Skip to content

Team Maturation

These resources are designed to help foster good team dynamics.

Jump to topic

Search

Cohesion

Brief definition/description of team cohesion Expand answer
  • Team cohesion describes the extent to which members bond or strongly connect with each other and with the purpose of the team.
  • Team cohesion emerges over time and has been one of the most investigated team constructs over the past century.

References

  • Salas, E., Grossman, R., Hughes, A.M., and Coultas, C.W. (2015). Measuring team cohesion: Observations from the science. Human Factors: The Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 57(3), 365-374. doi:10.1177/0018720815578267.
Why is team cohesion important? Expand answer
  • Research has shown that team cohesion is strongly associated with team effectiveness and team performance.
  • Team cohesion positively predicts positive member attitudes and members’ willingness to continue working together in the future.

References

  • Beal, D.J., Cohen, R.R., Burke, M.J., and McLendon, C.L. (2003). Cohesion and performance in groups: a meta-analytic clarification of construct relations. Journal of applied psychology, 88(6), 989.
  • Mathieu, J.E., Kukenberger, M.R., D’Innocenzo, L., and Reilly, G. (2015). Modeling reciprocal team cohesion-performance relationships, as impacted by shared leadership and members’ competence. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(3), 713-734.
  • Mathieu, J., Maynard, M.T., Rapp, T., and Gilson, L. (2008). Team effectiveness 1997-2007: A review of recent advancements and a glimpse into the future. Journal of management, 34(3), 410-476.
  • Mathieu, J.E., Gallagher, P.T., Domingo, M.A., and Klock, E.A. (2019). Embracing Complexity: Reviewing the Past Decade of Team Effectiveness Research. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 6(1).
Types of team cohesion Expand answer

Social cohesion

  • A collective sense of belonging based in which team members feel a part of the team.
  • Team members know each other and have social relationships with each other.

Task Cohesion

  • Bonding between group members based on a shared commitment toward achieving the team’s goals and objectives.
  • Team members having working relationships with each other.

References

  • Salas, E., Grossman, R., Hughes, A.M., and Coultas, C.W. (2015). Measuring team cohesion: Observations from the science. Human Factors: The Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 57(3), 365-374. doi:10.1177/0018720815578267.
How to build team cohesion Expand answer
  • Interact on a personal level
    • Activities such as eating meals together, playing sports, having happy hours and doing charitable work together helps members to get to know each other and therefore builds social cohesion.
  • Increase team identity
    • Team members who feel deeply connected to their team are more likely to develop cohesion.
  • Establish clear objectives, ground rules and specific commitments
    • Establishing structures and procedures that are followed by all members helps the team to coalesce around shared norms and practices, building cohesion
  • Build shared (or horizontal) leadership
    • Allowing multiple members to adopt leadership functions traditionally handled by one hierarchical leader forges closer ties among team members and mutual influence, which increase cohesion.
    • Shared leadership has been shown to be a strong predictor of cohesion over time.
  • Establish healthy ways of handling conflict as it occurs
    • Conflict dealt with quickly and in an agreed upon manner facilitates team cohesion.
  • Build trust in teammates by giving everyone a voice.
    • Ensuring that team members feel safe to be vulnerable and to participate openly in discussions supports the emergence of team cohesion.
  • Celebrate team wins
    • Showing appreciation for member and team successes builds camaraderie and reinforces team efforts.

References

  • Mach, M., Dolan, S., and Tzafrir, S. (2010). The differential effect of team members’ trust on team performance: The mediation role of team cohesion. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83(3), 771-794.
  • Mathieu, J.E., Kukenberger, M.R., D’Innocenzo, L., and Reilly, G. (2015). Modeling reciprocal team cohesion-performance relationships, as impacted by shared leadership and members’ competence. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(3), 713-734.
  • Seven strategies for developing cohesive teams

Psychological Safety

Brief definition/description of team psychological safety Expand answer
  • Psychological safety is the shared expectation that team members can safely take interpersonal risks.
  • In a psychologically safe team, team members can ask questions, share ideas, be vulnerable and make mistakes without the fear of being punished or humiliated.
  • Psychological safety is not about being nice, but candid, direct and vulnerable.

