Shirley J. Caruso, Ed.D.
Characteristics of effective teams include:
- well-defined goals and priorities
- Team goals override individual goals
- Cooperation, not competition
- Deal with conflict effectively
- Listen to varying points of view
- High level of morale
- Practice open and frequent communication
Characteristics of ineffective teams include:
- Cliques or subgroups
- Unequal distribution of resources
- Uneven participation levels
- Dysfunctional process
- Lack of creative problem solving
- Avoid conflict
- Domineering personality
Before you can build a cohesive team, individual team members must understand their own team values. When values are not in alignment, individuals feel uncomfortable and conflicted. The more your values and behavior are in alignment, the less internal conflict you’ll feel.
Honesty, Trust, and Respect
Honesty, trust and respect are foundational values for most teams. Emotional safety, credibility, dependability, and predictability are all characteristics of honesty, trust and respect. Emotional safety means addressing problems as they happen, acknowledging your feelings, and taking others’ interests and concerns to heart and conveying that message to them. Credibility means admitting you don’t know something, or not saying anything rather than stating half-truths. Dependability means commitments are backed by actions, you make good on your promises, and you can put aside self-interest for the good of the team. Predictability means clearly establishing and publicizing a system for responding to other team members.
We all have unique qualities that makes us who we are. Diversity is defined as the state or instance of being different, having variety, or being dissimilar. Celebrating diversity means:
- Valuing each team member for his or her uniqueness
- Appreciating different backgrounds, styles, values, and attitudes
- Fostering an environment in which every team member feels valued
Laying the groundwork for a team foundation means identifying the characteristics of effective and ineffective teams, understanding your own team values, incorporating honesty, trust, and respect, and celebrating diversity.