What makes an ineffective team?

It can range from a number of things, including poorly resolved/unresolved conflicts, lack of commitment/drive, lack of teamwork, lack of trust, lack of commonality, lack of management, and lack of clarity, etc. But the basis of each reason is that the connection between each team member is weak.

How do you overcome ineffective team members?

Team members that don’t contribute anything positive — or worse, negatively contribute to the team (Eg. making more work for others, unreliability, poor time management, etc.), make it hard for the team to function in a healthy manner. Not only does it limit the efficiency of the entire team, but it may even hold them back to a degree.

The first step in order to reestablish order within your team is to first address the issue with everyone, making sure that each member is aware of the problem. Keeping members out of the loop promotes distrust — and is not what we’re looking for. Be calm and do not assume anything. Ask the member why they’re behaving like they are and listen to them. They might not even be aware that they’re making mistakes, or creating problems.

After you’ve confronted the member, make a plan of action to correct this behavior. If they’re serious about working together then they’ll help you. Then once you’ve talked it through, bring it back to the whole group and have a proper discussion about the future with everyone.

Now, not all cases result in this. If things improve (as we’ve detailed), then no further action should be necessary. If they continue to create problems then talk to them again. But if even after that they refuse to work effectively within the team, it might be best to remove them from the group.

What makes a good team? How can you make the team better?

Respect and camaraderie are a step in the right direction. Building up trust and respect should probably be the first thing any team does before they’ve started work. This helps the team reach common ground, and eventually move past potential conflicts, growing and learning from one another.

A group objective would help too. If you all want the same thing, it makes it easier for the team to work together in order to achieve that goal. If not, it’s likely that many hours will go missing in trying to establish a clear outline.

In terms of making it better, you find that it’s hard for a lot of people to admit their mistakes. Humans are a proud species after all. The conflict that arises from ‘finger-pointing’ so to speak can become a very likely possibility very quickly. After an argument like that has happened, the atmosphere becomes one of distrust and low morale and is hard to recover from.

What makes a great team? How can you keep the team great?

A great team has all the points I mentioned in the previous question and then some. Adding to my description of the blaming others’ argument, it’s important for a team to communicate with one another. Sharing problems to do with the team is not only nessessary but heavily encouraged. Simply because it’s the core element in a teams success.

When a team communicates without one another effectively, it leaves room open for mistakes and problems. Instead of sorting through a problem by themselves, they’re given the opportunity to debate those problems and create a collective solution.

How can teams work effectively and efficiently?

It essentially all comes back to communication. It should start with the team members themselves, sharing their strengths and weaknesses right off the bat can allow the team leader to appropriately delegate responsibility. The leader shouldn’t be expected to do everything, so it’s okay to ask for a members skills and give them tasks based on that assessment.

Secondly, as we said before, incentives and goals are critical to a team’s efficiency and effectiveness. This is because everyone works better when they know that what they’re working towards is something they all care about. It should also go without saying that these goals should be realistic and actually obtainable within the timeframe. If members think they’re never going to reach the goal, they won’t — because their investment in the project will go down.

Part 1 – Using the questions above, or any others that you can find, describe the effectiveness and efficiency of your team so far.

It was important to establish a friendly baseline early on in our cooperation. And to that degree, I think we have. All three of us can speak quite openly about ourselves and often share conversations outside of our projects. It helps to be friendly with your team member,s because if there’s tension — almost any tension at all, then the team itself will be weak, and inevitably fall.

Aside from that, all of us have spent several minutes before a large chuck of the assignment and talked about what we planned on doing. We did this for two main reasons. Maintaining structure is somewhat important in this context since our individual styles are quite chaotic — meaning that we do what needs to be done when we see it needs to be done.

At one time or another it becomes clear who leads the charge in different areas. Some of us are more accustomed to certain fields, while others rely on prior knowledge to give the rest of us a basic yet detailed understanding. We’ve essentially turned our team into a solely collaborative function. If nobody knows the answer, then someone will appoint themselves to research and come back with new information. Because of that, we can have discussions on relevant issues and solve them appropriately.

Overall, at not point has a member of our tema not pulled their own weight. I’ll admit that I’ve been somewhat lazy when it came to communicating effectively, but in the end we’ve all come up with a project that we’re happy with.

Part 2 – How important is it to have an effective and efficient team in your:
The current class of COM502?

In the months that our class has been together, it’s been well established that most of us are fairly comfortable with one another. Secondly, since our COMS class gets split off into even smaller classes, it’s easy for closer relationships to be made and enforced.