References

  • Edmondson, A.C. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(2), 350–383. https://doi.org/10.2307/2392254.
  • Edmondson, A.C. (2018). The fearless organization: Creating psychological safety in the workplace for learning, innovation, and growth. John Wiley & Sons.
Why is psychological safety important? Expand answer
  • Psychologically safe teams learn more, which is related to increased performance.
  • Across many studies, teams with high psychological safety have higher task performance, work engagement, creativity and information-sharing.
  • The relationship between psychological safety and learning as well as performance is strongest for complex, knowledge intensive tasks involving creativity and sensemaking.
  • Team members with higher psychological safety are more committed to and satisfied with their team.

References

  • Edmondson, A.C. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(2), 350–383. https://doi.org/10.2307/2392254.
  • Frazier, M.L., Fainschmidt, S., Klinger, R.L., Pezeshkan, A., and Vracheva (2017). Psychological safety: A meta-analytic review and extension. Personnel Psychology, 70, 113-165.
How to build psychological safety Expand answer

Leaders Should Set the Stage

  • Frame today’s problems as not being able to be solved by one person or perspective, so everyone’s ideas are needed in a knowledge economy where work is collaborative and complex.
    • “We have never solved this problem before, so we are all learning together.”
    • “Your participation is essential to success.”
  • Acknowledge your own fallibility and limits.
    • “I may miss something; I don’t have all the answers; I am not an expert in X.”
  • Allow for team member mistakes.
    • Mistakes should be considered part of growth and learning rather than punished.
  • Be vulnerable
    • A leader or respected team member who is vulnerable and authentic will help cultivate psychological safety among team members.
    • Leading by example will both consciously and subconsciously signal to team members that the environment is psychologically safe.
  • Be aware of power and status dynamics.
    • Power and status influences may limit psychological safety.
    • If necessary, allow team members a set-aside time to talk about their ideas without a leader present.

Invite engagement

  • Proactivity invite input.
    • “We need to hear from you; Your voice may make the difference; We need your brain in the game.”
  • Provide time in meetings for team members to voice their concerns.
    • All concerns should be taken seriously and discussed by the team.
  • Ask plenty of good questions.
    • Invite divergent, “outside of the box” thinking by asking:
      • “What are we missing?”
      • “Who has a different perspective?”
      • “Let’s play devil’s advocate for a moment”
    • Invite a deeper level of thinking by asking:
      • “Unpack that. Tell me more.”
      • “Can you give us an example?”
      • “What would happen if we did X?”
      • “Was everything as good as it could have been?”
  • Create rules of engagement.

Respond appreciatively

  • Recognize that even if you set the stage and invite engagement, psychological safety may be damaged if you don’t respond productively.
  • Show genuine interest in comments.
  • Listen to understand, not to respond.
  • Affirm every member’s comments in some way.
  • Generate accountability.
    • All members should be encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and be affirmed for such behavior.
    • Holding others accountable helps other members to be more responsible while moving the entire team toward growth.
  • Don’t humiliate members for admitting mistakes. Rather, help them get back on track.

Note that these steps need to be implemented on a continuous basis and not just at one point in time.

References

Further resources Expand answer

Conflict Resolution

Brief description/definition of conflict resolution Expand answer

Conflict resolution is the process by which a peaceful ending occurs between two or more individuals experiencing disagreement.

Why is conflict resolution important? Expand answer
  • Unresolved conflict can lead to higher team member anxiety, stress and hostility between team members.
  • Allowed to fester, conflict can impair the team’s performance and lead to team members no longer wanting to work together.

