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Created by Badar e Alam

Created by Badar e Alam

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  • 1. Twelve Characteristics of Effective Teams 1. Clear purpose. Each member of the team understands the mission or objective, and the team has a plan of action. 2. Informality. The working environment is informal. Team members feel comfortable with the project and with each other. No one is either tense or bored. 3. Participation. Discussions are lively and each member of the team has a chance to participate. 4. Listening. Team members listen to each other. They summarize, paraphrase, or ask questions in order to encourage explanation or elaboration. 5. Civilized disagreement. Team members feel comfortable disagreeing with each other. Disagreements are polite and friendly. 6. Consensus decisions. The team arrives at its decisions through discussion of each member’s ideas. Team members avoid both formal voting and easy compromises. 7. Open communication. Team members tell each other how they feel about the team’s project and the team’s operation. They have no secrets or ulterior motives. 8. Clear roles and work assignments. Each member of the team understands the job that he or she is expected to do. Work assignments are fairly distributed and promptly completed. 9. Shared leadership. The responsibilities of leadership rotate periodically among the members of the team. 10. External relations. The team develops a working relationship with the supervisor and with other teams. It displays to those outside the team a distinct identity. 11. Diverse responsibilities. Each member of the team has a special emphasis. The team includes members who emphasize the quality of the document, the setting of objectives, the process of investigating alternatives, and building consensus, and the administration of the team. 12. Self-assessment. The team does periodic self-examinations. Each member of the team evaluates how effectively the team is functioning and recommends how it might improve. Adapted from Glenn Parker’s Team Players and Teamwork. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990. Page 33.
  • 2. Characteristics of Ineffective Teams 1. There is low unity of purpose. Little or no evidence that the group is widely committed to common objectives or that the objectives are meaningful to each member of the group. 2. The group tends to avoid discussion of its own maintenance. The group has taken little time to explicitly discuss group process -- how the group will function to achieve its objectives. The group does not have a clear, mutually agreed-upon approach: mechanics, norms, expectations, rules, etc. There is often much discussion after a meeting of what was wrong and why, but this is seldom discussed within the meeting itself. 3. The group has low or ambiguous performance goals for itself. It has not defined concrete milestones against which it measures itself. The group has not given itself the stimulus of a continuous series of "small wins" along the way to larger goals. 4. The atmosphere is likely to reflect either indifference (lots of side conversations, whispering, etc.), boredom, or tension. The group is not genuinely engaged. 5. A few people tend to dominate. Sometimes their contributions are way off the point, but little is done by anyone in the group to keep the group clearly on track. People do not really listen to each other. Ideas are ignored or overriden. Conversations after group meetings reveal that people failed to express their ideas or feelings. 6. Personal feelings are hidden. There is fear that these are too explosive if brought out. 7. Disagreements are not generally dealt with effectively by the group. They may be suppressed by those who fear conflict, or there may be a "Tyranny of the Minority" in which an individual or sub-group is so aggressive that the majority accedes to their wishes in order to preserve the peace. 8. Actions are often taken prematurely before the real issues are either examined or resolved. There is sometimes grousing after the meeting. A simple majority is considered sufficient, and the minority is expected to go along. The minority remains resentful and uncommitted. 9. There are one or more group members who do not carry their fair share , failing to meet expectation of other group members. One or more members are disrespectful of the mechanics of the group: arriving late, coming unprepared, not completing agreed upon tasks on time, etc. Action steps are either unclear (who-what-when) or some group members are unwilling to accept and complete action steps at an equal level to other group members.