Close relationships not only help with the team itself, but benefit it in coming to sustainable solutions to conflicts. With a close enough bond between members, conflicts within the group don’t leave a lasting impression of the team itself.

Overall, it’s very important to have friendly relationships with the people in our class. Mainly because it is so small, having any distrust anywhere is going to affect the group entirely.

Overall certificate/diploma/degree program?

I’ll be the first to admit that having a strong amount of efficiency/effectiveness in terms of such a large group is less appropriate than a smaller one (the COMS classes). However, with that being said it’s still somewhat important. A lot of us don’t have much contact with one another so it’s hard to say, but any situation where conflict can’t be resolved is detrimental to the workings of the entire group.

Overall, I would claim that it’s beneficial to the entire group if we as students cooperate together and have as friendly relations as possible. It makes for less lasting conflict and doesn’t impact the functionality in a negative way.

Potential future employment?

Teams in an employment context are similar to how COMS teams should operate. Establishing connections and respect with one another is the first step to creating a good working team.

Te Tiriti of Waitangi

Who were major players in the formation of the Treaty of Waitangi?

The naval captain, William Hobson arrived at the Bay of Islands on 29 January 1840 alongside his secretary, James Freeman. The two drew up some notes for a treaty. James Busby, the British Resident tidied those notes up and added his own to them. After the treaty had been properly fleshed out, Henry Williams and his son Edward translated it into Maori.

What was the name of the first declaration made by James Busby in 1835?

On 28 October 1835, thirty-four northern chiefs signed He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni — The Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand at the home of James Busby. The document detailed that the Maori people had full authority and sovereign power in New Zealand and that foreigners would not be allowed to make laws.

What year was the Treaty signed? • Do some primary research and name one piece of legislation where the Treaty or aspects of the Treaty have been included.

The Treaty of Waitangi was first signed on 6 February 1840. There are several pieces of legislation where there is a reference to the Treaty of Waitangi. For example, the 1987 Conservation Act.

Describe how you think the Treaty would impact you if you were an IT Consultant within a large New Zealand Government organization.

As an IT Consultant within a large New Zealand organization, you must take care to be mindful of Maori traditions and beliefs. As such, people who use Te Reo Maori appropriately, understand cultural rules and beliefs when making decisions. Being aware of what you say and how you say it can make the difference.

For example, there are many tribes across New Zealand. However, they operate in a horizontal organizational structure. Consequently, individual tribes can act independently of one another, and can also have different or varying beliefs and rules. It’s important to recognize that not all Maori peoples are the same and treating them as such may incur dissatisfaction, weak negotiation, and a lack of respect.

If you were a Team Leader, managing a large group of individuals, some Maori, within a government department in NZ, explain what these three words mean in the context of acting within the framework of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Participation: This refers to New Zealand citizens and government cooperating and working together with Maori Communities — the inclusion of everyone in New Zealand. This means in a government department, getting consultation from the Maori community is key. In regards to the Treaty, we must actively make sure that Maori are involved with decision making, especially when it becomes to the betterment of the country as a whole.

Protection: Protection is basically what it describes, protecting Maori values, rights, beliefs, and interests. Again, it comes down to cultural awareness and sensitivity. A way to keep this protection is by making Te Reo Maori more available in NZ websites. The website has a Maori translation of its title in subtext underneath the header — which is certainly a step in the right direction. Making “New Zealand” synonymous with “Maori culture”.

Partnership: Participation and Partnership in this context should be closely related to each other, as such, a lot of what I said previously can be applied here simply because they’re fundamentally reliant on one another. Ensuring a deeper understanding of Maori culture/language is important when it comes to partnership, but it’s also a two-way street. People should be aware of Maori culture while in New Zealand. It’s a given. But cooperation and compromise is the key to a healthy relationship. We need to make sure that everyone within the organization is content and satisfied with the current affairs.

Team Bonding Activities

My team (three of us in total) participated in two of the four activities. The first was the blindfold task, in which we led and were led to different areas while blindfolded.

While leading, you become aware of different things that most people overlook in everyday life. For example, I had to point out a change of texture or elevation (the ground) so that the blindfolded person wasn’t surprised by sudden changes.

It doesn’t feel like you’re controlling them, because they’re still moving by their own accord. Proven by the fact that they can still hit you if you walk them into something. I noticed that while the blindfolded person was walking, they claim to be fine but you can tell they’re still cautious — which is very reasonable seeing as we’re not too familiar with each other and haven’t accumulated that much trust yet.

