Teams: Pros and Perils


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"Teaming" and "team building" have become buzzwords so ubiquitous that their value is seldom called into question.

However, team formation and group behaviors are complicated matters that have significant advantages and potential dangers. This presentation offers a broad overview of some basic tenets of group dynamics en route to forming and sustaining powerful, productive teams.

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Teams: Pros and Perils

  1. 1. Teamwork: Pros and Perils<br />C. Daniel Crosby, Ph.D.<br /><br />(256)683-5551<br />
  2. 2. To team or not to team?<br />
  3. 3. People Form Teams<br />What are some teams to which you belong? <br />Group+Group+Group+Group=Identity<br />Tajfel-14 y/o boys; Klee and Kandinsky<br />“Teams” of boys who had never met one another withheld resources from and belittled the “outgroup”<br />What is the “so what” for organizations? <br />
  4. 4. Teams Compete<br />Robbers Cave-two groups of adolescent boys, divided into teams at random (Rattlers/Eagles)<br />Initially pitted against one another<br />6 days in-burning flags, stealing, wouldn’t eat together, swearing<br />Answer: “Superordinate goals”, contact, identify the competition, in self-sufficient units leverage internal competitiveness, design groups with competition in mind<br />
  5. 5. Teams Impact Performance<br />Observation effects have been shown to improve speed/quality on most tasks<br />However…when a task is novel or difficult, observation actually raises anxiety to a level that impedes performance<br />Social Loafing-some team members expend half as much energy when engaged in an 8 person tug of war<br />Answer: Ensure individual accountability, use observation judiciously but keep expectations reasonable for new and difficult assignments<br />
  6. 6. Which most closely matches Exhibit I?<br />
  7. 7. Teams Breed Conformity<br />Asch Experiment-76% of people denied what their eyes were telling them <br />Social norms-Garfinkel had adolescents return to their families and be polite in courteous in 15 min. intervals<br />Children were punished; accused of being selfish and crazy<br />Leaders tend to hire others with whom they share personal and intellectual similarities<br />Brainstorming in groups actually stifles creativity<br />
  8. 8. Combating Conformity<br />Assess your existing team<br />Make future hiring decisions with an eye toward need, not comfort<br />Model openness to disagreement; actively encourage respectful dissent<br />Examine culture for unwanted norms that discourage wanted behaviors<br />Brainstorm individually-turn in ideas prior to meetings<br />
  9. 9. Marxism<br />Ladders Video <br />Interview Process at last position<br />“I wouldn’t join any club that would have me as a member.” –Groucho Marx<br />
  10. 10. Teams Have Initiation Rites<br />What makes the St. Louis Cardinals high status?<br />1959 study-women made to read humiliating passages before joining a group rated the team more positively and were happier at having been accepted<br />Consider Greek hazing rituals and the mental gymnastics of thinking it’s a good idea<br />Appleton example<br />Answer: Reasonable barriers to entry, emphasize the specialness of team membership, weed out laziness and non-compliance<br />
  11. 11. What do you see?<br />
  12. 12. Teams Need (Sort Of) Innovative Leadership<br />All true leaders have one thing in common-followers<br />Most world leaders are slightly taller, slightly heavier, and slightly smarter than the population<br />Bush-Daddy’s boy, got into Yale because of family $<br />Obama-Arugula eating limousine liberal<br />“Idiosyncrasy Credits”- given to leaders over time with initial conformity to group norms; lead with similarities<br />Answer: Emphasize commonalities, establish rapport before upsetting the apple cart<br />