  • 3. 10. Criticism may be present, but it is tension-producing or hostile. Some people avoid giving constructive criticism. 11. There is a dominant figure in the group who seeks to gain and retain power in the group. 1. Clear Purpose. Members understand and are fully committed to the vision, mission, goals, and objectives of the team. Ineffective teams lack clarity of purpose, a plan and specific goals. Members wonder, wander and pull in different directions. 2. Open Communication. Effective teams pride themselves on open, participatory communication and vigorous discussions. Ineffective teams are marked by gossip, hidden agendas and guarded communication. 3. Constructive Conflict. On effective teams, there's disagreement, but members are comfortable with this and deal with it openly. There are very few signs of avoiding or suppressing conflict. Ineffective teams lack trust and are often undermined by personal disagreements and their inability to resolve conflict constructively. 4. Effective Problem Solving and Decision-making. Approaches to problem solving and decision making are well established in effective teams. Ineffective teams lack problem-solving strategies and are stymied by inefficient decision-making processes and low quality decisions. 5. Defined Roles, Responsibilities and Accountability. Roles, responsibilities, expectations and authorities are well defined, understood and accepted. Work is fairly distributed and skills are well represented with team members' abilities recognized and fully utilised. Team members are fully accountable for individual and collective team performance. Ineffective teams struggle with role conflict, unclear boundaries, confused expectations and poor accountability. 6. Strong Relationships. Effective teams work on building and maintaining internal relationships. Team members are supportive; trust one another and have a lot of fun together. Members also invest in developing relationships and building credibility with important stakeholders in other parts of the organization. Poor collaboration, low morale, cliques and silos characterize ineffective teams. 7. Systems and Procedures. Effective teams implement and support procedures to guide and regulate team functioning. Ineffective teams rarely invest in developing their team systems or improving work processes 8. Experimentation and Creativity. Well functioning teams encourage creativity and risk taking and experiment with different ways of doing things. Ineffective teams often are bureaucratic, low risk and rigid. 9. Measurement and Self-assessment.
  • 4. Effective teams have clear shared measures. They schedule time to regularly assess their progress and performance, identifying achievements and areas for improvement. Ineffective teams tend focus on individual measurement and rarely review their collective performance. 10. Shared Leadership. Effective teams share leadership roles depending upon the circumstances, needs of the group, and expertise of members. The formal leader co-ordinates the integration of effective team functions and models appropriate behaviour to help establish positive norms. Ineffective teams often have one person dominating. 1: Identity: Strong teams have a clear identity, often signified in a number of ways. Most obviously a name, but also including budget, venue/meeting place, uniform, logo, colour scheme, language, rituals… 2: Shared values: Team members share similar values, such as integrity, commitment to the common task, mutual support… These are not imposed, but genuinely shared. Ideally these are clearly known at any recruitment stage, so potential members can self-select (or otherwise), and may be used as part of the selection process… 3: Complementary skills: There is an excellent mix of complementary skills; within the team there is the competence to get the job done to a high standard. Everyone’s skill set is recognised, valued and used. No one feels redundant… 4: Complementary roles: Based on Belbin’s work, there is a balance of key roles - eg completer-finisher, shaper, harmoniser. Too many with the same role preference, or gaps, will diminish the team’s effectiveness… 5: Common goal, vision, purpose: The main focal point for the team is some commonality of mission, goal or purpose. Many manufactured teams are created around achieving a specific goal or outcome; but others - often more informal - are built around other commonalities - eg shared values, or friendships. It may be worth thinking of three types of commonalities - not necessarily mutually exclusive: commonality of destination, commonality of journey, commonality of state. destination: team members want to get to, or achieve, a shared end product, result, or goal journey: more important for these team members are to share the journey - to travel together, whatever the project, or goal - or not. These team members are less bothered about where they go, than that they go there together state: these team members just share ‘being’ together; a commonality of attitude, or state of mind; this is a risk taking team; this is a happy team; this is a wellbeing team 6: Leadership: Strong teams have clear leadership - which does not always mean a clear leader. Some teams can be self-managing. But whatever the form of leadership, it is known and supported by all team members, and adds value to the functioning of the team… 7: Clear formal roles and responsibilities: Team members will have absolute certainty who is specifically responsible for what, either in terms of task completion, or formal roles. Individual team members accept accountability for their role and contribution; they will also tend to have collective responsibility - whatever disagreements there are within the team, they provide a united front externally… 8: Clear and agreed ground rules: The team operates within an agreed set of ground rules, which provides for team discipline. These will include how the team makes decisions, and how it deals with internal conflict and disagreement…