References

  • de Wit, F.R.C., Greer, L.L., & Jehn, K.A. (2012). The paradox of intragroup conflict: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(2), 360–390. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024844
Types of conflict Expand answer

Relationship Conflict

  • Emotional and interpersonal disagreements causing anger, tension and animosity in the group
  • Has been found to decrease team performance

Task Conflict

  • Disagreements over ideas, opinions and task content
  • Has been found to have a curvilinear relationship with team performance (too little or too much lowers performance)

Process Conflict

  • Disagreements over how to get work done and who should do what
  • Has been shown to decrease team performance

Temporal Conflict

  • A form of process conflict describing disagreements concerning when work should be accomplished, how long tasks should take and how work should be paced

References

  • de Wit, F.R.C., Greer, L.L., & Jehn, K.A. (2012). The paradox of intragroup conflict: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(2), 360–390. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024844
  • Jehn, K.A. (1997). A Qualitative Analysis of Conflict Types and Dimensions in Organizational Groups. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42(3), 530.
  • Mohammed, S., Alipour, K., Martinez, P., Livert, D., and Fitzgerald, D. (2017). Conflict in the Kitchen: Temporal diversity and temporal disagreements in chef teams. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 21(1), 1-19.
Things to remember about conflict Expand answer
  • Results are likely to be better with active engagement rather than avoidance.
    • Conflict that stays unresolved can have long-term negative impact on a team.
  • Conflict is inevitable and both positive and negative consequences may occur depending on how conflict is managed.
    • Expect conflict and be proactive, adjusting to the different types of conflict to resolve the situation.
  • People must be motivated to address conflict.
    • Explain the importance of conflict resolution to foster a shared value of addressing conflict.
  • Behavioral, cognitive and emotional skills can be acquired to reduce dysfunctional conflict.
    • Training these skills in your team may result in less damaging conflict and quicker conflict resolution.
  • Emotional skills require self-awareness.
    • Train team members to be sensitive to how they communicate or assign tasks/roles, understanding that teammates might be interpreting these behaviors differently.
  • The environment must be neutral to feel safe.
    • Don’t put team members on the spot to resolve conflict.
    • Be aware that some interpersonal conflict should not be discussed in a team meeting but one-on-one.

References

  • Overton, A.R., and Lowry, A.C. (2013). Conflict management: Difficult conversations with difficult people. Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery, 26(4), 259–264. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0033-1356728.
Conflict resolution procedures Expand answer
  • Set ground rules such as treating each other with respect and dignity.
  • Complete a team charter detailing how the team will handle conflict before it arises.
  • Listen to everyone’s perspective.
  • Focus on the issues, not the person.
  • Have opposing participants paraphrase what others say to ensure everyone understands the reasons for conflict.
  • Summarize the conflict and have everyone agree that all grievances have been expressed.
  • Brainstorm possible resolutions and remove the solutions that are viewed as ineffective by one or more participant.
  • Summarize possible solutions that are agreed upon by all participants and choose the best resolution.
  • Assign next steps, ensuring that everyone has specific actions to take and assignments are accepted.
  • End meeting by thanking each other for working to resolve conflict.

References

Vertical Leadership

Brief definition/description of leadership in teams Expand answer
  • Leadership provides direction and support to enable team members to successfully accomplish team goals.
  • Effective team leaders foster interconnectivity and integration among members so that there is a synergistic combination of member resources and expertise.

References

  • Morgeson, F.P., DeRue, D.S., and Karam, E.P. (2010). Leadership in teams: A functional approach to understanding leadership structures and processes. Journal of Management, 36(1), 5-39.
Why is leadership in teams important? Expand answer
  • Across many studies, task-focused leadership (e.g., directing actions, boundary spanning, providing rewards) has been shown to improve team effectiveness and team productivity.
  • Across many studies, person-focused leadership (e.g., showing consideration for members, empowering members, charisma) has been shown to improve team effectiveness, team productivity, and team learning.
  • Leadership in teams aids in correcting team errors and provides much needed direction in challenging circumstances.

References

  • Burke, C.S., Stagl, K.C., Klein, C., Goodwin, G.F., Salas, E., and Halpin, S.M. (2006). What type of leadership behaviors are functional in teams? A meta-analysis. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(3), 288-307.
  • Baran, B.E., and Scott, C.W. (2010). Organizing ambiguity: A grounded theory of leadership and sensemaking within dangerous contexts. Military Psychology, 22(1), S42-S69.
Sources of team leadership Expand answer

Leadership in a team may be:

  • Internal (leader is a member of the team) or external (outside the team’s daily activities) to the team
  • Formal (responsibilities are explicitly acknowledged) or informal (emergent, stepping up when there is a leadership need without direct responsibility given)
  • One person or multiple people

References

  • Morgeson, F.P., DeRue, D.S., and Karam, E.P. (2010). Leadership in teams: A functional approach to understanding leadership structures and processes. Journal of Management, 36(1), 5-39.
15 high-performance team leadership functions across the team life cycle Expand answer

The following leadership functions satisfy critical team needs and direct behavior toward team goal attainment.

