Team Members: Do's & Don'ts


  1. Be considerate. Stimulate others, by asking questions and making suggestions without pressuring them.
  2. Support the ideas of other people vocally. Silence may be understood as tacit approval or may be interpreted as apathy or disdain. When you like someone's idea, say so.
  3. Be aware of others' feelings. If feelings are getting in the way of the issues, address the feelings first and the issues second.
  4. Listen actively. Make sure that you understand the ideas of others. Paraphrase these ideas, as you understand them, in order to make sure you've got the message-and to help spur others on to refinements and new ideas.
  5. Invite criticism of your own ideas and work You can help to establish an open and therefore productive atmosphere by making it clear that you know your ideas are tentative and not necessarily pefect. Give permission to others to help you refine your ideas and writing.
  6. Accept that others are imperfect too. Particularly, be aware that communication breaks down in the best of groups. If someone misunderstands you, don't get exasperated or angry, and don't try to assign the blame for the breakdown in conununication. Simply restate your idea: "I guess I didn't make myself clear. What I meant to say was . . . ."
  7. Feel free to disagree with the ideas of others and to critique the work of others but lay off the people. Don't identify peoples' names with ideas that you are criticizing.
  8. Remember that any non-obvious ideas initially appear strange, but that most of the best ideas are not immediately obvious.


  1. Don't continually play the expert. Play a variety of roles.
  2. Don't pressure people unnecessarily.
  3. Don't punish people for their ideas.
  4. Don't continue an argument after it becomes personal-either for you or for your fellow group member.
  5. Don't give in too easily when your ideas are criticized. The excellence of the group is a product of constructive conflict. Don't fall prey to "groupthink" sacrificing high level thinking for the sake of group cohesiveness.