How can a teacher or facilitator reduce the likelihood of dysfunctional teams?
Investing time in helping teams get off to a good start can reduce the likelihood of dysfunctional teams, reduce the severity of dysfunction, and provide the foundation for facilitating dysfunctional teams. Here are some concrete suggestions.
- Provide training to the students about how to work in teams (confronting unrealistic expectations, diversity training, and a system for managing conflict). See other documents in the series on team training.
- Plan the team assignments
- Assign the teams in a fair and careful manner
- Help team members develop a code of cooperation and a system for managing conflict
- Help team members anticipate possible dysfunctional behaviors and brainstorm about what to do if these should occur
- Help team members accept responsibility for successful development of the team
- Periodically monitor progress and effectiveness before problems escalate
- Provide assessments of teams and team members with feedback
- Build both individual and collaborative responsibility (accountability) into the grading process