Team Building: "Rocket to the Top, Together!"
By Nada AbiSamra
(under construction)

Steps to follow:

• Establish a team mission and group goals
• Improve team communication
• Assess team effectiveness
• Encourage continuous team development
• Create balanced team roles
• Become a more effective team leader

Activities to enhance:
   • Team effectiveness
   • Conflict resolution
   • Problem solving
   • Decision making
   • Group skills
   • Balanced team roles
   • Clear objectives and goals
   • Support and trust
   • Cooperation and conflict
   • Regular review
   • Appropriate leadership

* Definition of Teams: Working in Teams

All teams are groups of individuals but not all groups of individuals necessarily demonstrate the cohesiveness of a team. Teams out perform individuals because teams generate a special energy. This energy develops as team members work together fusing their personal energies and talents to deliver tangible performance results. The quality of decisions resulting from effective teamwork are predicated on practices of cooperation, active listening, constructive (non-judgmental) feedback, sharing of ideas, resources and workload, etc., and valuing the interests and achievements of other team members.

Everyone can exhibit constructive and/or unproductive behaviors without even being aware of it. It is important to be aware of your own behaviors as well as those of others. It also doesn't hurt to have a sense of humor when working in a team. In fact, it might be the single most advantageous characteristic to possess (next to patience, maybe) whenever you have a vested interest in the outcome of a group's performance. The following are examples of characteristics which promote or sabotage effective teamwork:


Identify roles for team members. A team stands a better chance of being productive if individuals within the team assume specific roles. Different guides suggest different ways of organizing teams, but the tasks covered are similar. At a minimum, a team needs a facilitator, a note-taker, and a time-keeper at each meeting. The facilitator conducts meetings, follows the agenda, and summarizes discussions. The leader is also responsible for establishing a site for the meeting, convening the session, and establishing a time and place for the next session. These roles don't necessarily need to be assigned. they my evolve in individual groups.

In addition to the facilitator, a team needs a note-taker who keeps a record of what has been decided, is responsible for carrying out the tasks assigned during the meeting, and notes when the next meeting is scheduled and where it will be held. The note-taker should provide minutes from the meeting or an outline of what has been discussed upon the meeting's completion or at the start of the next meeting.

In order to keep a meeting running in an organized fashion, a group needs a time-keeper, someone who will make sure that the appropriate amount of time will be allocated for each time on the agenda and that team members progress expeditiously in keeping with the time allotted for each topic to be considered.

Finally, it may prove useful for a team to appoint a member who is responsible as a liason, i.e., reporting to other teams. This member summarizes the progress of her/his team so that the other teams are kept informed about the work done by her/his team.

It is possible, of course, to rotate positions within teams. It is also perfectly possible to give alternative names to the positions here described. Your team should decide at the outset how it wishes to allocate positions of specific responsibility and evaluate how effective these decisions are in light of the team's organizational strengths and weaknesses. The effectiveness of a well-organized team will be reflected by its fulfillment of meeting goals and its overall progress.

Develop guidelines for group meetings. The brevity of the quarter and the difficulty of coordinating schedules limit the number of times possible for groups to meet to discuss their plans and progress. Maximizing the effectiveness of these meetings is therefore of critical importance. While each group will develop its own meeting style, depending on the people involved and the tasks at hand, a number of guidelines are provided to help groups get the most out of their meetings from the beginning.

  1. Develop a timeline for what needs to be done by the group over the group's lifetime.
  2. One person should have responsibility to distribute (e-mail) reminder of meeting time/place.
  3. Have an agenda with topics and approximate times to be devoted to each. Should include:

  1. Assign meeting roles: time-keeper, facilitator, note-taker.
  2. Attendance is mandatory.
  3. Start meetings promptly (e.g. 5 minutes after agreed time)
  4. Develop a protocol for participation to ensure that everyone get to state his/her view. Facilitator should check with each individual to see if s/he has anything to add.
  5. Develop a protocol for decision-making.
  6. Set topics and time for next meeting before adjourning.
  7. Maintain a file of agendas and notes.
  8. Distribute notes from meeting to all team members after the meeting.
  9. Decide how conflicts are going to be resolved. If at least one team member feels mediation is needed, the instructor should be contacted.
  10. Use checklist (e.g., Learning in Teams: A Student Guide, p. 10) to review meeting after each meeting. Refer to these in preparing weekly journals:

Each person has the right to point out when these guidelines are not being followed.

