The Concept of Interpersonal Collaboration

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IntroductionReflection is considered the noblest method to learn according to scholars. In this assignment, I was given a task to write a reflective account of my experience which I obtained while working as a part of an inter-professional team. It also required from me to focus on the areas such as the formation of the team, roles of the team members, and finally how the team members worked to achieve the desired result while keeping in view the necessary concepts provided by Gibbs, Tuckman and Bilbin in mind. I was required to give words to my experience which I witnessed as a part of an inter-professional learning set. It allowed me to observe different stages and the learning processes which a group might go through while working together and how they connect on the same page to achieve a particular task as a team.  The learning set was comprised of five people where two members were the students from the mental health nursing, two were from child nursing, and I was representing the Adult Nursing. We were given a group assignment where we were supposed to select a from the list of the topics provided, and we were required to work on it collectively and to present it on the assigned date. We also had to discuss and analyse the details about the roles and responsibilities that each one of us had executed while preparing for our group presentation. As research conducted by Embo (2015) found that the reflection is a process in which a learner’s analyses that what are his past experiences and what had caused these experiences to occur (i.e. how learning took place). He also finds out the links between his ideas and beliefs and the knowledge he had been taught.Further, according to Biesta, (2002), the professionals to review and evaluate their practice use reflection as an opportunity. Thus, this essay shall also allow me to discuss and narrate my experiences that how the whole process contributed to enhance my level of understanding and to perform a personal SWOT analysis of myself. Also, the significant role of teamwork cannot be denied in an organisational setting. It helps those working in teams to develop a coherent culture where they could establish collaborated practices (Hughes and Jones, 2013).Gibbs reflective learning cycle is an essential tool for conveying the accurate reflection of one’s experiences (Goodman and Clemow, 2011) so I will use the same to comprehend my circumstances in a better way. The most important advantage of using Gibbs model is that it provides clarity that what shall be the flow of the description. It includes six stages which guide throughout the process are known as description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion and action plan. Moreover, Tuckman’s theory of group formation (1965) and Belbin’s theory of team role shall be consulted and shall be incorporated in the study. In compliance with the rules and regulations provided by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), Data Protection Act (1998) and professional code of conduct, the names of the students have been kept confidential and instead the numbers have been assigned to them (Student 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 is me).Description: For group formation, Tuckman (1965) provides a model that includes five stages such as forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning stage. The model suggests that as the members of the group move from one stage to the other, they also develop a relationship among them and reflect maturity in their teamwork. Further, the model gradually moves from its first stage where it requires directions and thus progresses through participation, guidance, completion of the tasks and finally at the point where it detaches, and the members join new teams. On the other hand, Belbin theory highlights nine categories of team roles as reflected in the figure.Source: “Belbin – The Benefits.” Leadershipsolutions.co.nz.Thus, seeing through the lens of these two frameworks available to me, the overall structure of my experience lies within the domain of these group formation stages from the first stage till the end and the way we performed teamwork together and the roles we assumed while working in a team environment. We all agreed on the nine roles. However, it was not necessary to assume all the roles and also the theory of Belbin allowed us to consider more than one function as a secondary role in the team.Forming Stage At the beginning of our group formation, a random selection was made by the management by selecting students from different branches of nursing, all were novices and were at the beginning of their learning journey. The purpose of this group assignment was to provide an opportunity so that we as students could experience what challenges professionals face in their professional environment and to understand that the success only lies in the teamwork.  