Leadership functions in the transition phase

(Evaluation and planning activities toward the purpose of accomplishing goals)

  • Compose team – select team members with the knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics to aid the team in accomplishing its mission
  • Define mission – ensure the team has a clear vision and understanding of its collective purpose
  • Establish expectations and goals – communicate expectations and maintain clear standards of performance
  • Structure and plan – clarify member roles, task performance strategies and operating procedures for the work to be completed
  • Train and develop team – help team members develop skills, provide task-related instructions and help new members learn how to perform tasks
  • Sensemaking – help the team make sense of ambiguous events and facilitate the team’s understanding of situations
  • Provide feedback – review performance results, offer corrective feedback and reward meeting performance standards

Leadership functions in the action phase

(Activities directly contributing to team goal attainment)

  • Monitor team – keep informed of team member actions, notice errors in task procedures, request information from team members and recognize changes in the team’s external environment
  • Manage team boundaries – represent the team to other parts of the organization, advocate for the team to others and buffer the team from external influences
  • Challenge team – question the status quo, suggest new performance strategies and improve how the team accomplishes work
  • Perform team tasks – assist team members in doing their work and “pitch in” to help out wherever needed
  • Solve problems – engage the team in problem solving, seek out multiple perspectives and generate solutions to team problems
  • Provide resources – obtain resources for the team and ensure that equipment and supplies are available
  • Encourage team self-management – empower the team to decide who should do what and solve problems as they arise
  • Support social climate – demonstrate concern for team members’ well-being and respond to team member needs promptly

References

    Morgeson, F.P., DeRue, D.S., and Karam, E.P. (2010). Leadership in teams: A functional approach to understanding leadership structures and processes. Journal of Management, 36(1), 5-39.
Evidence-based team leadership tips Expand answer
  • Leadership is a key intervention point for improving team effectiveness, but there is no one right way to lead a team.
  • Key team leadership activities involve creating clear, compelling and consequential team goals and creating a team and organizational structure that facilitates teamwork.
  • Leadership that empowers team members (e.g., encourages participative decision making and builds team efficacy) has been shown to be especially effective in promoting team learning, building psychological safety and reducing status and power differences.
  • Leadership interventions should be appropriately timed. For example:
    • Build team motivation at the beginning of a team’s task cycle
    • Consult the team about its work strategy in the middle of a team’s task cycle
    • Help members reflect on and learn from the lessons of collective work at the end of a team’s task cycle

References

  • Hackman, J.R. (2002). Leading Teams: Setting the Stage for Great Performances. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
  • Burke, C.S., Stagl, K.C., Klein, C., Goodwin, G.F., Salas, E., and Halpin, S.M. (2006). What type of leadership behaviors are functional in teams? A meta-analysis. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(3), 288-307.
  • Edmondson, A.C. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(2), 350–383. https://doi.org/10.2307/2392254
  • Hackman, J.R., Wageman, R., and Fisher, C.M. (2009). Leading teams when the time is right: Finding the best moments to act. Organizational Dynamics, 38(3), 192-203.

Shared Leadership

Brief definition/description of shared leadership Expand answer
  • Shared leadership refers to the distribution of influence across multiple team members.
  • Rather than relying on one person as in traditional, vertical leadership models, members may share or rotate leadership responsibilities to allow for:
    • Greater utilization of expertise in the team
    • Mutual accountability for team deliverables
    • Higher team engagement and commitment among members
  • Shared leadership fits well with the changing nature of work that is more dynamic, complex, ambiguous, and has flatter organizational structures.

