Active/Collaborative Learning Student Teams Integrating Technology Effectively Women and Minorities Assessment and Evaluation EC2000 Emerging Technology Foundation Coalition Curricula Concept Inventories
Facilitating Dysfunctional Teams

Facilitating Dysfunctional Teams
How might an instructor reduce the likelihood of dysfunctional teams? How might team members reduce the likelihood of dysfunctional teams? What is a dysfunctional team?
How might an instructor recognize a dysfunctional team? What examples of dysfunctional behavior can lead to the destruction of a team? How might an instructor facilitate a dysfunctional team?

How to facilitate a dysfunctional team

Ultimately, decisions to change what the team is doing and actions to improve future performance must be made by the team. An instructor can help a team recognize its challenges and

  • Facilitate dialogue with the entire team present
  • Ask team members to review or describe the goals for the team
  • Ask team members to review their code of cooperation and explore what items are not being followed
  • Instructor leads a review list of effective team traits
  • Each member should review each trait and decide where it is not working
  • Group comes together to discuss what traits are missing
  • Ask team members to suggest strategies to address their problems
  • Openly confront the difference or discuss where the difficulty lies. As a group, define the issue (not the person) at hand. Use constructive feedback
  • Decide on solutions that will be employed to address the problem
  • Discuss where the team is now and where it needs to be
  • Define the problem that is keeping the team from moving ahead
  • Discuss all possible solutions (to be conducted by instructor)
  • Negotiate openly with the group
  • Ask team members to suggest strategies to address their problems
  • Meet again with the group and reestablish team expectations, goals, and behaviors
  • Meet with team members individually to uncover their needs and how the team can meet those needs
  • Increase positive reinforcement
  • If problem continues, confront person privately again about the person’s behavior
  • Listen to the problem from the team, not just individuals. Paraphrase and summarize what they are saying, without lecturing
  • If nothing changes, the person must be taken out of the group. This possibility should be raised at the beginning (very important point) of a team assignment

Many dysfunctional teams can be improved by open discussion with the team. Occasionally, an outside person can help the team resolve the problem. Very rarely, problems are so severe that the team needs to be dissolved or a team member needs to leave the group.


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