Expectations and Personal Anxiety
As I reflected on my experience with the team project, I found that at the conclusion of the project my attitude and opinion of group projects was more positive. Initially, the idea of a working on a group project in graduate school created anxiety, doubt, and skepticism. My uneasiness stemmed from my experience during my undergraduate studies as an adult learner; three out of five group projects resulted in poor quality research, content, and conflict between the high output team members and the low engaged team members. Personally, from day one of this class, I had some trepidation about working on the group project; I was anxious about my future team members’ enthusiasm, dedication, and quality of work (Bourner, Hughes, & Bourner, 2001).
I asked myself, why I view team projects in class to be so objectionable when in the workplace teams are an integral element of the organization to perform tasks (Berry, 2011). In my workplace, every member is committed to other team members and the product; members have a professional obligation to perform to the best of his or her ability for the betterment of the team. One driving factor for our performance in the workplace is motivation; positive feedback from our customer promotes higher quality work and leads to additional work (Greg, 2006). Additionally, knowing that the success of the team is crucial to the sustainability of our organization, each member goes the extra step to ensure our collective success. In contrast, during my undergraduate experience as an adult learner, a handful of my classmates were not highly motivated, they were just going through the motions, showing up to class and contributing at the minimal effort to earn a passing grade (Peterson, 2007). This attitude was completely opposite of my motivation, my goal was to work hard, gain the most out of my education, and earn the best possible grade. The different motivation levels became very evident during the group projects, likely due to our generational differences (Watt, 2010). Unfortunately, the unmotivated members of the group ended up earning the same grade as those that contributed the most to the project. Based on my undergraduate experience, I was not surprised that I had a myopic view of the upcoming team project. Before the project started, to combat my biases and be able to contribute to the team, I approached the project with an open mind and I focused on the excitement of collaborating on a project and not the negative experience of my undergraduate projects (Kuisma, 2007). My mindset turned to utilizing methods that I use in my workplace, do everything that I can to create a sense of team, establish a good line of communication, involve everyone in the decision-making process, and develop a common goal (Peterson, 2007).
Contributing to the Team Dynamics
Once I knew my team members, to relieve my personal anxiety and address my bias, I took the initiative to send out an...