References

  • Carson, J.B., Tesluk, P.E., and Marrone, J.A. 2007. Shared leadership in teams: An investigation of antecedent conditions and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 50, 1217–1234.
  • Zhu, J., Liao, Z., Yam, K.C., and Johnson, R.E. (2018). Shared leadership: A state-of-the-art review and future research agenda. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 39, 834-852.
Why is shared leadership important? Expand answer
  • Across multiple studies, shared leadership has been shown to improve team performance, over and above more traditional vertical leadership.
  • Shared leadership improves team performance for face-to-face as well as virtual teams.
  • Across multiple studies, shared leadership increases team confidence.
  • Shared leadership has a positive influence on creativity and innovation.
  • Shared leadership also increases cohesion, trust, psychological safety, team learning and goal commitment while decreasing conflict.

References

  • Nicolaides, V.C., LaPort, K.A., Chen, T.R., Tomassetti, A.J., Weis, E.J., Zaccaro, S.J., and Cortina, J.M. (2014). The shared leadership of teams: A meta-analysis of proximal, distal, and moderating relationships. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(5), 923-942.
  • Wang, D., Waldman, D.A., and Zhang, Z. (2013). A meta‐analysis of shared leadership and team effectiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(2): 181‐198.
  • D’Innocenzo, L., Mathieu, J.E., Kukenberger, M.R. (2014). A meta‐analysis of different forms of shared leadership‐team performance relations. Journal of Management, 42(7), 1964-1991.
  • Hoch, J.E., and Kozlowski, S.W. (2014). Leading virtual teams: Hierarchical leadership, structural supports, and shared team leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(3), 390-403. doi:10.1037/a0030264
  • Zhu, J., Liao, Z., Yam, K.C., and Johnson, R.E. (2018). Shared leadership: A state-of-the-art review and future research agenda. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 39, 834-852.
Conditions under which shared leadership has a stronger relationship with team effectiveness Expand answer
  • When team tasks are highly interdependent and require high coordination
  • When teams have shorter rather than longer tenure
  • When the shared leadership consists of new genres (e.g., visionary leadership, charismatic/transformational leadership, empowering leadership) rather than traditional forms (e.g., task-oriented leadership, relationship-oriented leadership)
  • When shared leadership is measured using network approaches rather than overall assessments (aggregation-based measures)

References

  • Nicolaides, V.C., LaPort, K.A., Chen, T.R., Tomassetti, A.J., Weis, E.J., Zaccaro, S.J., and Cortina, J.M. (2014). The shared leadership of teams: A meta-analysis of proximal, distal, and moderating relationships. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(5), 923-942.
  • Wang, D., Waldman, D.A., and Zhang, Z. (2013). A meta‐analysis of shared leadership and team effectiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(2): 181‐198.
  • D’Innocenzo, L., Mathieu, J.E., Kukenberger, M.R. (2014). A meta‐analysis of different forms of shared leadership‐team performance relations. Journal of Management, 42(7), 1964-1991.
Factors that promote shared leadership in teams Expand answer

Formal team leader characteristics

  • Leaders who are charismatic and inspire followers to move beyond the status quo (transformational leadership)
  • Leaders who empower followers (e.g., build member efficacy and encourage participation in decision-making)
  • Leaders who are committed to service and the well-being of followers above focusing on their own personal gains (servant leadership)
  • Leaders who demonstrate humility (open to new ideas and feedback, acknowledge the contributions and strengths of others)
  • Leaders who supportively coach team members

Team characteristics

  • Shared purpose/vision – having a common understanding of the team’s mission and purpose
  • Task cohesion – member bonding around the purpose of the team
  • Social support – team members providing emotional and psychological strength to each other
  • Trust – willingness of team members to be vulnerable with other teammates
  • Voice – team members’ input into how the team accomplishes its work

Shared team member characteristics

  • Warmth across team members
  • Integrity
  • Self-leadership – members self-direct and motivate their own performance
  • Proactive personality

References

  • Zhu, J., Liao, Z., Yam, K.C., and Johnson, R.E. (2018). Shared leadership: A state-of-the-art review and future research agenda. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 39, 834-852.
  • Carson, J.B., Tesluk, P.E., and Marrone, J.A. (2007). Shared leadership in teams: An investigation of antecedent conditions and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 50, 1217–1234.
  • Chiu, C.Y.C., Owens, B.P., and Tesluk, P.E. (2016). Initiating and utilizing shared leadership in teams: The role of leader humility, team proactive personality, and team performance capability. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(12), 1705.