Researchers such as Spouse et al., (2008), define a group as when the individuals are selected to perform interdependent work to perform an integrative action in a given period, this process is termed as group work. My group was formed with the other students from the different branches of nursing to follow the same spirit, and as a whole, we formed an inter-professional team. One of the important characteristics of an inter-professional team is the inclusion of individuals who have different backgrounds as they belong to different departments (Hall and Weaver, 2001). Research studies also suggest that interpersonal teams are proved to be more effective to align the working of the individuals who are working in the different departments within the same organization., it is because of the fact that while working in inter-professional teams the individuals tend to make effective working relationships that help them to produce better results at work and enhance the level of productivity as well (Reese and Songtag, 2001). Initially, when the group was being formed, I was a bit reluctant as I was going to be the only member who belonged to the Adult Nursing as other members belonged to mental and child nursing, adding to this, there was also anxiety on being uncertain about the other members of the group.I had so many questions in my mind about them as I did not know about anyone. However, I realised one thing beforehand while being a part of Adult Nursing, that in this cohort I have been in interactions with individuals who have remained independent for a long period in their lives and when they get ill, they become more vulnerable. Thus, being able to support such kind of people was a big contribution which I might be able to make while working in my branch. Further, I knew that my exposure could add value to the group. Group members tend to be strangers at the start, and there are high chances that they may not be at the same frequency and are not united in the beginning when the group is formed (Goodman and Clemow, 2011) however, in my group, we all knew that we had a purpose to execute and unless we cooperate, we would not be able to perform well for the final presentation. For this purpose, excellent communication skills were required. One thing which I observed when we met for the first time that all the group members were very responsible. They were very clear about the sensitivity of the job and the requirements about the assignment for which we connected in the group. This made it easier for all of us to move ahead towards the preparation and execution of our task. Thus, in our first meeting, my group did not take much time to progress towards the next stage.Storming Stage: According to Tuckman, (1965), while working in a group, there may arise various issues at the storming stage. It is because you tend to know a person when you interact with him/her for some time. Thus, issues such as behaviours of the group members and the differences in the level of understanding of the group members about the group task. It is essential to bring all the members on the same page so that an optimum level of coherence may reflect the outcomes of the group work. The guidance of a leader is required to resolve these issues. In my group, there was also a need of such leader so that the tensions may be resolved and the difficulties may be removed on time so that we would be able to deliver what this group assignment required from us before the deadline. My group decided that we shall conduct a regular meeting and the venue of the meeting was our school library. The first and the foremost agenda of our meeting was to appoint a leader for our group and to develop skills that are appropriate and are pivotal to prepare ourselves for performing the group task efficiently and effectively. According to Endacott, (2015), the leadership and teamwork go side by side.  Leadership cannot achieve any superior results unless the entire team follows what the vision of the leader is and the team works together with the same zeal and zest that the leader has to achieve the goals. Further, leaders are considered to be the most influential factor which can shape the team (spouse et al., 2008). For this purpose,Belbin theory of team role guides about the assignment of team roles and contributes to the successful selection of the team leader. We also took help from this theory and executed a group exercise of Reflective Role Questionnaire (Kember, 2000). It helped us to appoint our team leader.  The leader of our group had a perfect record of being outspoken and organised contributions. As it was necessary to choose such kind of leader because it contributes to energise and activate the group so that they follow a common goal with agility and efficiency (Fowler, 2016). Thus, by performing the exercise, our group was able to identify the most suitable leader for our group. We chose five categories of team roles out of nin provided by the Belbin model. We concluded that these five roles were sufficient for our group to achieve the desired results. The roles assigned to the group members were included as Student 1 was assigned the role of Plant, Student 2 was a coordinator, Student 3 was shapers, Student 4 was the implementer, and I was a completer-finisher. For me, it was very suitable to assume this role as the completer-finisher is the one who works to supervise the work for any errors and modifies the tasks so that the quality could be ensured as described by (Belbin, 2004). Further, the perfectionism tendencies and the difficulties which people in this role face while delegating the work as described by Spouse et al.,(2008) resembled my personality up to a great extent.Moreover, after the selection of the team leader, she took the responsibility to lead and assigned responsibilities and functions to the group members. Student 2 was asked to compile all the researchers material, Student 1, 3 and four were required to lead the research process, and I was assigned the task to present the project on the final day. This brought