It seems like just the other day when we commenced this program, we introduced ourselves and I wondered how this whole course was going to play out. To think that 14 months and 7 courses have passed, it’s amazing to comprehend. I have come to know you all and have enjoyed all your inputs and experiences you shared. I have gained a lot from all your personal and professional contributions.
Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you and wish you all happy adventures, amazing experiences and the journey of a lifetime. I also hope to meet some of you if not all shortly as we specialize but if we don’t, I pray that you all have opportunities to impact positively in the lives of all the children that you come in contact with.
Lastly, I would like to say a big thank you to all our instructors; who willingly shared their knowledge and guided us through it all. You have impacted my life profoundly and I wish you all the best in the life.
My contact email address is email@example.com if you desire to get in touch with me. I will always watch out for you on your blogs.
Thank you all!!!
I have been involved in so many teams; high- performing ones and not so high-performing ones but I have come to realize that the high-performing teams are the hardest for me to leave. Most times high-performing teams usually have the clearest established standards stipulated at the beginning of the project. These standards are clearly outlined, goals stipulated and expectations are well- spelled out right from the onset. The members are very clear on the reason for the team and what they stand to benefit from the vision, so little effort is required for optimal performance of the team. Relationships are easily developed in these teams and members derive a lot of pleasure in their achievements. Maturity is evident amongst members. These teams usually do not want to adjourn.
The most exciting closing ritual that I have experienced happened in a team that I worked in about 7 years ago. It was a high-performing team. We achieved all the objectives set for the team. By the end of the project, we had developed strong relationships amongst ourselves and we did not see the end of the team as an end to our relationships.
We have a closure party and exchanged gifts. We didn’t have to exchange addresses because we had already paid visits with one another severally. As a matter of fact, one of the team members got married to the sibling of another team member about a year after the team was adjourned. We all went for the wedding ceremony. We have all remained friends ever since. This ritual has stayed with me ever since and I have often introduced it to other teams that I have participated in.
Adjourning is an essential stage of teamwork as it brings about closure for the group on a positive note. Group members may feel a sense of loss and their motivation may decline when the group’s work comes to an end. It is therefore important to recognize the group members for their accomplishments and celebrate the group’s overall success. It is also at this stage that feelings of uncertainty and insecurity about the future are alleviated through appropriate plans for the transition (Swarthout, 2016). Adjourning from my Walden team, since it is unlikely for all of us to meet face to face, I would suggest that contact addresses be exchanged, a blog or social media platform for the group could be developed and maintained; where we get to share our experiences and insights.
A conflict that readily comes to my mind was the one that happened between me and my long-time friend, Tolu. She recently missed my son’s birthday party. She knew about the party but still did not come or send her children down. I was really counting on her for support on that day and she disappointed me. I was really hurt and angry. I also noticed that she had been pulling away for some time. At first, I thought stress from work and her family (her husband had been away from home for some time, his work requires some travelling). I went over to her house the next day to give her a piece of my mind. I felt she didn’t value our friendship anymore and I wanted to hear from her rather than guess it.
On getting to her house, I confronted her and really told her off. She also accused me of being insensitive to her feelings; that if I really claimed to be her friend, I would have noticed that there was something amiss with her. We talked back and forth for a while and it didn’t seem like we were closer to resolving the issue. It was much later that I realized that she was having issues with her husband; he was having an affair and asking for a divorce.
If I had known earlier about all that we learnt this week, I would have reacted in a different manner. I would have inquired what the issue was from her instead of judging and criticizing her. I would also have listened actively without interrupting and talking loud. I would have calmly listened for her feelings. I would have compromised by having a smaller party for my son instead of the funfare we had and spent more time with her. Furthermore, I would have strategized with her on the way forward; how to get a lawyer, get informed about her rights and how to move on with her life.
The conflict would have occurred if I had tried all the above strategies.
Communication is a two way process so improving communication involves both how we send and receive messages. Effective communication skills are fundamental to success in many aspects of life and in order to become effective communicators, we must learn how we can improve our communication skills. The report from my self –assessment and those of the other two people (My husband and colleague) had a lot of similarities showing that my self-concept (my awareness and understanding of I am) strongly influences my thoughts, actions, abilities, values, goals, and ideals (O’Hair, Wiemann, Mullin, & Teven, 2015. p. 47). However, there was a noticeable difference in the Verbal Aggressiveness Scale report. My report and my colleague’s placed me on the Moderate level; which means that I maintain a good balance between respect and consideration for others’ viewpoints, and the ability to argue fairly by attacking the facts of a position rather than the person holding that position but my husband’s report placed me on low. This means that that I am respectful of others’ viewpoints and intelligence but I attempt to change their minds with gentle, inoffensive suggestions that do not attack their self-concept.
