Team Dynamics

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Abstract

Communication and trust are essential for teams to function properly and achieve their end goals. A frame for communication lines must be laid out in advance as well as a combined contract that defines what the team expects to accomplish as a whole as well as individually. Trust must be built up over time. Each team member must respect each other and follow through with assigned tasks to strengthen trust within the group. If communication and trust break down within a team, the team will not progress and will cease to function.

The Effects of Communication and Trust on Team Dynamics

The American Heritage Dictionary defines dynamics as: Of or relating to energy or to objects in motion, of or relating to the study of dynamics, characterized by continuous change, activity, or progress, Marked by intensity and vigor; forceful. When applying dynamics to a team, the team must constantly be in motion, experiencing continuous change and progress. Intensity and vigor apply to the attitude of the team players. Positive attitudes among team players ultimately result in positive outcomes in team performance. But, how does a team maintain an overall positive attitude and work together like a well oiled machine? They accomplish this through effective communication and build trust among team members.

Communication

Communication is a must. Without it, a team will not function. Teams are brought together for various reasons, and must work under different circumstances each time. The Swift Trust Partnership Experiment recommends that a team first develop a contract in which they will abide by. “The Swift Trust Exercise provides students with the opportunity to frame an organizational contract based on perception of the future business partner” (Alder, T. 2005, 717).

There are two types of contracts: Hard contracts and soft contracts. Hard contracts are derived because team members feel the need to stipulate details. This usually occurs when not much knowledge exists about the members involved, and skepticism exists about the outcome of the project. It is normal to have a certain amount of distrust at the beginning of any project.

Trust is something that must be cultivated over time. It is not something that is inherent in the beginning. It is essential that a team builds a framework in which communication will take place. Team members need to be trained how to use this framework and everyone must be held accountable (Waldman, R.

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