clarity of mind to the group members about their roles, and all of us began to work as a team. However, one of our group members Student 4, during our work, went out of track and started bringing excuses for her negligence. She claimed that the level of respect in the group is not on equal footings and the group members are discriminating her due to her cultural background. This caused momentary conflict within the group. It was a challenging task for the leader as well to sort out her grievances so that the working could be resumed. As the conflicts among the group members restrict the performance (Weidmann, 2009). The leader of our group asked her to choose a different task of what she was assigned, but she declined. Further, it is affirmed by Kleiner et al. (2014) that in a team conflicts cannot be avoided. To sum, the other members of the group along with the team leader attempted to clarify the misunderstanding in the mind of the student 4 about the mistreatment or any discrimination. They also tried to make her realise about the fact that teamwork is important and the importance of her participation in the group task to get it completed. This approach suggested by the leader helped us to diffuse the situation, and we resumed to work. This act of our leader proved the findings of Doody, (2012) that a transformation leader motivates the members of a team. Also, that conflict resolution is important to boost cooperation among the group members.  Finally, after sorting things out, we embarked our journey towards the norming stage.Norming Stage: So far, we were accustomed to the behaviours of each other. We also got understanding regarding the strengths and weakness of each other. This helped us in getting the best output for our final project. The leader of our team continued to guide and motivate us so that we could remain in a position to perform our tasks enthusiastically without being demotivated. We collaborated and helped each other so that we could complete our task on time and remain on schedule. Thus, every member of the team completed the delegated tasks, and we were ready for our presentation.Performing Stage: This stage was about actual performance. So all of us reached well ahead before time to prepare for a presentation. This was also important because our term to present in the beginning, so it was important to remain conscious till execution. Finally, we presented, and it went well, after this, we had a question-answer session where all of us contributed.Adjourning Stage: This stage was a bit emotional for all of us as during our project we have got a sense of attachment towards each other. However, we aimed to utilise it productively and decided to peer review so that we could be able to gauge that how was the overall performance of our team during this tenure. While conducting the review, we identified that the leader of our team had shown fantastic communication and conflict resolution skills. She had been able to delegate the tasks appropriately and executed all the duties with due ownership. After this, we greeted each other and separated our ways.Feelings: During the whole process, I felt that it was a cumbersome process because one gets the reasonable autonomy while working alone as compared to the groups. In a group setting, each member has his/her point of view, and reaching a point of consensus is sometimes very stressful and takes time. Further, I was a bit uncomfortable realising the fact that I was the only one who belongs to Adul Nursing and the other members were two from the same department so I had an apprehension that they shall have a duo and I shall be left alone in the group. However, all my confusion were removed when we appointed the leader of our team. She understood the exposure I could be brought to the group and the expertise I had. Thus, I felt respected. I also felt overwhelmed by the fact that my team chose me for the role of completer-finisher and final presentation as well. They worked hard and contributed to the final presentation.Evaluation: The team faced challenges due to multiple factors. Firstly, the diversity in the group caused confusions and misunderstandings within the group members. Secondly, the lack of communication also hampered the adequate level of understanding among the group members. The main reason behind these challenges lies in the delay in the selection of the team leader as it can be observed that the team leader was successful in resolving conflicts and delegating roles. The delegation by the team leader is beneficial for the completion of the tasks and for maintaining the harmony in the group (Curtis et, al. 2016). Further, a leader who is efficient in delegating a task and who seeks to promote the collaborative practices is a good leader (Choy et, al. 2016). Further, one of the qualities that a good leader possess includes he can be easily approached in case of any conflict (Bolman, 2017).The misunderstandings which our group faced initially, might have been avoided if we could select our leader earlier, but we took time for it. We followed a proper procedure that took time. If we could be able to appoint the leader earlier, the student who might felt discrimination might not have happened, and we could have saved time. Moreover, the leader demonstrated excellent leadership skills, the way she sorted out the conflict, delegated roles and controlled the lack of communication among the group members. The leader of our team also affirmed the findings of Garland, (2016) who found that a good leader is efficient in the delegation of tasks, easy to approach and promotes collaborative practices. As we took help from the Tuckman and Belbin’s theory, this helped our group to maximise the effectiveness of our team roles and effective working. To sum, the experience was overall good; we learned to cooperate and collaborate with each other with unity.  