Team-Building

Brief definition/description of team-building Expand answer
  • Team-building involves a set of strategies designed to help team members build camaraderie, develop more effective interpersonal interactions, and form a cohesive team.
  • Going beyond icebreakers, team-building activities have a focused objective and tend to include four main components:
    • Goal-setting – sets long-term vision, creates a mission statement, sets SMART goals
    • Role clarification – sets standards and expectations regarding what each member will contribute in the team
    • Interpersonal relations – helps team members understand each other better and improve communication, trust, and team cohesion
    • Problem-solving – helps team members improve how they manage problems by setting goals, clarifying roles, and improving interpersonal interactions

References

  • Klein, C., DiazGranados, D., Salas, E., Le, H., Burke, C.S., Lyons, R., and Goodwin, G.F. (2009). Does team building work? Small Group Research. Small Group Research, 40(2), 181–222.
Why is team-building important? Expand answer
  • Team-building allows teams to practice core processes such as collective goal-setting and problem-solving.
  • Across many studies, team-building activities involving goal-setting, role clarification, interpersonal relations and problem-solving have been shown to increase trust, cohesion, psychological safety and feelings of team effectiveness (potency).
  • Goal-setting and role clarification demonstrated the strongest influences on outcomes.
  • Team-building also increases team processes such as coordination and communication.
  • When an organization invests in team-building, it communicates support for team members and a commitment to developing teams.

References

  • Shuffler, M.L., Diazgranados, D., Maynard, M.T., and Salas, E. (2018). Developing, sustaining, and maximizing team effectiveness: An integrative, dynamic perspective of team development interventions. Academy of Management Annals, 12(2), 688–724. https://doi.org/10.5465/annals.2016.0045
  • Klein, C., DiazGranados, D., Salas, E., Le, H., Burke, C.S., Lyons, R., and Goodwin, G.F. (2009). Does team building work? Small Group Research. Small Group Research, 40(2), 181–222.
Sample team-building activities Expand answer
  • Team-building activities range from very simple (taking a walk together) to very extravagant (a retreat requiring travel)
  • Task-based activities (e.g., collectively building a team mission statement, identifying how member roles intersect with each other)
  • Social games
  • Retreats
  • Escape rooms
  • Scavenger hunts
  • Group volunteering
  • Hikes/obstacle courses
  • Team fun run
  • Camping/survival challenges
  • Cooking challenges
  • Team sports days
  • Picnics

References

  • Depping, A.E., Mandryk, R.L., Johanson, C., Bowey, J.T., and Thomson, S.C. (2016, October). Trust me: social games are better than social icebreakers at building trust. In Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (pp. 116-129). ACM.
  • Team-building activities
How to use team-building effectively Expand answer

Preparing for team-building

  • Planning is essential
  • Assign a team-building facilitator who will be in charge of planning and managing team-building activities
  • Be clear about the purpose of the team-building
  • Focus on what the team most needs for effective performance, because team-building is most effective for addressing specific team needs
  • Ask team members about team needs
  • Target specific areas for team improvement (e.g., work on a specific deficiency, improve communication skills, build trust, reduce conflict)
  • Creatively select team-building activities that will address the team-building objectives and will be engaging
    • When in doubt, ask if the activity selected:
      • Satisfies one of the core goals identified
      • Will be fun and challenging
  • Consider location, facilities, budget and activities in selecting a venue
  • Consider informing members about the topic of the exercises beforehand to allow members reflect and come better prepared to engage

During the Team-Building

  • Begin with icebreakers to lighten the mood and prepare members for more serious discussion.
  • Ensure that everyone has the opportunity to speak and balance out turn taking among members to foster inclusion.
  • Establish that there are no right and wrong answers to foster a climate of interpersonal or psychological safety.
  • Consider recording videos and pictures from the retreat to highlight the fun moments and make the event more memorable.
  • Before everyone leaves, gather feedback from participants to evaluate team-building effectiveness.