Discuss effective feedback techniques with team members. Another important component of successful teamwork is providing constructive feedback. The following points are presented to help ensure productive communication among team members:

  1. Focus feedback on behavior rather than the person.

  2. It is more important to refer to what a person does than to comment on what we imagine he/she is. This focus on behavior implies that we refer to actions of persons rather than qualities of persons, adverbially rather than adjectivally (thus, "she acted happily" rather than "she was happy"). We might say that a person "talked considerably in the meeting" rather than saying, "That guy is a loudmouth."
  3. Focus feedback on observations rather than on inferences.

  4. Observations refer to what we can see or hear in the behavior of another person while inferences are interpretations or conclusions about our meanings of what we see or hear. Our interpretations may or may not occur to any others in the team and at any rate are largely separable form the facts on which we must agree.
  5. Focus feedback on description rather than judgment.

  6. Make an effort to describe what occurred, not your judgment of it; talk about what happened, not whether it was good or bad. Judgments involve our values, whereas descriptions are more neutral.
  7. Focus feedback in terms of inclusion (more or less) rather than in terms of exclusion (either/or).

  8. Talking about "more or less" places behaviors on a continuum, where differences may overlap and consequently be value neutral, rather than placing behaviors in sharply divided categories where the differences are assumed to be qualitative, matters of better or worse. For example, you might observe that "Joe participates less than Carla" rather than judging either as in "Joe doesn't talk enough" or "Carla talks too much".
  9. Focus feedback on the present, the "here and now," rather than on the past.

  10. Feedback is more useful if given soon after an event rather than if delayed. Later your memory may fade or distort what happened.
  11. Focus feedback on sharing information rather than giving advice.

  12. By sharing ideas and information, we leave the other person free to decide how to use that information. If we give advice, we force the issue, whether to accept or reject what we obviously would rather the other person accept. For example, if you tell someone, "You didn't say much in the team today," you are sharing information that the person may use as s/he chooses. If you say, "You need to talk more in the team," you are giving advice and forcing the person to either accept or reject your suggestion.
  13. Focus feedback on the exploration of alternatives rather than on answers or solutions.

  14. What may appear as a solution to us may not appear as a solution to another person. Also, when we discussion alternatives we sometimes bring to light attractive possibilities we did not consider initially. May of us go around with ready solutions for what other people don't consider to be problems.
Reach consensus on team decisions. Decision making involves selecting a course of action to address problems and opportunities the team faces in carrying out its work. For effective teamwork, it's important that all team members have a stake in the decision and the actions needed. A decision reached by "consensus" is a decision all team members support.

Consensus is NOT a unanimous agreement or reached by a majority vote. The final decision may not be (and probably will not be ) your initial choice and it is likely that you will have to concede something for the good of the group. Consensus means that everyone in the group can live with the decision.

Reaching Consensus--


Disagreements are expected during team discussions when opinions of team members differ, and members are taking ownership and sharing their ideas honestly. The escalation of disagreements into conflicts is of concern, however, because collaboration among team members may be undermined. Conflicts may result from a mismatch of expectation among team members, unintentional miscommunication and misunderstandings among team members. Conflicts are usually a symptom that communication is not as open and complete as it should be.

The team is getting stuck in emotional disagreements and its attempts at reaching consensus are failing, the whole team should come in to see the instructor. Issues should be resolved early before they escalate and get out of control.