Although each one of us possessed entirely different traits, we got united and did not compromise on the quality of our work.Analysis: After going through the whole scenario at this point, I believe that our team spent more time in the storming stage. Although we were new to our team and we needed time to understand each other because we met for the first time due to this assignment and there were individual differences, yet we could have got the benefit from the leader of our group because she was competent enough to save our time on these issues. Research studies suggest that it is a transformational leader who motivates a team adequately to enhance the morale of the team players (Mencle et, al. 2016). Doody (2012) also found that the transformational leader inspires the group members and as a result, their performance is enhanced. Every member of the team worked best to produce the best result in the final presentation. We even helped each other so that we could follow the deadline and might not leave behind the schedule. I believe that my contribution to the group was also worthy in a way that firstly, I supported the members of my team to remain on time while completing their tasks and secondly I supervised their tasks as well. The reason behind this was that there wouldn’t be any irrelevant thing left in the tasks which may cause a problem at the time of final presentation. I admit the fact that being a perfectionist I sometimes become easily irritable, but I learnt to remain patient throughout the process as I observed how things work in a group setting. I truly believe that this will is going to help me in my professional endeavour as well.Conclusion:  In a nutshell, when working in a group, teamwork is indispensable for achieving the desired results, especially in the healthcare settings. It enhances the performance of the team (Valentine, 2015). In the case of our group, we worked with cooperation and collaboration despite all the challenges and the hurdles we came across. The role of our leader cannot be denied in this regard. Although, there were conflicts in the group yet the leader was able to resolve them effectively. The group leader encouraged all the group members and assisted on an individual basis for resolving all the misunderstanding and the conflict. She helped us reduce the communication gap which was the reason for misunderstandings at the beginning of the group formation. This caused a huge difference and resulted in the excellent presentation of our project. Finally, everyone contributed towards the final success of this project. Due to the attitude of our team leader, we were in a position to utilise our potential in the best possible way and to overcome the barriers which came afterwards. The success of our presentation was the success of the leader as it proved that she was able to delegate the roles appropriately so that everyone was able to work efficiently and collaboratively. It also broadened my thinking that how the best outcomes could be achieved, also I gained insight about the issues which might arise in the professional environment of similar kind and what sort of skill set is required to deal with it in future.Action Plan: It is imperative to understand that inter-professional teamwork and effective communication is crucial along with the efficiency and patient safety which is emphasised hugely in the healthcare practice. Therefore, in my future practice, I will be focusing on these areas as well as another important thing that is patience when dealing with the people and not to make prior conclusions. I shall keep on working in such inter-professional teams to broaden my horizon and the level of exposure along with the reflective practice of mine so that I could analyse the situation and draw key points to keep under my consideration that would require my immediate attention.ConclusionTo sum, the reflection of the whole experience while keeping in view the dynamics of the Gibbs Model, Tuckman and Bilbin Theory provided an insightful understanding and knowledge about the learnings and the inferences which are indeed very useful. Gibbs model provides a framework and a basis to narrate and analyse an experience of an individual side by side. It also provides an active understanding of all the dynamics of a whole experience an individual had gone through and an action plan to follow. Further, theories such as Tuckman talks about the stages of group formation and systematically leads the narrator of the experience to put the pieces of his/her experiences in the right places. Finally, to perform the tasks within the group dynamics and to remain organised throughout the tenure until the group is adjourned, Belbin theory provides the list of team roles which are assigned to each group member according to the characteristics of the roles similar to that individual. This leads to the smooth functioning of the group. This essay adopted the same strategy to narrate the concept of interpersonal collaboration and completed the tasks.ReferencesHughes, R.W., Hurlstone, M.J., Marsh, J.E., Vachon, F. and Jones, D.M., 2013. 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