49
15
Characteristics of an
Effective Work Team:
An Assessment Activity
PURPOSE:
1. To assess the effectiveness of a team.
2. To plan for the improvement of a team.
GROUP SIZE:
Works best with an intact team with less than 20 people.
TIME:
2 hours
PHYSICAL
SETTING:
Chairs arranged in a circle or tables arranged in a U-shape.
MATERIALS:
A copy of Characteristics of an Effective Work Team for each person.
PROCESS:
1. Prior to the meeting, the survey should be completed by each
person. The facilitator should summarize the results and prepare
a report for the team.
2. At the meeting, present the summary, and ask the team to identify
key strengths and improvement opportunities. Strengths are high
in description and importance. Improvement opportunities are low
in description and high in importance.
3. Isolate up to three key areas the team would like to address. If the
team is small, the whole team can develop action plans for each
area. With a large team, sub-teams can be formed, with each sub-
team asked to work on one of the areas.
4. The session concludes with plans and action steps for each area.
5. The team should plan to periodically revisit the area to monitor
progress.
VARIATIONS:
1. Complete the survey in class and summarize the results on the
flipchart.
2. Tailor the survey to reflect current issues on the team.
3. Another approach is to interview team members. See Activity 29,
Team Building Interview Guide.
50 Activities for Team Building
51
Characteristics of an Effective
Work Team
Please circle the number that indicates the degree to which you feel the following characteristics
are descriptive of your team, and the number that indicates the degree to which you feel each
characteristic is important to the functioning of the team.
DESCRIPTION IMPORTANCE
CHARACTERISTIC
Never
Seldom
Sometimes
Usually
Always
Unimportant
Somewhat
Important
Important
Very Important
Critical
1.
Clear Task: The task or objective of the group
is well understood and accepted by the group.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
2.
Informality: The “atmosphere” tends to be
informal, comfortable, relaxed. There are no
obvious tensions or signs of boredom.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
3.
Participation: There is a lot of discussion in
which virtually everyone participates, but it
remains pertinent to the task of the group.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
4.
Listening: The members listen to each other!
Every idea is given a hearing.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
5.
Disagreement: There is disagreement, but the
team is comfortable with this and shows no signs
of avoiding conflict to keep everything on a plane
of sweetness and light.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
6.
Consensus: Most decisions are reached by
consensus; formal voting is kept to a minimum.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
7.
Open Communications: Team members feel
free to express their feelings on the task as well
as the group’s operation. There is little “pussy-
footing” and few hidden agendas.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
8.
Clear Assignment: When action is taken, clear
assignments are made and accepted.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
9.
Shared Leadership: While the team has a
formal leader, leadership functions shift from
time to time depending upon the circumstances,
the needs of the group, and the skills of the
members.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5
10.
Self-Assessment: Periodically, the team stops
to examine how well it is functioning and what
may be interfering with its effectiveness.
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5

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