  • 5. 9: Non-insular: One team strength is a potential weakness: that it becomes so internally strong it loses touch with its external world; it becomes precious, interally focused, and risks becoming detached from ‘reality’. A truly strong team welcomes external viewpoints and criticisms, and ensures it stays genuinely in touch with its customers, stakeholders and markets, and avoids becoming smug or complacent… 10: Celebratory: A strong team celebrates its successes, however measured. These celebrations are a way of bonding and reaffirming the team’s identity and culture, and possibly attracting new members… 1. There is a clear unity of purpose. There was free discussion of the objectives until members could commit themselves to them; the objectives are meaningful to each group member. 2. The group is self-conscious about its own operations. The group has taken time to explicitly discuss group process -- how the group will function to achieve its objectives. The group has a clear, explicit, and mutually agreed-upon approach: mechanics, norms, expectations, rules, etc. Frequently, it will stop to examined how well it is doing or what may be interfering with its operation. Whatever the problem may be, it gets open discussion and a solution found. 3. The group has set clear and demanding performance goals for itself and has translated these performance goals into well-defined concrete milestones against which it measures itself. The group defines and achieves a continuous series of "small wins" along the way to larger goals. 4. The atmosphere tends to be informal, comfortable, relaxed. There are no obvious tensions, a working atmosphere in which people are involved and interested. 5. There is a lot of discussion in which virtually everyone participates, but it remains pertinent to the purpose of the group. If discussion gets off track, someone will bring it back in short order. The members listen to each other. Every idea is given a hearing. People are not afraid of being foolish by putting forth a creative thought even if it seems extreme. 6. People are free in expressing their feelings as well as their ideas. 7. There is disagreement and this is viewed as good. Disagreements are not suppressed or overridden by premature group action. The reasons are carefully examined, and the group seeks to resolve them rather than dominate the dissenter. Dissenters are not trying to dominate the group; they have a genuine difference of opinion. If there are basic disagreements that cannot be resolved, the group figures out a way to live
  • 6. with them without letting them block its efforts. 8. Most decisions are made at a point where there is general agreement. However, those who disagree with the general agreement of the group do not keep their opposition private and let an apparent consensus mask their disagreement. The group does not accept a simple majority as a proper basis for action. 9. Each individual carries his or her own weight, meeting or exceeding the expectations of other group members. Each individual is respectful of the mechanics of the group: arriving on time, coming to meetings prepared, completing agreed upon tasks on time, etc. When action is taken, clears assignments are made (who-what-when) and willingly accepted and completed by each group member. 10. Criticism is frequent, frank and relatively comfortable. The criticism has a constructive flavor -- oriented toward removing an obstacle that faces the group. 11. The leadership of the group shifts from time to time. The issue is not who controls, but how to get the job done. 2. Unified Commitment to a Goal 3. A team is created to complete the goals it is given. An effective team is committed to completing its goal by using the team's resources. It does not mean that as individuals the people that make up the team share the same point of view or are all in agreement on what is best for the group. It means that when the team is presented with a goal, they can come together and work as a single unit to complete the task. 4. Participation 5. In order for a team to act as a team everyone must be participating in the creation of a solution. A team does not have extra members. Each member of a team is essential to the team's success, and when the group is given a task, each member knows what their job is and sets out to put in their fair share of the effort. 6. Open Communication 7. A team is able to communicate effectively and there is a feeling of open communication between all members of the group. Issues within a team are handled by face-to-face communication. Team members do not talk behind each other's back as there is a respect developed among team members that necessitates direct and open communication on all issues. 8. Decision-Making 9. A team has a hierarchy and a built-in decision-making system that helps it to react quickly and effectively to all situations. The members of the group are respected for their various areas of expertise, and the leader of the group has developed the ability to obtain the group members'
