Difficulties of joining a Team when it has already started

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Teams become effective through setting clear responsibilities for each team member, all of which collectively fulfil the team’s objectives. Every person has a tendency of behaving in a particular way when working with other people, referred to as team roles. The Belbin team roles methodology presents nine roles that must be fulfilled for teams to be successful. These are; plants who are characterized by unconventional creativity and problem-solving skills. A monitor evaluator who provides a logical eye and impartial assessment of the team’s options. The coordinator who identifies the objectives of the team and divides the labour accordingly. A resource investigator who ensures that the team’s ideas will be viable in real life cases.  The implementer who plans a concrete approach and executes it out resourcefully. The finisher who scrutinizes the finished work of the team to ensure that there are no errors and the shaper who motivates the team to ensure it does not lose its momentum; and the specialist who has in-depth knowledge in a particular area (Mostert 2015, p. 36). 

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For a team to optimally perform, there must be specifications of the roles and responsibilities of each team member. The delegation of each responsibility is dependent on how each team member relates and treats other team members in a way that facilitates the progress of the whole team. These responsibilities reflect the way an individual member contributes and interrelates with the other team members. The team roles combines the socio-emotional and mission roles, which work mutually in the team performance. Therefore, joining a team late maybe difficult as the project leaders have already identified the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and assigned the appropriate roles to each one of them. Having the roles already filled means that a latecomer will have no roles to fill. However, there may be potential gaps that need more than one person to fill. 

The Tuckman theory provides a model for team development from their initiation up to the successful completion of their tasks. The effectiveness and success of a team is dependent on three factors; content, process, and feelings. Content is the tasks carried out collectively by the team members, process is how the team carries out its activities in order to accomplish the set objectives while feelings refer to the relations and interactions among the team members. These factors are manifested in each of the Tuckman’s stages of team development, which are “forming, storming, norming, and performing” (Wilson 2010, pg. 3). These factors have to be manifested in each of the stages. The stages build on each other and failing to participate in either of them can negatively impact the team’s performance. This is the major difficulty that may be experienced by a new member who may have skipped one or two of the identified stages. 

The effectiveness of the Tuckman’s model is dependence on team membership being stable, that is, with no additions of new members. However, the first three stages have the potential of accommodating a new member where the new comer learns about the already existing interpersonal relationships among the other group members and acquires an understanding of the group culture, tasks, and norms. The group members on their part seek to understand the new member, gain perceptions about him/her, understand their task competence as well as the impact of their inclusion on the group’s interpersonal relationships. 

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  1. Mostert, N. M., 2015. Belbin – The Way Forward for Innovation Teams. Journal of Creativity and Business Innovation, Vol. 1; pp. 35-48. 
  2. Wilson, C., 2010. Bruce Tuckman’s Forming, Storming, Norming & Performing Team Development Model. [Online]. Available at <https://www.sst7.org/media/BruceTuckman_Team_Development_Model.pdf> accessed November 8, 2017. 
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