Effective teamwork demands that every member of the team feels valued and participates fully. Toward that end each team will assess itself regularly so that potential problems are identified early and resolved speedily. Each team member will evaluate him/herself and the performance of other team members. This evaluation will be presented to the instructor regularly (weekly or biweekly). The "results" of the evaluation must be processed through discussion in an open climate to provide the opportunity for improved group dynamics and accomplishment.

The art and science of team building.

Teams have become the latest management obsession. They're the corporate equivalent of a Visa card: they're everywhere you want to be.

Trouble is that despite their ubiquity, teams rarely achieve breakthrough results. Instead, they sink to the level of the weakest performer and keep digging. The fault lies not with the team or its members, but with those who took a group of individuals, charged them with improbable goals, staffed them with uninspired leadership and expected them to function as a team. Such companies succeed only in putting the 'fun' back into dysfunctional.

Contrast that to a well-oiled and disciplined team, one in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Such groups allow members to achieve results far beyond their individual abilities. The irony is that when the needs of the group take priority, the needs of the individual actually are enhanced.

High performance teams do not result from spontaneous combustion. They are grown, nurtured and exercised. It takes a lot of hard work and skill to blend the different personalities, abilities, and agendas into a cohesive unit willing to work for a common goal. Behind every great team is strong and visionary leader. A leader whose job is not to control, but to teach, encourage, and organize when necessary. You are that leader. Following are some tips to get the most out of your team:

Follow these guidelines and you're well on your way to creating a high performance team. Develop the basic skills and a game plan, and stick to it. Work as a team and you can beat some of the best individuals out there -- if the best don't work as a team.

Team Building: Cultivation Peak Performance-
The art and science of team building.


    *The perfect group member: 'The ideal discussant supports the group's decisions. He
                   speaks of 'we' rather than 'I' and "they." He accepts a full share of the blame for any group
                   failure, and no more than his share of credit for group success. He carries out any task that
                   he accepted as a representative of the group, never accepting any responsibility that he
                   cannot or will not discharge" (John Brithart).

    *Avoid win/lose situations.

    *"We are all angels with only one wing; we can only fly while embracing one another."
    Luciano de Crescanzo
    These groups cannot be managed, only led in flight.

    *"None of us is as smart as all of us." Warren Bennis

    *In teachers we trust

    *"Since I arrived, six different hotel staff have greeted me or
     asked if they could help. But did you see that waitress a moment
     ago? She was the first one who meant it."
    Ron Kaufman

    *In 1993 Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith released their ground-breaking book, The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization.

    Their definition of a team - 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 hold themselves mutually accountable. (pg. 45).

*Best Team Experience

Everyone has had a "best team" experience. The collective characteristics of such experiences can help us get a better grasp of this thing we call "team".

In our work we often use a Best Team exercise to kick off a teambuilding event. In that exercise we ask participants to think about the best team experience they have ever had and to record the key characteristics of that group of people. The responses are almost always the same:

Sense of accomplishment
Common goal
Good, open communication
Mutual respect
Humor, fun
Desire to excel
Role clarity
High achievement

What we have learned from this exercise is that it’s the focus on relationships, in combination with mutual high performance expectations, that turns any group of people (e.g. workgroup) into a team.

By the way, we also asked these people how often they have had a “best team” experience in their lives. The answer? - once or twice.

* Icebreakers:

Human Bingo
Find someone who participates in these activities regularly as a means of relaxation. Ask them to sign their name in the
appropriate boxes. Try to find a different person for each activity. Fill in the center with your favorite relaxation activity.
Students use a bingo sheet to go around the room and ask questions, first one with blackout wins.

     Students introduce themselves to a partner, partners introduce each other to the whole group or a larger group of six.
     Key questions to have students answer; who are they and why are they here? Add interest to this activity by giving each
     pair a few unusual questions to answer about themselves or the topic. See Boundary Breaking Questions.

Two Lies and a Truth
     In large or small groups students share two lies and a truth about themselves group members must decide which is the

Uncommon Commonalties
     This activity requires students to be broken up into groups of four of five. Students list aspects that team members have
     in common. The goal is to come up with as may things in common as they can. If two students share a passion for skate
     boarding then the word skater can be entered in the second column. Based on the points they have in common students
     select a name for their team. Teams may then want to decorate folders with their team name and representative symbols.

