Work Team Dynamics

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Team Dynamics Teams differ from other type of groups in that members are focused on a common goal, such as a presentation, completing in-class exercises, taking notes, discussing a topic, writing a report, or creating a new design or prototype. The most common definition of team is: "A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable." (Katzenbach and Smith, 1993) Effective team members need the following three basic skills: Communication and Negotiation - Team members need the ability to state ideas or questions clearly, listen to others attentively, and to resolve disagreements in a non-confrontational manner. Team members also need to be in constant contact with each other about where they are at in the development of their project. This is a skill that many people may lack. Analytic and Creative Skills - Team members need to evaluate information and propose creative solutions. Many people have these skills, but may not be able to effectively communicate their views or concerns. Organization - The team needs to be able to track and complete all its tasks on time. Tensions can often arise if deadlines are missed. There are some tips that can help team members communicate more effectively. Listen actively, ask questions, give constructive feedback, don't express an opinion as a fact, explain your reasons, restate the original idea to be sure it's understood, compliment another's idea, respond, don't react, don't interrupt, critique the idea and not the person. Teams mature as their members learn to work together on the assigned task. During the process of maturing, teams tend to go through predictable stages of growth. The four stages of the development cycle are: forming, storming, norming and performing. Stage 1: Forming - The individuals who have agreed to be team members initiate their activities as an immature group getting acquainted. A sense of belonging and the main emphasis for members is to determine if they have membership. They have already decided that they will contribute to the group once others recognize their membership. Sometimes, too much agreement occurs during the forming stage, and in almost all cases, minimal actual work is accomplished. The appropriate leadership style during this stage is directing. The leader provides high levels of directive behaviors that focus on close supervision and instructing the team members of what, where, how and when to do things.

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