Most of us spent a lot of time in teams- both at home and at work. In the workplace, a highly functioning team can be a vehicle for achieving great things, as well as a source of succor and support for all team members, inspiring meaning and purpose and high levels of satisfaction. According to Michael West, there are five main components of team effectiveness which combine together in four common ways, together they predict: the task effectiveness; team members’ mental health; team viability; team innovation; and inter-team cooperation.
The main four ways that we can describe the effectiveness of teams can be split into a 2 x2 table using the dimension of task reflexivity (ability to shape the team’s objectives and ways of working though continually reflecting, learning and adapting) against the dimension of social reflexivity (ability to reflect, learn and adapt to the socio-emotional climate within teams).
Which type of team(s) are you currently part of?
The Driven Team
High Task Reflexivity and Low Social Reflexivity – these teams are effective in the short term, and may be moderately innovative, but their high inter team conflict and their poor team member wellbeing burns the team out quite quickly
The Dysfunctional Team
Low Task Reflexivity and Low Social Reflexivity – these have poor task effectiveness, poor wellbeing, low innovation, very low viability, and high conflict and are probably the worst kind of team to be in
The Complacent Team
Low Task Reflexivity and High Social Reflexivity – these have poor task effectiveness, average wellbeing, moderate conflict, short term viability, low innovation – but don’t really ever achieve their potential
The Resilient Team
High Task Reflexivity and High Social Reflexivity – this is the most dynamic and successful type of team to be in – high effectiveness, good wellbeing, long term viability, high innovation, high interteam cooperation
How did you get on? Whatever type of team(s) you are in, you can always do things to make it better. I’ll cover some top tips next blog.
(Michael E West, Effective Teamwork 3rd Edition, BPS Blackwell 2012)