-More icebreakers available from the University of Hawaii: Faculty Resource Page "First Day Section"
-Icebreakers from Ideas with links to handout pages.
-Icebreakers from the National Institute for Science Education

*Team Building Activities:

They Will Never Take Us Alive
Rank items from most important to least important.

Additional Team Building Exercises

*Team Work: 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.

*Group Phases

Most groups go through four phases: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing

               Forming: During the initial stage of the group, structure is developed, roles are assigned or
               claimed (both implicitly and explicitly), status relations between members of the group are
               established, norms begin to emerge, shared values are discovered, and general procedures
               for decision-making and problem-solving are agreed upon.

               Storming: Conflicts in values, perspectives, goals, power, and information are discovered
               and foregrounded, and progress toward resolution is begun. This is often a creative stage
               and shouldn't be avoided.

               Norming: As conflicts are discovered and resolved, the group's approach to communication
               and problem-solving, for better or worse, is more firmly established.

               Performing: Having established roles, personalities, and norms, the group's time, attention,
               and energy is increasingly directed at the group task and decreasingly concerned with group
               maintenance, procedural questions, or personalities.

               These phases are not to be moved through as rapidly as possible. Problems in performing
               may often be traced back to insufficient storming and norming, for instance. Group
              discussion, while storming out some controversies, may return to issues involved in forming,
               redistributing responsibilities, rediscovering common values, and modifying procedures.
               Similarly, a group having difficulty in performing may either implicitly or explicitly, need to
               redefine some norms. During the first meeting, in particular, you need to lay a lot of
               groundwork and get a firm foundation. Your group's success depends upon it.

*First Meeting

               Be prepared for a long first meeting. If possible, schedule it to last two to three hours. A
               common and predictable pattern for groups is to spend seven weeks in confused milling
               around, followed by two weeks of frantic work, finally producing a finished but ill-conceived
               project in the tenth week. A thorough organizational meeting at the outset can work wonders
               in preventing this pattern.

               The first task of the group is to get itself together. Even before you begin to tackle the
               assignment, you need to make some decisions about group organization. These first few
               decisions are crucial, since they will be difficult to undo. Moreover, the way that you reach
               these decisions is also important while the group may explicitly decide upon certain rules of
               procedure which will be followed throughout the life of the group, the group will also
               develop tacit, implicit norms as it proceeds. Thus, if the group appears initially lackadaisical
               and indifferent, if some members of the group remain silent or unengaged, if some members
               of the group begin to dominate the others, these are the first problems that you have to
               solve. And we mean you. Take the initiative. Don't expect these problems to solve
               themselves. Time heals nothing. It's incumbent that you take responsibility to change this
               behavior or attitude at the very beginning. Silence, far from being meaningless, is a sign of
               approval. If you remain quiet, you will have given tacit assent to this behavior and a highly
               undesirable, unproductive, and potentially destructive norm begins to take root in the group.

               Use the following agenda in order to make your first meeting effective and productive.

            1. Get acquainted: Inventory your resources (Forming)

               2. Discuss group structure / leadership. (Forming)

               3. Explore your understanding of the task/proiect (probably the most frequently omitted
               step). Don't jump into discussion of solutions until you've surveyed all members about the
               problem. (Forming and storming)

               4. Discuss possible approaches/solutions/ methods. Brainstorm. Capitalize on any resources
               you identified earlier in the meeting. (Storming and Norming)

               5. Assign tasks. Create the agenda for next meeting. (Performing,)

               First, sit down in a circle and get acquainted. Give everybody a minute of airtime. Each
               person should tell the group his or her name, interests related to the project, background
               related to the project, other courses taken appropriate to the project and so on. Nobody
               should be interrupted. Take a thorough inventory of the group's resources

               Second, establish a structure by appointing a coordinator and recorder.