After the team-building

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the team-building activities
    • Did the team-building achieve the stated goals and objectives?
  • Plan for regularly recurring team-building interventions
    • Should not be a one-time fix
    • Team-building is best viewed as an ongoing process and therefore should occur throughout the lifespan of a team

References

Further resources Expand answer

Team Meetings

Brief definition/description of team meetings Expand answer
  • Team meetings are formal or informal blocks of time set aside to discuss and evaluate team progress.
  • The focus can be on problem-solving, decision-making, sharing information, setting new goals, addressing the completion of current goals, managing timelines and/or ensuring that team members are on the same page.
Why are team meetings important? Expand answer
  • Well-conducted team meetings have been shown to increase team productivity.
  • On the positive side, constructive communication in team meetings shape outcomes for both the team and the organization for years into the future. On the negative side, team meetings with dysfunctional communication can have long-term adverse effects on teams.

References

  • Kauffeld, S., and Lehmann-Willenbrock, N. (2012). Meetings matter: Effects of team meetings on team and organizational success. Small Group Research, 43(2), 130–158. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046496411429599
  • Mroz, J.E., Allen, J.A., Verhoeven, D.C., and Shuffler, M.L. (2018). Do we really need another meeting? The science of workplace meetings. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(6), 484–491. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721418776307
  • Rogelberg, S.G. (2019). The surprising science of meetings: How you can lead your team to peak performance. New York: Oxford University Press.
Primary purposes of team meetings Expand answer
  • Share information – disperse goal-relevant and/or critical information to team members
  • Solve problems and make decisions – troubleshoot new or unusual issues and decide what to do
  • Develop and implement team/organizational strategy – set goals and a vision for the team and implement goals/vision
  • Conduct a debrief (after-action review) following milestones or significant events – discuss what went right and wrong and how to improve for the future

References

  • Mroz, J.E., Allen, J.A., Verhoeven, D.C., and Shuffler, M.L. (2018). Do we really need another meeting? The science of workplace meetings. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(6), 484–491. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721418776307.
How to plan and run a successful meeting Expand answer

Before

  • Only meet when needed
    • Team members will value meetings more when their time is not being wasted.
    • Some check-ins can be done virtually or over email.
    • Brainstorming is best done individually, not as a group.
  • Invite only those necessary for the meeting based on the meeting goals and the expertise needed.
  • Engage attendees prior to the meeting by asking for their input.
  • Distribute the agenda prior to the meeting with priorities noted.
  • Set up and review technology aids prior to the start of the meeting to prevent delays.
  • Establish meeting roles (e.g., note-taker)

During

  • Start conversationally and invite people to talk socially for a few moments. This process invites people to talk as colleagues rather than strangers and facilitates psychological safety.
  • Before addressing the specific meeting content, ask people to connect around a question (e.g., What are you aiming to achieve and what about that is important?)
  • Review the agenda verbally at the start of the meeting to make sure the goals and desired outcomes clear.
  • Ensure that established ground rules are being followed
  • Do not allow distracting technology (e.g., members to be on their cell phones)
  • Delegate roles to attendees to increase member engagement.
  • Energize the attendee’s positive behaviors by including humor and laughter in the meeting.
  • Elicit input from everyone, encourage attendees to speak freely and solicit dissenting opinions.
  • Reduce distractions while adhering to the agenda.

Closing the meeting

  • Assign tasks and ensure everyone is in agreement on action items.
  • Conclude with a positive evaluation of the process and the experience.
  • End on time or earlier than scheduled when all items have been addressed.
  • Within 24 hours, send a follow-up email recapping meeting minutes, decisions made and assignments given during the meeting to ensure team members understand their roles, responsibilities and action items.
    • Send to those who attended the meeting and those who were absent.
  • Periodically, evaluate the effectiveness of your meetings by verbally asking or surveying members.

