What can you do as a team member to help your team achieve The 6 Benchmarks of High Performance Teams? There are 12 team behaviors that directly affect the quality of your team’s results, the ability to make smart decisions and the commitment to implement them.
Task behaviors focus on what is needed to get the job done. They ensure that an intelligent process is used to make smart decisions. But task behaviors alone are not enough.
In order to ensure decisions will be implemented, team members need to feel good about how decisions were made. This is why maintenance behaviors are just as important.
Become a “Participant – Observer.”
Each of the 12 team behaviors is important for your team to be effective. Most people are good at some of these and not at others. It’s not necessary for every team member to provide each of these behaviors – but they do need to be provided by someone.
The best way you can help your team is to become a participant – observer. Develop your own skills in each of these behaviors, so you have the ability to provide them when needed. Then pay attention to how your team is working. For example, is participation unbalanced? are decisions unclear? If you observe that the needed team behaviors are not being provided, you have two choices:
– either provide the behavior yourself, or
– call a “time-out” (like they do in sports) and share your observations.
6 Task Behaviors – to get the job done right.
1. Initiating: Proposing goals, tasks, new definitions to problems and suggesting procedures or new ideas that initiate action within the team.
2. Information seeking and giving: Asking for or offering relevant information, opinions, or suggestions.
3. Clarifying and elaborating: Clearing up confusion, interpreting comments, developing suggestions, building on ideas, defining terms, and envisioning how something might work.
4. Summarizing: Putting ideas and contributions together and presenting them to the team in an understandable way. Restating information and ideas in a condensed form.
5. Coordinating: Managing the flow of ideas or information. Developing plans for how to proceed and keeping people focused on the task.
6. Decision Testing: Checking with the team to see whether agreement has been reached and if team members are ready to move to decision making. Ensuring enough alternatives have been considered. Asking for clarification on which decisions are to be made by the team. Ensuring that a decision has been made.
6 Maintenance Behaviors – to develop the relationships and atmosphere needed to work well together.
1. Encouraging: Acknowledging, praising others and their contributions, encouraging participation by being responsive, friendly, and respectful of others. Demonstrating acceptance and openness to others’ ideas.
2. Active Listening: Suspending judgment and listening carefully in order to fully understand the ideas of others. Paying attention to non-verbal messages. Checking for understanding by paraphrasing.
3. Tension Reduction: Easing tension and helping create an enjoyable atmosphere in which the team can stay focused on its tasks, suggesting fun approaches to work, and reminding the team to take breaks when needed.
4. Gatekeeping: Increasing participation and communication by encouraging less talkative members to contribute or directly asking their opinions. Controlling “air time” of more talkative members. And suggesting procedures that encourage full participation and getting out all ideas.
5. Problem Solving: Working to resolve or mediate conflict among team members. Admitting own errors, finding common ground, and communicating willingness to modify your own position.
6. Observing and Facilitating: Observing your team’s processes (how team members are working together) and sharing your observations to help your team become aware of its effectiveness. Expressing your own feelings and asking others how they are feeling.
These are delicious and wise. How about balancing advocacy and inquiry? Unfortunately, there are many more instances of members advocating positions and opinions than inquiring of others with the intention of developing understanding.
Good point, Marian. Sometimes I separate information and opinion “sharing” and “asking” for just that reason.
This is on the money! Grounded in the real world, sagacious and useful. Dare I say, better than Belbin … no need for personality tests to see how the team is working.
Thank you, Martin. I have used this checklist frequently over the years to observe individual behavior and also collective team behavior. Observing group process is always fascinating, and once you start watching, you’ll never be bored in a meeting again.
Jesse, thanks for sharing great topics. Leadership is the key to a healthy workplace.
I agree, Rafael. Negative leadership behaviors can destroy a high performing team.