               Then, under the gentle direction of the coordinator, and with the recorder faithfully taking
               notes, work on defining the problem that the group faces. Again, go around the circle and let
               everybody have a chance to define the task that faces the group. Remember that the focus
               here is the identification and definition of the problem, not the solution. First, let everybody
               have a say on the problem definition, and then begin discussion that will lead to a consensus
               on the definition. Don't let discussion start until after everybody has had a chance for
               uninterrupted definition.

               Next, brainstorm for solutions to the problem. First brainstorn freely, and then go around the
               circle, giving everyone a chance to make suggestions. Then discuss the solutions to the
               problem in order to reach a consensus.

               Finally, break the solution down into its parts. What will have to be done in order to
               accomplish the goal of the group? Assign tasks and deadlines. Create an agenda for the next
               meeting. Establish a time and date for the next meeting.

               Each of these agenda items are discussed in considerably more detail below.

  1. Forming: Getting Acquainted

  3. Forming: Structure, Group Maintenance Roles and Task Roles

  5. Storming

  7. Planning for Implementation

  9. Norming


*Be a Good Listener

Avoid the bad habits of listening, most of which are the result of putting your own concerns before those of the group:

               1) Pseudo listening: Your body language keeps saying that you're listening, but your mind is
               really in Tahiti.

               2) Silent arguing: As another group member speaks, you begin to prepare your list of
               objections Try to play the "believing game" more actively. (See page 12.)

               3) Premature replying: You interrupt the speaker before he is finished.

               4) Misplaced focus: Rather than trying to understand the fundamental idea of the speaker,
               you start nitpicking on minor details to which you object.

               5) Defensive listening: You hear the speaker arguing with you even when the speaker is
               elaborating on your idea, asking you to elaborate on it, or fundamentally agreeing with you.
               You relate all the speaker's ideas only to your own, instead of considering them in their own

               6) Forcing meaning: You read more into the speakers words than could reasonably be

*Group Roles

Meetings only need to have three defined roles, facilitator, recorder and group members to be effective. These can be rotated at each time the group meets or stay the same.

The following are descriptions of Facilitator, Recorder and Group Member roles:

Roles of a Facilitator:

Recorder: Group Members:

*Principles of a Successful Meeting

1. Shared Responsibility - everyone in the meeting should play an active role in making the meeting a success.

2. Collaborative Attitude - It is the mind-set that guides individuals to act in a cooperative manner. It is the realization that it is important to take time to get everyone on board - going slow to go fast.

3. Strategic Thinking - The process of selecting an appropriate course of action, during a meeting. By asking the following questions and building on small agreements groups navigate their way to a successful outcome.

Groups ask themselves:

4. Facilitation Methods - the group is familiar with behaviors and actions that help build understanding and agreement.
Tips for facilitators:

*Group Evaluation Form


Rate your group on each characteristic. Use a five point scale, with five indicating the strongest agreement with the statement.
1-Strongly Disagree 2-Disagree 3-Weakly Agree 4-Agree 5-Strongly Agree
 First Week Mid-Quarter    Group Growth - Evaluation Form
     1. I am treated fairly, as a member of this group.
     2. I feel close to members of this group.
     3. This group displays cooperation and teamwork.
     4. I have trust and confidence in members of this group.
     5. Members of this group demonstrate supportive behavior.
     6. I derive satisfaction from membership in this group. 
     7. I get a sense of accomplishment form my membership in this group.
     8. I am honest in responding to this evaluation.
       Data Flow
     9. I am willing to share information with other members of the group.
     10.   I feel free to disagree with members of the group.
       Goal Information
    11. I am oriented more toward group goals than personal goals.
    12. This group uses integrative, constructive methods in problem solving, rather than a competitive approach. 
    13.  I am able to deal promptly with important problems of the group.
    14.  The activities of the group reflects the integration of everyone's needs.
    15. My needs and desires are reflected in the activities of the group.
    16. This group has a sense of responsibility for getting the job done.
    17.  I don't feel manipulated by the group.
    18.  The group shares responsibilities equally and fairly.