In the end, we managed to get him to the library. Not without some struggle though. But overall, it went exactly how I had expected. The blindfolded person didn’t completely trust us, preferring to take it slow. But enough to let us direct him. I’d argue that him walking slowly helped us direct him, as if he was walking full speed, we may not have had much time to direct him (or for him to react) before he walked into something.

I feel that we couldn’t have done any better in regard to the blindfolding task. We were able to communicate easily, and we weren’t rushing into things. It went as smoothly as it possibly could have, in my own opinion.

Next, we did the bamboo task. It consisted of lowering a bamboo stick in tandem with one another without letting your fingers leave the stick.

Of course, it was much easier with only three people. But I imagine that if we had more it would’ve become considerably harder. Only due to the fact that the top priority for most people is to keep their fingers on the stick, which means that a solid chunk of people will push upwards against the stick rather than lowering it.

If there are enough people, communication can help immensely. But in the case of the bamboo task, when there are not as many people, communication happens less because most of what’s going on is intuitive.

Observation of Body Language

As we speak I’m in the middle of the NMIT canteen area. It’s about 11:00 so you can expect to see a large group of people around. There are about 20 people doing various things. It’s obvious who knows who due to their comfortability.

For example, there are four people in front of me talking to each other as a group. Their body language is relaxed and comfortable, each one fully invested in the conversation despite having food in front of them. It implies that not only are they very familiar with each other, but it also seems likely that they’ve known each other for a little while now — seeing as it’s only been a week since this semester started. Old friends maybe?

Then there are others that are more secluded. A woman by herself at a large table. She’s sitting in the middle of the table, which implies that she isn’t waiting for anyone. When someone leaves an open space, it’s pretty obvious that they’re expecting something or someone to be there. Especially since her bag is next to her and not on the floor.

On the other side of the room is a person about the same age as me judging from his clothing and face. He has sat at a single table for two people, occasionally checking his phone. He also has a coffee and a bag sitting on the table in front of him. I can guess that he’s waiting for someone due to the aforementioned points.

The food obviously isn’t for him, as he’s been there for several minutes and hasn’t touched them. The way he keeps looking back and forth from his phone is a giveaway also. There are periods of time where he stops looking and stares outside. The fact that he’s sitting at a single table implies that he’s only waiting for one person, likely a close friend. Close enough to warrant buying food for them.

There’s a woman at the front counter dressed in a long white jacket and jeans. It’s obvious she’s becoming impatient from her body language. Her hands are face down on the counter and she’s ever so slightly leaning into the kitchen. I can’t see her eyes, but from what I can see I assume she’s looking at the people inside due to the slight movements her head is making. She’s also tapping her foot quite fast, also implying impatience. After a worker came her tone of voice was abrupt, loud, and sharp.

There’s a group to my right composed of four people. However, It’s likely that due to their difference in attire and mannerisms they’re not from the same group. The fourth person is excluded from the conversation and is paying closer attention to their food and cellphone, they’re not making eye contact with anyone around them. While it doesn’t directly imply that she’s not a part of the group, she could just be shy, her own mannerisms are reserved and closed. Her body and feet orientation is forward, away from the group.

I confirmed this when she packed up and left shortly after my observations. If she were a part of the group she either would’ve said something to them, or at the very least, they would’ve said something to her. Not to mention they moved into her seat, taking up her original space.

Being in a less naturally chaotic place: the library makes for a completely different set of mannerisms. As being in certain environments affects the way you communicate.

For example, the canteen was a much smaller place and therefore was inherently more crowed and loud. Whereas in a library, quiet — or even complete silence is not only encouraged but preferred by the people inside.

There are people who use these grounds as a hangout, to which their mannerisms are open and suited to the conversation rather than study. Their legs and arms are more open, their voice is louder and more direct, their shoulders are looser and their posture slightly more erect. It implies that they’re comfortable with the people they’re around.

Others are studying, which in itself calls for distinct mannerisms. Due to their desire to study, communication to and from them is heavily discouraged. Their legs are crossed, and though their posture is relaxed, it’s not to invite conversation but to remain in one spot. More often than not, a slouched and relaxed posture would invite conversation, however, most if not all of the time, location and time influence the meaning. And in a library, a relaxed posture implies that they’re comfortable, not that they want to converse with someone.


This blog is part of the NMIT Blog Network. The articles and comments in this blog are the opinion of the authors and not necessarily those of NMIT.