Dr Bev Smallwood

Articles Library: Team Effectiveness

How To Improve the Effectiveness Of Team Meetings

The greatest places to work…the most magnetic workplaces…are characterized by an atmosphere of creative collaboration. In these workplaces, collaboration is “the way we do things around here.” It is the way that a team approaches the design and improvement of processes, problem solving, and the improvement of team relationships.

Various team members bring different perspectives, different areas of expertise, different personalities, different educational levels – but all have something valuable to offer. The synergy that occurs when a diverse group is functioning well is a delight to experience.

Role Of Team Leaders

Team leaders and coaches must model the attitudes of acceptance and appreciation of each team member’s contributions. Further, the coach must share responsibility with other team members for structuring the meeting process in such a way that meetings are efficient and productive.

Magnetic leaders have also mastered the art and skill of facilitation of team meetings. To facilitate, according to Webster’s dictionary, means “to make easier.” Effective leaders use a variety of interventions designed to keep the team on track and to keep the discussion of problem solving processes flowing smoothly.

Facilitative Interventions that Promote Collaboration

When team members come together, it is easy for their interaction, intentionally or unintentionally, to sabotage their effectiveness in getting the job done. Simple interventions by either formal group leaders or concerned team members can keep the group on focused and on track, elicit involvement from all team members, and keep the group’s energy flowing.

Task interventions. Some facilitative behaviors are designed to aid in task accomplishment. Examples of task-oriented interventions are:

  • initiating activity;
  • seeking information;
  • giving information;
  • summarizing;
  • testing and evaluating the practicality of solutions, and;
  • focusing the discussion.

Process interventions. Other facilitative actions target the process by which the group is working together. In this capacity, the team leader or other member may:

  • validate persons or statements;
  • harmonize by mediating conflict;
  • test for consensus;
  • reduce tension with humor or perspective;
  • reinforce team behaviors;
  • clarify team roles;
  • call attention to team norms, and;
  • listen actively.

Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist and professional speaker who is the author of “This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen to Me.” Visit her website, www.DrBevSmallwood.com; or contact Bev at 601.264.0890 or by email, Bev@DrBevSmallwood.com. Also connect with Bev on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and her blogs, Shrink Rap and New Morning Devotionals.

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