Empowerment Leadership Model for Small Groups, Teams, & Families
Course 5, Lesson 24
Developing Teams That Can Distinguish Team
and Team Member Actions
That Will Enhance Success from Those That
Will Be Detrimental to the Team’s Purpose
Copyright 2001 Dick Wulf
Teams must take responsibility for monitoring the team’s behavior as well as the actions of each and every team member. On most teams, team members depend on the team leader to make sure team and individual actions are functional and not dysfunctional. When teams leave this task to the team leader, team functioning and productivity is seriously inhibited.
Therefore, the team leader must give the responsibility for deciding and analyzing the team’s actions to the team. Teams must also be given the responsibility for analyzing the actions of team members. It is all too natural for the team and its members to look to the team leader for these tasks. Therefore, the professional team leader makes sure, right from the start, that the team knows it must distinguish team and individual actions that will enhance success from those that will be detrimental to the team’s purpose. And, then the team leader must stubbornly keep from doing that task, while actively helping the team as a whole analyze actions. (Technically speaking, it is even the team’s job to make certain the team leader’s actions are functional rather than dysfunctional.)
Success always starts by the leader helping the team define and adopt an important purpose. If the team and its members do not consider the purpose critical, they will not care about the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of team and member actions. But, if the purpose is seriously desirable, there will be energized motivation to see that actions move the team toward the desired purpose and its important goals.
Once the purpose is decided, the team leader must ask the team to discuss what individual and team behaviors will be necessary to move the team toward accomplishment of the goals that lead to accomplishment of the purpose. This discussion of desirable and undesirable behaviors should not be hurried. This early identification of needed actions and behaviors to avoid problems will save much time and effort in the future. It will also prevent work done being sabotaged by inappropriate actions.
For example, necessary team actions related to the human relations side of team success include confidentiality, mutual support and respect of differences. Conversely, dysfunctional actions include gossip, unconcern for others on the team, and judgmental statements. These three action-clusters are but the tip of the iceberg. When asked to do so, team members will identify scores of needed functional behaviors and inappropriate actions. In doing so, the team sets the stage for very efficient productivity.
So, the professional team leader must delegate to the team its own task of being responsible for its own behavior and analyzing that behavior’s usefulness in light of the team purpose.
Next: Developing Teams That Can Come up with Creative Solutions
to Complex Personnel Problems
Copyright 2012 Dick Wulf, Colorado, USA