  • 7. opinions to formulate the group's response. This applies to decisions made within the group ranging from resolving internal conflict to a potential change in group leadership. 10. Efficient Use of Ideas 11. Brainstorming is one way that groups come up with the solution to a problem. An effective team is able to gather information from each member and formulate that information into a response. The team becomes adept at dismissing ideas that will not work, and including effective ideas into what would become the team's solution to an issue. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Characteristics of ineffective team 12. Team Focus 13. Teams are often ineffective because they suffer from a lack of purpose. While they may have an overall idea of what is to be done, there is no specific day-to-day goal or set of personal targets. Similarly, when a team does not fully understand how to reach its goals, it may be doomed to fail. Discussing who will handle each aspect of the process and why is key. When group members are unclear about what they are working toward, they may become lax about the amount of work each member should achieve daily. Efficiency and work ethic may suffer, resulting in a further decrease in the effectiveness of the team. The less investment that is required of a group that is adrift, the less engaged its members will become. Members of the team can begin to feel bored or indifferent toward the rest of the team and lose interest in the concept as a whole. 14. Inequal Membership 15. The members of a dysfunctional team may not carry equal status within the group. When certain members speak more or are more open with opinions, or when the expression of feelings or opinions is discouraged, the overlooked team members may develop feelings of animosity toward the rest of the group. When a problem does arise within the group, it is essential that the team and its supervisor discuss the issue fairly and openly and resolve it to the satisfaction of all members. Basing conflict resolution on majority rule creates anger and resentment, which can pop up again later and harm the team dynamic. It is essential that all team members contribute equally and that no one is allowed to ride on the shoulders of the rest of the group. 16. Errors and Negativity 17. Finger-pointing is a characteristic of an ineffective team; members are quick to point out the errors and weaknesses of others rather than learning from setbacks and moving forward. An atmosphere of negativity builds walls between the members of the team, between the team and its supervisor, and between the team and its goals. Self-evaluations are essential in allowing members to correct any errors before they have the chance to develop into something larger and more damaging for the group. 18. Lack of Cohesion 19. Ineffective teams are often made up of individuals who do not mix well, or who do not have the necessary skills to perform the variety of work at hand. Some teams may have too many members with the same skills, while other teams suffer from a lack of proper training. The team leader must bring attention to the specific talents of each member, use them properly and clearly establish why tasks are designated to each member throughout the process. Daily goals and reviews prevent members from taking on other members' tasks out of habit or circumstance. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 20. Common purpose – an effective team has a clearly identifiable common purpose or goal. All parties are aware of, and committed to, the goal or purpose.
  • 8. 21. Supportive climate – an atmosphere of trust and non-defensiveness is necessary if people are able to risk their ideas and feelings, behave openly, and accept feedback. Feelings of anger, conflict or differences are aired and constructively resolved. 22. Communication – usually only a small part of what is said in a group is heard by many members. Effective teams check the understanding of other team members before moving on. 23. Norms and values – effective teams have norms and values. They share, and have an understanding of what is acceptable and what is not within the team. They have common values. 24. Role clarity – members of the team are aware of their own, and others, roles within the team. This is not confined to functional roles, but also behavioural roles. 25. Self-awareness – team members are aware of their own, and others, strengths and weaknesses, and use the teams collective strengths to achieve their own goals. 