Friday, February 1, 2013

Team Process

Members of high-performance teams need to understand team dynamics and take responsibility for channeling them in ways that are constructive and consistent with their vision.  In an atmosphere of positive team dynamics, people feel safe and are free to be themselves, share ideas, and contribute to the team.

Every team member needs to practice and become good at observing team process and knowing what is going on within the team – that is, looking below the surface and understanding ways in which the team is working together and ways in which it is not. If someone is aware that something is not right, then that person has a responsibility to help the team address the issue in constructive ways. To effectively address issues and teams, it is often necessary to go "below the surface" and talk about areas where the team is not working well together. This can be done by calling a "process break" and discussing how the team is or is not working together.

Task functions are important to the morale and effectiveness of the team. They are behaviors which help the team accomplish the task at hand. Some common task functions include:
  • Contributing ideas, opinions, information
  • Building on one's own or others' ideas
  • Clarifying information already presented
  • Seeking opinions and ideas, testing consensus
  • Summarizing and pulling ideas together
  • Focusing the team on the task or subject at hand
  • Expediting decision-making and action planning
  • Recording decisions, plans, etc.
Relationship functions are important to the morale and effectiveness of the team. They are behaviors which help maintain good and harmonious working relationships among members, creating an atmosphere in which everyone can contribute.  Some common relationship functions include:
  • Encouraging and supporting other team members
  • Harmonizing during disagreements
  • Gatekeeping or regulating who talks and how much.
  • Mediating differences or conflict between team members
  • Standard-setting,or reminding the team of goals, principles, or rules
  • Observing team process
General Dimensions of Team Dynamics that should be monitored and maintained include:
  • Participation
  • Influence
  • Influence Styles
  • Decision-Making
  • Team Atmosphere
  • Membership
  • Feelings

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR

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