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New groups are particularly susceptible to this struggle when individual differences recognized and taken into consideration, or generalizations about motives and behaviors are made about members of a group?
The first common stereotypical behavior to emerge, that we observed, was in male/female roles. More often that not, females are given a secondary role, are not allowed to perform physical tasks like lifting other, and are listened to only as a last resort. A more subtle stereotyping occurs when physical size is equated with strength, balance, and athletic agility. Often, largest male is often forced into position of lifting, carrying, or pulling others even when activities in later exercises prove this stereotype, equating size with strength, is false.
We are constantly amazed, after only a brief introduction, how quickly generalizations are made about individuals. These stereotypes serve as blinders and keep group from using all resources available to team. Action Items for Start-Up Teams
1.Jointly define how group will function.
The challenge for a new group is to establish a way of operating that will allow process issues to be noticed, discussed, and taken into account as group works on tasks to be accomplished. New groups could profitably invest time in talking about some key issues:
- How should we function as a group
- How should we make decisions
- What do we expect from one another
- How will we monitor our process so that it doesnít become a problem
Groups that become cohesive and maintain effective teamwork balance attention to tasks and to process issues. Effective team members do not fixate on either; they monitor both and openly discuss needed improvements.
2.Create a win-win atmosphere.
When teams are functioning effectively, disagreements or differing views are explored not to declare any one view winner, but to seek best decision. A team, where free flow of information is promoted, creates not a win-lose environment but an environment encouraging discussion that leads to better decisions than any of original positions presented.
The group will go through a phase when power struggles predominate unless leader or a team member establishes a mode of operation and has courage to point out when power struggles are occurring within team.
Functioning teams realize that leadership can shift from one to another member of team depending on task at hand. The designated leader knows that leadership can be shared or transferred without any loss of power.
3.Manage fight or flight behavior.
Teamwork means managing fight or flight behaviors so they do not become counterproductive. All members take responsibility for monitoring these behaviors and focus groupís attention on resolving them when they occur.
4.Test out your assumptions about team members.
Teamwork demands clarity with regard to what each member wants, needs, and is willing to do. No assumptions are made or left unchecked. Profitable time can be spent discussing each team memberís answers to these three questions:
A.What should other team members do more of because it helps me be a more productive team member?
B.What should other team members stop doing because it hinders my productivity and contribution as a team member?
C.What should other team members start doing because this will help me be a more active and contributing member of this team?
An effective team building seminar will clarify various roles of team members and prevent stereotypes and assumptions from determining groupís behavior.
If you would like to learn more about a Team Building Seminar, and how it can help your team operate more effectively, please contact a CMOE Regional Manager. You can reach them at (801) 569-3444.