References

  • Mroz, J.E., Allen, J.A., Verhoeven, D.C., and Shuffler, M.L. (2018). Do we really need another meeting? The science of workplace meetings. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(6), 484–491. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721418776307.
  • Rogelberg, S.G. (2019). The surprising science of meetings: How you can lead your team to peak performance. New York: Oxford University Press.
Further resources Expand answer

Team Debriefs

Brief definition/description of team debriefs Expand answer
  • Team debriefs (also known as after-action reviews or reflexivity) are structured learning experiences that encourage team members to reflect on recent action that resulted in success or failure.
  • After discussing past action, debriefs include steps to change future processes.
Why are team debriefs important? Expand answer
  • Debriefs have been shown to increase team performance and the individuals within teams by 20% to 25% compared to teams that did not use them.
    • Therefore, debriefs are a relatively inexpensive and quick but effective way to facilitate team effectiveness.
  • Debriefs foster team learning and members being on the same page about team goals.
  • When used in conjunction with team training, debriefs are an effective way to improve team functioning.

References

  • Tannenbaum, S.I., and Cerasoli, C.P. (2012). Do team and individual debriefs enhance performance? A meta-analysis. Human Factors, 55(1): 231–245.
  • Qudrat-Ullah, H. (2007). Debriefing can reduce misperceptions of feedback: The case of renewable resource management. Simulation & Gaming, 38(3), 382-397.
Four essential elements of a team debrief Expand answer
  • Active self-learning – participants engage in self-discovery and are actively involved (are not merely passive recipients)
  • Developmental intent – the primary intent for improving or learning is nonpunitive rather than judgmental or administrative
  • Specific events – reflect on specific events or performance episodes rather than general performance or competencies
  • Multiple information sources – include input from multiple team members or from a focal participant and at least one external source, such as an observer or objective data

References

  • Tannenbaum, S.I., and Cerasoli, C.P. (2012). Do team and individual debriefs enhance performance? A meta-analysis. Human Factors, 55(1): 231–245.
Team debrief sample questions Expand answer
  • What were we trying to accomplish?
    • Review the objectives you were attempting to meet.
  • What happened in the critical team event?
    • Review the order of events that occurred.
  • Where did we meet and fail to meet our goals?
  • What caused our results?
    • Do a root-cause analysis to get to the fundamental issues holding the team back or facilitating success.
      • Sample areas to consider (as applicable) include:
        • Leadership
        • Communication
        • Coordination
        • Workload distribution
        • Role clarity
  • What should we start, stop, or continue doing? What can we improve for next time?
    • What additional resources can assist us next time?
  • What are important takeaways and lessons learned?

References

Procedures for conducting effective team debriefs Expand answer
  • Debriefs should closely follow a critical team event and have more impact when they do so.
    • Schedule a debrief soon after a training or actual event to maximize the success of a debrief. People tend to forget important details when time passes.
    • 30 to 60 minutes is ideal for most debriefs.

  • More than just an informal conversation, debriefs are more effective when they are structured.
    • Have a plan for the meeting and ask specific questions.
  • Review the importance and value of team debriefs so that members buy into the need for the exercise.
  • Debriefs should be collaborative and give everyone a voice in a psychologically safe space.
  • Make the team debrief a place where it is known that team members can speak freely in a learning rather than judgmental environment.
    • Encourage every member to speak up and voice if anything needs to be included or corrected.
    • Team leaders should model being vulnerable and admitting errors.
    • Rather than point fingers, recognize that everyone had a hand in producing both good and bad results.
  • Debriefs should cover both team failures and successes.
    • Celebrating successes help keep team morale high for future events. If debriefs become all about failure, team members will not want to attend in the future.
  • Pair the debrief with feedback if additional team training is needed.
    • Debriefs are distinct from traditional feedback in that:
      • They are more collaborative and include all team members rather than the team leader.
      • They focus more on processes that led to successes or failures rather than just the outcome.

References

  • Tannenbaum, S.I., and Cerasoli, C.P. (2012). Do team and individual debriefs enhance performance? A meta-analysis. Human Factors, 55(1): 231–245.
  • Allen, J.A., Reiter-Palmon, R., Crowe, J., and Scott, C. (2018). Debriefs: Teams learning from doing in context. American Psychologist, 73(4), 504–516.
  • Voyer, S. & Hatala, R. (2015). Debriefing and feedback. The Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, 10(2), 67–68.
  • Rudolph J.W., Simon R., Rivard P., Dufresne RL, Raemer D.B. (2007). Debriefing with good judgment: Combining rigorous feedback with genuine inquiry. Anesthesiol Clin. (2):361-76.