A major insight for me is that communication depends on the context and the kind of relationship that exists between you and the other person. I could afford to want to change my husband view point if I strongly believe in mine because he is my husband and I am freer with him than with anyone else. Another insight is my behaviors and attitudes are a reflection of what goes on inside of me. My thoughts, beliefs and experiences determine how I behave. If the reports from my husband and colleague had been completely different from mine, then I would really need to work first on my schemas by seeking for superior information about my beliefs and world view, and then gradually affect my behaviors. The assessments were quite revealing.
O’Hair, D., Wiemann, M., Mullin, D. I., & Teven, J. (2015). Real communication (3rd. ed). New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s
An elderly couple lives next door to my house and I had to talk with my dad severally on how to communicate and relate with this couple. The way I communicate is totally different from the way this couple communicates. I talk pretty fast expecting my listeners to move with the speed, I also use analogies that I come up with right there and then, and I go straight to the point. However, with this couple, the opposite is the case. They take their time; share the past and personal experiences, quite slow with their speech with a lot of pausing in between their sentences. I make a lot of gestures, facial expressions and my voice pitch is ok but this couple would rather sit down to talk, little body movements, lots of eye contact, and definitely low voice pitch (this may be as a result of old age). One needs a lot of patience to discuss with them. They complain that I am always in a hurry and wonder why ‘young people’ are always in a hurry.
Over time, I have learnt that I cannot communicate with these people the same way I communicate with young people. I try to make out time specifically for them, I don’t go over to see them if I intend to go out or have things to do in my house.
However, from what I have learnt this week, I could make my communication with this couple more effective by trying to articulate my words and speak clearly and make eye contact. I could also consciously try to adjust the volume of my voice to be more appropriate and I definitely will take it slow, be patient, smile, and try to remember to pause between sentences and questions as well as use short, simple words and sentences.
For this exercise, I chose to watch one of the episodes of a TV series called ‘Limitless’. I have never watched the series before and honestly, it was the first time I noticed the drama. It is drama plotted around FBI investigating crimes. This particular episode featured an attempt on the Senator’s life while giving a speech. The main character is an investigator, who had extraordinary abilities. His facial expressions always conveyed deep thinking and loss in thoughts. Another character whom I figured to be the overall boss always had stern and expressionless look on his face especially when he is talking; which is why I concluded he must be the boss. There was also another character that displayed a lot of facial expressions that depicted anxiety, doubt, and sometimes scratched the back of her neck while talking; I assumed she must be a rookie wanting to impress her boss.
Eventually, when the main character met with the shooter at his parents’ home (that was the great part), there were a lot of non verbal communication that transpired. He expressed fear, and then the muscles on his face toughened up when he said something that made the shooter stand up and went outside. While they were outside, she appeared tough and made quite a lot of hand movement while talking, and then suddenly, her expression changed to convey sadness. The main character’s body language changed to empathize with what she said but suddenly, his expression changed and appeared a bit aggressive like he did not believe what she said.
When I re-watched the drama, I was correct with all the interpretation of non verbal behaviors but not on all their roles. For instance, the stern looking man and the main character do not work for the FBI but with the senator although were collaborating with the FBI in the investigation. The stern looking man is the main character’s boss alright. The rookie assumption was also incorrect. As a matter of fact, she is actually a highly intelligent person but it was recently found out that she was having an affair with another colleague which explains her body language when she was talking with her boss. I got the theme of the episode correctly though not the roles played by the characters. This goes to show that non verbal behaviors are more reliable indicators of what is going on inside an individual and constitute a large portion of our communication. I did not realize that I could interpret non verbal behavior so accurately. It was exciting carrying out this activity.
Communication is about more than just exchanging information. Effective communication is the glue that helps you deepen your connections to others and improve teamwork, decision making, and problem solving. It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust (Robinson, Segal, & Smith, 2015). These skills were demonstrated effectively by my uncle in a discussion with his 2 sons. They were arguing over who is to clean up their room. The older son felt it was the responsibility of the younger one but the younger one felt it was both their responsibility. My uncle gave each of them time to state their opinions and views while he listened attentively, making eye contact with them, nodding his head and making verbal indications of agreement such as “uh-huh.” He did not interrupt when they were speaking in order not to disturb the flow of the conversation. I also noticed he repeated their views after each had spoken to reconfirm his understanding of their viewpoints. He asked questions for clarity and also requested they cite examples of appropriate situations to buttress their points. He accorded them fair hearing.
When the boys were done with their speech, he explained to them why the task must be done and his opinion of how and who to do the task. He suggested to them about compromising some of their standpoints in order to arrive at a logical and fair position. He then gave them an opportunity to decide on what they wanted to do. He treated them equally and maintained a positive attitude and smile throughout this period.
The entire discussion went so well and was quite impressive as both sons did not feel favored or unfavored. They realized what must be done and how to go about doing it. My uncle did not make the decision for them neither did he appear unfair and disrespectful to their views and feelings. It was a clear case of excellent communication skills at work.
Robinson, L., Segal, J., & Smith, M. (2015). Effective communication: Improving Communication Skills in Your Work and Personal Relationships. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/effective-communication.htm