*Process Observation:

Hand out index cards to everyone in the group, ask members to use a Likert scale to rate how they feel about the idea on
the table.

10 - they think it is the best idea ever -
1 - it is the worst idea they hate it.
Collect the cards confidentially, average them and let the group know their average. This can be done several times during the process of consensus. A similar scale can be used to rate members feelings about the group. These types of observations are best made by the instructor or someone outside the group.
*Group Activity Come to a consensus on the top three problems that are usually encountered at school.
 Time limit  20 minutes
 General Meeting Guidelines  Guidelines for this Activity
Opening Tools:  
  • As many ideas as possible are generated. 
  • Gather information and ideas. 
  • Put ideas on newsprint 
  • Set a time limit, add time if necessary 
  • Do not discuss ideas 
  • Think positively and creatively 
Have groups brainstorm as many problems as they can. Set a time limit of 10 minutes.

Make sure groups have appointed a Facilitator and a Recorder. 

  • ensure all members understand the ideas recorded 
  • clarify ideas as needed 
The Facilitator should read through the list of ideas, if some ideas are not clear ask the person who shared the idea to restate it for the group.
Narrowing Tools:  
  • With group approval, combine similar ideas to eliminate duplication. 
The Facilitator should ask the group to suggest ways ideas might be combined. The recorder should record the combined ideas on newsprint.
  • Divide the total number of ideas on the list by three and give each group member the resulting number of votes. Take a hand vote and keep a tally on the list of ideas. 
The Facilitator may or may not vote during this stage. The Recorder should clearly mark the top ideas by circling them or highlighting the ideas.


Closing Tools:  
 Natural Cut:
  • Ask the group to find the cut-off between the ideas receiving many votes and the ideas receiving few votes. Focus on the ideas receiving many votes. 
After each stage of the process facilitators can take anegative poll to help maintain consensus. A negative poll is a question asked each member to find out who doesn't agree or who can't move on to the next stage in reaching an agreement. A negative poll invites those who disagree to voice their opinion.

Example: Is there anyone who couldn't support one of the top ideas.

Positive poll: Does everyone agree? 

 Build Up /Eliminate:
  • Alter the top ideas to satisfy all members of the group. Try to combine elements of top ideas. 
  • Eliminate ideas. 
The Facilitator should restate the top ideas and make sure everyone is in agreement. The Recorder should clearly mark the top ideas.
 Discuss and Agree
  • Make sure everyone in the group agrees with the outcome. 
  • Decide where you want to go from here. 
The Facilitator should ask each individual to verbalize their agreement or disagreement. Discuss the top ideas until everyone can support the ideas.

The Facilitator should state what will be done next, who will be responsible for the action and set-up the next meeting. 


*Individual Feedback

*Provide Closure

The Experiential Learning Cycle

The process by which we reflect on an experience and come to conclusions based on that experience is called closure or debriefing. This is when much of the learning takes place.

This process involves asking questions which allow members of the group to think through an experience from beginning to end. It is another way of helping students make observations about group processes and helping them apply what they have learned to new situations.

Stage 1. The Experience; the meeting, seminar, group activity

Stage 2. Describe

In this stage participants share their personal insights and reactions of the experience.

Sample questions:

What happened when...?
What are your impressions of this experience?
What did you do?
Stage 3. Interpret

After the participants share their ideas and reactions. It is important to help individuals see and evaluate trends and dynamics that they may be emerging in the group.

What went on in the group?
What caused that particular event?
What kinds of patterns are we seeing here?
Stage 4. Generalize

In this stage the group determines whether what went on during the experience was unique or if it happens often in many different situations. Participants are asked to focus on other situations in their lives that are similar to the activity. The task is to identify similarities and state principles that can apply to other situations. Generalizing helps participants transfer their personal learning from the experience to the rest of the world.

What did you learn from this experience?
What similar situations have you experienced?
Stage 5. Apply

Participants decide on a course of action for the future.

