The Effective Team Member:
A Consensus Activity
1. To learn the characteristics of the effective team member.
2. To learn the techniques of reaching a consensus decision.
3. To learn how to observe team dynamics.
A training exercise for a group of up to 20 people.
2 hours
A training room with two sets of chairs arranged in a circle. The result
is a circle within a circle.
A copy of Characteristics of an Effective Team Member, Guidelines for
Reaching a Consensus, and Observation Guide for each person.
1. Divide the group in half. A simple way to do this is to go around
the group and have them count off “1, 2, 1, 2…”
2. Have the “1s” form the inner circle and the “2s” form the outer
circle. Each person from the outer circle is teamed up with one
person from the inner circle. These teams of two meet briefly to
have the inner circle person identify some team member skills he
or she wants to improve and wants the outer circle person to
3. The outer circle people are given the Observation Guide to use as
a guide to observing the inner group. Under “other” they should
add the skills their partner wants to improve.
4. The inner group is given the Characteristics of an Effective Team
Member. They are asked to rank the characteristics in order of
their importance to team effectiveness. Then they are asked to
discuss and come up with a team consensus on the ranking of the
characteristics. The time limit is 30 to 45 minutes.
5. The inner circle members meet with their outer circle partner to
discuss and receive feedback on their participation with special
emphasis on the areas they wanted to improve.
50 Activities for Team Building
The Effective Team Member: A Consensus Activity
6. The outer circle team then gives general feedback to the inner
group on the exercise. The facilitator leads a discussion on how to
reach a consensus. The handout, Guidelines for Reaching a
Consensus, is distributed and reviewed.
7. The session concludes with a discussion of the characteristics of
an effective team member and the implications for the back-home
teams of the participants in the workshop.
1. Have members of the inner circle role play specific team member
characteristics. This would eliminate the observation feature of the
activity where the outer circle person observes the behavior of
one person in the inner circle. The observers would focus just on
the team dynamics.
2. Extend the exercise by reversing the circles and having the outer
circle move to the inner circle and vice versa.
3. Have the outer group become the inner circle and discuss the
consensus activity they just observed. The new outer circle
becomes the observers of the inner circle. The new outer circle
then provides feedback on the discussion they have just
4. Distribute Guidelines for Reaching a Consensus prior to the team
consensus exercise. The team is instructed to use the guidelines
during the exercise.
5. See Activity 41, Tuff Jobs, for another consensus activity.
50 Activities for Team Building
Characteristics of an
Effective Team Member
Please rank the characteristics according to their importance to the success of the
team. Each member of the team is to individually rank the items, starting with “1” as the
most important to “10” as the least important.
After everyone has finished the individual ranking, rank the 10 items as a team.
Does homework/comes prepared
Arrives on time
Shares information/ideas
Asks questions
Challenges assumptions
Supports contributions
Refocuses discussions
Harmonizes conflicts
50 Activities for Team Building
Guidelines for Reaching
a Consensus
Listen carefully and be open to different ideas.
Avoid changing your mind to simply avoid conflict.
Do not vote.
Do not “horse trade.”
Welcome differences of opinion.
You have reached a consensus when…
Your point of view has been fully heard and considered by the team.
You have considered everyone else’s point of view.
You can “live” with the decision and will support it.

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