Learning Together in Community

Justice (2006) define team ground rules as the guidelines and statements of values which a team lays down consciously to enable individual members to arrive at appropriate decisions regarding their future actions. Ground rules and guidelines have been found to be very effective when they are consistent, clear, followed, and agreed-to. Team members are expected to treat one another with respect, possess sufficient listening skills, and share information sufficiently. These characteristics will greatly reduce the likelihood of ineffective collaboration and contribution, and conflicts between the team members.

      Expectations for time management and involvement include working in a healthy, well organized environment with a positive vision, and clear mission and goals (Justice, 2006). Team members are required to actively participate in decision making process. According to Justice (2006), team members should communicate effectively with each other and they should be available when needed. Effective communication and accessibility avoid the wastage of significant resources such as time and money (Palloff, 2005).   

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      Palloff (2005) suggests that a team should ensure that there is fair and even contribution and collaboration. A team can achieve this by the facilitation of open, supportive, and trusting relationships which enables individual members to enjoy a substantial competitive advantage. If a team member does not collaborate and contribute effectively, the most appropriate communication strategy that can be used to reverse the situation is to provide enough information to the individual, regarding the areas where their routine activities are interdependent (Palloff, 2005).  One of the major advantages that a team member enjoys is the diversity of resources, ideas, and knowledge. However, diversity has been found to produce conflict (Justice, 2006). A team can manage conflicts between its members by offering a training regarding conflict resolution. Conflicts will be effectively managed when a team ensures that its members possess sufficient listening skills, share information sufficiently, and do not exhibit much difference in interpreting and perceiving information (Justice, 2006).      

      A team that is undergoing bad experiences such as misunderstanding, conflicts, and lack of effective contribution and collaboration, can possibly do away with such disturbing experiences by employing appropriate strategies (Justice, 2006). Among the strategies is the improvement of listening skills which can promote understanding as well as do away with conflicts between members of the team (Justice, 2006). If individuals are not contributing and collaborating effectively, they should be provided with information regarding the areas where their routine activities are interdependent (Palloff, 2005). Therefore, the team members will start to experience a favorable environment after the past disturbing experiences have been resolved.   

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