, our goal was clear – to produce the perfect piece of work.

It is thus clear that we as a team used different forms of media to communicate with each other. We used the MyLo discussion board, email and Skype Web Conferencing as the communication tools through which we communicated regarding the project.

As time progressed, we gelled together as a team and each member knew her and his role clearly. I felt that the team leader SB was quite active and knew her responsibility well. This was the storming stage in of our team.

As a team also, we knew what the common goal was and everyone began to focus on that goal. Individual goals were kept in the secondary list while the common team goal is given most prominence.

Along with forming the group and communicating, decision-making is another important aspect in teamwork or the group processes. As Drouin and Bourgault (2013) note, decision-making is the most vital part of teamwork because it shapes the way for further work and evaluation. In addition, decision-making brings out the skills that each member possesses. For our project, the decision-making process was not limited to the team leader only; all the team members contributed including me. I being the gatekeeper had the responsibility to allow each team member to share her or his views on the project and the way we were going to proceed. The Skype Web Conferencing was utilized for group discussion where the team members had the chance to input their views.

Roles in the Group Project

After the decisions were made, delegation of tasks to each member based on their skills and capacities was required. Team leaders have the vital role in delegating the tasks to the members as per their capabilities. Hoch and Kozlowski (2014), state that the team leader is responsible for the effort that her or his team puts in any work. The team leader is the one who knows the strengths and weaknesses of her or his team members (Fransen, Weinberger and Kirschner 2013). In addition to that, the leader possesses the skill to utilize the skills and channelize the weaknesses of each member in a way that strikes a balance and brings maximum positive outcome. Wang, Waldman and Zhang (2014) however state that a team leader must have a dominant presence that makes the team members obey her or him naturally.  

Once the tasks are allotted to each member, it is important that a fix a time that is convenient to all the members. Situations arose where some members were not able to attend the team meetings. In that case, I advised everyone to send a prior email in the group mail, inform the team about her or his absence, and give updates regarding the progress as well.

Coming to my role in the group meetings and the overall group project, I played the role of a Gatekeeper, as mentioned earlier which is, I was assigned the task of ensure free flow of communication. Apart from that, I also had the task to facilitate other team members’ participation and suggest processes that encouraged sharing remarks. I was supposed to ask other team members who stay quiet mostly in the team meetings about their opinions and ideas. Apart from gate keeping, I was assigned to prepare abstracts on Promoting change and Facilitation, and prepare the Certificate of attendance as well.

Throughout the project, I was able to keep my calm and help other team members come forward and put in their valuable knowledge. The project was a valuable learning lesson for me because it helped me grow as an individual. I learned the complex dynamics of working in a team and handling people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. In addition, the group project helped me develop professionally as well because I was able to learn a lot about the nursing profession by working in this project. As I worked along with my team, I learned that teamwork, leadership, motivation and dedication are the prerequisites of the nursing profession as well.

Decision-Making and Task Delegation

Leadership in the team is the most vital of all the aspects because it determines the functioning of the team (Urick and Bowers 2014). Leadership is of different types as found in the academic literature that includes transformational leadership, autocratic leadership, democratic leadership, facilitative leadership and laissez-faire leadership amongst others. McCleskey (2014), states that transformational leadership is amongst the best and most preferred types of leadership. Nonetheless, it depends on the kind of team one is leading. In my case, I found transformational leadership to be the most suited as well because it brings out more than what is expected of the team members. In addition, transformational leadership encourages change as per the situation. When it was found during the project that many members were unable to attend all the meetings, I along with SB made the decision to ask everyone to mail about their absence prior to the meetings so that it does not hamper the proceedings of the group. In this way, we managed change in the team without disrupting the overall proceedings.

In the group process especially in the decision-making process and preparing the timetable as well, I had an important role to play because I was the gatekeeper. The decision-making process involved listening to all the group members about the project. I had the task to ask those members who were mostly silent listeners in team meetings about their views on the decisions taken or to be taken. I had the role to make those speak up who usually agreed to everything one member said. In this way, I was able to help each member have a say in the meetings. In addition, including all the members in the decision making process ensured that none of the members felt left out or less valued. Teamwork is mostly about valuing the presence of all the members without being biased (Valentine, Nembhard and Edmondson 2015). I used the Gantt chart for planning the time of all our team meetings and task submissions.

However, during the team meetings through Skype, I was unable to attend two of the important meetings that were held on 9 December and 16 December. Due to my absence, I was not able to contribute much to the team meetings and the project overall. Although initially I was quite active in the MyLo discussion boards and the meetings held after the first, those absents caused me to lag behind my other team members. I was not able to give my views on the decisions that were made in those meetings. The reason for my absence was the difficulties I had to face in balancing my professional and personal life. I was engrossed with duties that I had to perform in my home because of which I had to miss crucial team meetings. Moreover, being a gatekeeper, I had the most crucial role to ensure that the meetings go smoothly and all members have a say. Due to my absence, other team members were burdened with additional tasks that might have caused them trouble, as they had to put additional effort.

Personal Learning Outcomes

As the project reached its end, I was able to identify my strengths and weaknesses. The biggest strength I have is that I am a team player. I know my responsibilities. I demonstrated genuine commitments while completing the specific tasks even when I was unable to attend the meetings. I am an active listener. A good listener is an asset to a team and has the potential to become the leader because as Asemota (2015) observes, “Leadership perceptions are highly correlated with listening”. One of my other strengths is that I am supportive of others. I am always available for my team members to give them support I see them lagging in anything. Amongst my technical and academic strengths, I have good knowledge of the computer and have a good idea of designing templates and so on. This is why I was asked to design the certificate of participation. 