What do you want to remember from this experience for the future?
What would you do differently in a similar situation?

*Managing Team Conflict

Some tips to keep in mind when confronted with team conflict:

Allow every member to state his or her opinion. Excluding a member's ideas, even if they are unpopular, will lead to resentment and will sacrifice group cohesion.

Don't come to consensus too quickly. Especially when teams are in the "forming" stage, members are so afraid of conflict that they come to consensus on a particular point that is inappropriate or incorrect. This "dumbing down" process hurts the quality of the team's performance and causes members to believe they could do better on their own.

Don't attack a member personally. Members should learn to separate incorrect or implausible ideas or conclusions from the person who states them. Criticisms should focus on task-oriented issues and not on personal attributes. This keeps arguments on a professional level, instead of degenerating into immature name calling, etc.

Summarize the conflict. What starts as a small difference of opinion can soon appear to be a large conflict. Sometimes it is useful to summarize and list what both sides agree about and disagree about. By acknowledging the common ground, factions are better able to compromise.

Switch sides. Blinded by their own ideas, sometimes people fail to see obvious virtues of another person's ideas. As a way to force members to really consider the other side of a conflict, students can try to argue the opposing viewpoint. Though it may be difficult at first, it can bring to light a solution that had not earlier been considered.

Tell a joke. When the team atmosphere is tense due to extended conflict, it helps for someone to "lighten up" by adding some humor to the situation. Such brief "tension breakers" can put the conflict into perspective.

Take a break. Sometimes, despite every constructive effort, members cannot resolve a conflict. In this case, the best thing to do is take a break (with the intention of coming back to the issue): move on to another agenda item or get away from one another for a time.

Involve an unbiased third party. A class intern can provide an unbiased opinion in a dispute or help mediate a problem. The team should involve the course instructor only as a last result because it could end up causing more harm than good.

*Team Roles:

MTR-i screensaver preview

*Strategic Challenges

  • Building Self-Confidence
  • Encouraging Personal Risk-Taking
  • Accepting Responsibility
  • Setting and Achieving Goals
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Improving Communication
  • Establishing Trust and Cooperation
  • Developing Dynamic Leadership
  • Resolving Conflict
  • Dealing Effectively with Change



    *Self-fulfilling prophecy: Key Principles

    The concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy can be summarized in these key principles:

    This creates a circle of self-fulfilling prophecies

    Does it work?

    A convincing body of behavioral research says it does.

    In 1971 Robert Rosenthal, a professor of social psychology at Harvard, described an experiment in which he told a group of students that he had developed a strain of super-intelligent rats that could run mazes quickly. He then passed out perfectly normal rats at random, telling half of the students that they had the new "maze-bright" rats and the other half that they got "maze-dull" rats.

    The rats believed to be bright improved daily in running the maze they ran faster and more accurately. The "dull" rats refused to budge from the starting point 29% of the time, while the "bright" rats refused only 11% of the time.

    How teachers communicate expectations

  • Seating low expectation students far from the teacher and/or seating them in a group
  • Paying less attention to lows in academic situations (smiling less often, maintaining less eye contact, etc.)
  • Calling on lows less often to answer questions or to make public demonstrations
  • Waiting less time for lows to answer questions
  • Not staying with lows in failure situations (e g. providing fewer clues, asking fewer follow-up questions)
  • Criticizing lows more frequently than highs for incorrect responses
  • Praising lows less frequently than highs after successful responses
  • Praising lows more frequently than highs for marginal or inadequate responses
  • Providing lows with less accurate and less detailed feedback than highs
  • Failing to provide lows with feedback about their responses as often as highs
  • Demanding less work and effort from lows than from highs
  • Interrupting lows more frequently than highs

  • Motivation Theory- Self-fulfilling prophecy- The Pygmalion Effect at Work

    Additional Handouts to give:

    *Team Meetings Scheduling Form

    *Myers-briggs prayers

    *Team Harmony pledge