Georgia State University Empowerment Barriers Discussion Responses
One: My first year of teaching started a bit rocky and chaotic. The previous school-year the school I worked at received a school grade of “D.” Due to the school’s failing grade, The Department of Education was always at our school, assessing and monitoring the school’s performance. I was blessed to be on the 5th-grade team. Our team consisted of four female teachers. We all worked well together, always encouraged one another to keep up the great work, and supported one another (Nelson & Quick, 2019). To this day, I am still close to two of the teachers. Two factors that made the team effective is our teamwork and communication. The book described teamwork as “joint action by a team of people in which individual interests are subordinated to team unity (Nelson & Quick, 2019). Everyone was included in decision making concerning our students, and we were asked to do something, instead of being told.
The most significant barriers to teamwork and to empowerment barriers I have experienced over the few years have been a lack of trust between teachers and administration, poor communication between the school district officials and the surrounding schools. Not recognizing these barriers can be damaging to an organization, identifying these barriers can create solutions instead of problems. The lack of trust between teachers and administration left many employees feeling unsupported and undervalued. As a result, many of my colleagues, including myself, sought out other employment opportunities. In this case, the administration failed their employees by not supporting their teachers and played favoritism. The poor communication between the school district and the surrounding schools caused frustration and discomfort within the schools. That leads to an unsupported organizational culture and dysfunctional team-oriented design (Nelson & Quick, 2019).
Nelson, D., & Quick, J. (2019). Organizational Behavior . Cengage Learning.
two: Being a part of the United States Air Force hands down is the most effective group or team that I have ever been a member of. This is a bit different than most groups as you go through the stages of group development in the few short weeks known as boot camp or basic training. “Teams are the foundational building blocks of the military, which uses a hierarchical structure built on and around teams to form larger units. Consequently, team effectiveness has been a substantial focus of research within the military for decades to ensure military teams have the human capabilities to complete their missions and address future challenges successfully.” (Goodwin, Blacksmith, & Coats, 2018) The text uses the Blue Angels as an example of a highly cohesive team. In the military if you cannot perform within the expected confines of the group you won’t last long in the group, but prestige and social status build a sense of pride that affect both individua and group factors.
The most significant barrier I’ve experienced in a team setting is one where the norm of behavior was distrust, finger pointing, and sabotage. Our text says, “the norms can be effective in influencing behavior”. This is a true statement, but if the norms are negative, the results are negative. I moved directly from this negative environment to a work group that exemplified the characteristic of a mature group, “a clear purpose and mission, well understood norms and standards of conduct, a high level of group cohesion, and a flexible status structure”. (Nelson, 2018) It honestly took me months to re-condition myself to the new group dynamics. Once I was able to do that, I was able to thrive in this environment. I felt empowered, trusted, and valuable to the group.
Goodwin, G. F., Blacksmith, N., & Coats, M. (2018). The Science of Teams in the Military: Contributions From Over 60 Years. American Psychologist, pp. 322-333.
Nelson, D. L. (2018). ORGB. Boston: Cengage Learning.
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