Along with the abovementioned strengths, some weaknesses also came up while I was doing the project. The first and major weakness that I have is I do not have the ability to balance my personal and professional life. The weakness of mine could be costly in the future in my nursing profession because there I will not have the backup or support of others. Secondly, I am not a very good orator or speaker as I have found while presenting our project in the seminar. Most of the presentation was given the team leader and other members. I feel that due to my non-English background also, I am a bit weak in giving speech. Although I support other team members, I myself lack motivation sometimes I feel because of my language difficulties in particular. Anjomshoa and Sadighi (2015) provide example of classroom with students without motivation and state that no productive learning could take place without motivation.

In order to become a professional in all aspects, I will have to address my weaknesses properly and in time, and further strengthen my strengths. To do that, I have to prepare a personal development plan with which I could do self-improvement. Personal development planning indicates that the individual is more passionate about learning and improving (Eisele et al. 2013).

At first, I will have to set the goals for my personal development and fix a time limit to achieve these goals. In addition, I will have to prepare the action, which is, the things I have to do to achieve my goals.

Conclusion

I have three objectives to achieve in order to address my weaknesses, take the first step towards self-improvement, and fulfill my goals. Goal setting is the most effective when it is done using the SMART (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound) goal plan. With it, I will know about the feasibility of my goals.

Goal: To engage in time management for one month for personal and professional work and be able to attend every meeting

Time of commencement : 24 January 2019

Specific

The goal is specific because it relates to my weakness

Measurable

The goal is measurable because the outcome is most likely to show within one month

Achievable

The goal is achievable because it does not include any long duration task or anything that is difficult to access or complete

Relevant

The goal is relevant to my life and profession because managing time for personal work would help me grow professionally

Time based

A one month timeframe has been set to achieve the goal

Goal: To attend seminars by both English and non-English speaker and learn the effective way to give speech

Time of commencement : 25 January 2019

Specific

The goal is specific because it addresses my weakness with speech

Measurable

The goal is measurable because I would be able to improve my speaking ability

Achievable

The goal is achievable because seminars are regularly held

Relevant

The goal is relevant because linguistic capability along with speech is important in nursing

Time based

It is time based as it has a one month timeframe within which I will have to improve

Goal: To visit sessions on motivation and get inspiration

Time of commencement : 25 January 2019

Specific

The goal is specific because motivation is crucial in teamwork and in nursing profession

Measurable

The goal is measurable because the outcome will help in my holistic improvement

Achievable

The goal is achievable because sessions on motivations are often conducted within the university

Relevant

The goal is relevant because motivation is crucial to be able encourage and help others

Time based

It also has a time limit of three weeks within which it will be achieved

Conclusion

Overall, I must say that it was a great opportunity for me to learn about the teamwork, the team dynamics, the workings of a group and individual roles that we perform. The project helped me to bring out the strengths and limitations I have. Teamwork helps in personal learning as it allows us to explore our skills and capabilities and at the same time, learn about others. I was able to learn the cultures and traditions of my team members who come from varied backgrounds. Our team was very friendly with each member making up for the other and the conflicts were resolved with patience in a professional way.

Using the Gibbs’ reflective cycle I was able to reflect on the group project and my own role as the team player, the gatekeeper. In addition, it helped me understand my personal strengths and weakness knowing which I was able to develop a PDP. I look forward to work in further projects.

References:

Anjomshoa, L. and Sadighi, F., 2015. The importance of motivation in second language acquisition. International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL), 3(2), pp.126-137.

Asemota, H.E., 2015. Nature, importance and practice of listening skill. British Journal of Education, 3(7), pp.27-33.

Betts, S. and Healy, W., 2015. Having a ball catching on to teamwork: an experiential learning approach to teaching the phases of group development. Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, 19(2), p.1.

Bradley, B.H., Klotz, A.C., Postlethwaite, B.E. and Brown, K.G., 2013. Ready to rumble: How team personality composition and task conflict interact to improve performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), p.385.

Drouin, N. and Bourgault, M., 2013. How organizations support distributed project teams: Key dimensions and their impact on decision making and teamwork effectiveness. Journal of Management Development, 32(8), pp.865-885.

Eisele, L., Grohnert, T., Beausaert, S. and Segers, M., 2013. Employee motivation for personal development plan effectiveness. European Journal of Training and Development, 37(6), pp.527-543.

Fransen, J., Weinberger, A. and Kirschner, P.A., 2013. Team effectiveness and team development in CSCL. Educational psychologist, 48(1), pp.9-24.

Hoch, J.E. and Kozlowski, S.W., 2014. Leading virtual teams: Hierarchical leadership, structural supports, and shared team leadership. Journal of applied psychology, 99(3), p.390.

McCleskey, J.A., 2014. Situational, transformational, and transactional leadership and leadership development. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), p.117.

Potter, C., 2015. Leadership development: an applied comparison of Gibbs’ Reflective Cycle and Scharmer’s Theory U. Industrial and Commercial Training, 47(6), pp.336-342.

Tuckman, B.W. and Jensen, M.A.C., 1977. Stages of small-group development revisited. Group & Organization Studies, 2(4), pp.419-427.

Valentine, M.A., Nembhard, I.M. and Edmondson, A.C., 2015. Measuring teamwork in health care settings: a review of survey instruments. Medical care, 53(4), pp.e16-e30.

Wang, D., Waldman, D.A. and Zhang, Z., 2014. A meta-analysis of shared leadership and team effectiveness. Journal of applied psychology, 99(2), p.181.

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