26. Balanced approach – effective teams pay equal attention to the achievement of the task and needs of the group. This leads to higher levels of output. Effective Team Characteristics Ineffective Team Characteristics 1. Atmosphere1 Informal, engaged, relaxed, open, comfortable, nonthreatening, participative Unduly formal, disengaged, tense, guarded, intimidating, stiff, fragmented, underchallenged 2. Group objectives Tasks or objectives understood and accepted, free discussion leading to group commitment, no hidden agendas, regular reviews, measure of a group’s success is task achievement Group task or objectives are unclear, no evidence that the group either understands or accepts a common commitment, often in conflict with each other and with group’s task 3. Communications Open and honest; flows freely up, down sideways; everyone is given a hearing; individuals build on each other’s ideas; conversation takes place inside and outside formal meetings A few people dominate discussion; selective listening; information is hoarded, withheld, and flows mainly down; mixed messages 4. Handling of conflict Viewed as natural, even helpful; comfortable handling conflict; disagreements are not suppressed, overridden, or smoothed over; focused on issue, not the person Protocols not understood or used; avoided and discouraged; becomes destructive, personal, politicized; resolution regularly leaves some individuals uncommitted 5. Decisionmaking By consensus, real issues openly discussed, full commitment by team, little formal voting, simple majority not accepted as a proper basis for action Forced or majority voting, dictated decisions, emphasis on power, various levels of commitment, dissonance present within group 6. Criticism Criticism is frequent, frank, and constructive; oriented If present, it is embarrassing and tension producing; often appears to involve personal hostility; tends to be
  • 9. toward removing obstacles that are preventing the group from getting the job done; little evidence of personal attack, either openly or in a hidden fashion destructive, seeing only negatives; there is little building on others’ contributions 7. Expressing personal feelings People freely express their feelings and ideas, both on the problem and on the group’s operation; few hidden agendas; feedback readily accepted; high levels of trust, respect, care Personal feelings are hidden; viewed as inappropriate for discussion or would be destructive if brought out on the table; risk avoidance 8. Task achievement Clear, agreed-on plans and roles; high commitment to follow-through; group regularly weighs performance against objectives and takes steps to ensure success; diversified team member types, skill competence, and talents Action decisions and individual roles tend to be unclear; low follow- through, variable commitment; performance is rarely reviewed; poor performance is rationalized; undisciplined; reactive; action- oriented versus results- oriented 9. Leadership While the team has a formal leader, leadership functions shift from time to time based on circumstances, skills, and team needs; control is not an issue but how to get the job done; positive norms established and modeled by the leader Single-leader dominated; leader may coerce, compromise, or abdicate; establishes norms for the group and leads from own value system 10. Review of team processes The group is conscious about its own operations; periodically, it will stop to examine how well it is doing or what may be interfering with team functioning; peer recognition; rewards based on group contributions Discussion on the performance effectiveness or operation is avoided; discussions about problems are kept private and not brought to the group; rewards are based on subjective, often arbitrary, appraisals
  • 10. toward removing obstacles that are preventing the group from getting the job done; little evidence of personal attack, either openly or in a hidden fashion destructive, seeing only negatives; there is little building on others’ contributions 7. Expressing personal feelings People freely express their feelings and ideas, both on the problem and on the group’s operation; few hidden agendas; feedback readily accepted; high levels of trust, respect, care Personal feelings are hidden; viewed as inappropriate for discussion or would be destructive if brought out on the table; risk avoidance 8. Task achievement Clear, agreed-on plans and roles; high commitment to follow-through; group regularly weighs performance against objectives and takes steps to ensure success; diversified team member types, skill competence, and talents Action decisions and individual roles tend to be unclear; low follow- through, variable commitment; performance is rarely reviewed; poor performance is rationalized; undisciplined; reactive; action- oriented versus results- oriented 9. Leadership While the team has a formal leader, leadership functions shift from time to time based on circumstances, skills, and team needs; control is not an issue but how to get the job done; positive norms established and modeled by the leader Single-leader dominated; leader may coerce, compromise, or abdicate; establishes norms for the group and leads from own value system 10. Review of team processes The group is conscious about its own operations; periodically, it will stop to examine how well it is doing or what may be interfering with team functioning; peer recognition; rewards based on group contributions Discussion on the performance effectiveness or operation is avoided; discussions about problems are kept private and not brought to the group; rewards are based on subjective, often arbitrary, appraisals