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Habits of Effective Teams

4 Team members giving high fives.

Team Psychology in the Workplace

Several psychological and organisational models and frameworks have grown out of the need to understand and explain how teams form, grow, develop, maintain, and change in the workplace.

Modern workplaces typically involve teams, from which many benefits can be leveraged. However, teamwork often brings its own set of challenges, with common pitfalls including lack of communication, poor trust and personality clashes.

A simple way to view the development of teams can be seen theoretically with Woodcock’s model, developed in 1979, which describes four stages. (as outlined below)

The undeveloped team: Unclear objectives, established policies, and a lack of shared understanding prevail. Mistakes are used to blame others.

The experimenting team: The team is willing to take risks and includes more active listening and short periods of group introspection.

The consolidating team: The team adopts a systematic approach. Rules and procedures are agreed upon, and improved relationships and methods from the previous stage are maintained.

The mature team: The team achieves high flexibility and appropriate leadership for different situations, and prioritises development for continued success. Trust, openness, honesty, cooperation, confrontation, and reviewing results become the norm.

"Great things in business are never done by one person; they're done by a team of people." ~ Steve Jobs

Habits of Highly Effective Teams

1. Innovation emerges over time

Successful innovation requires its members to combine the right ideas in an appropriate structure, bit by bit. This means managers should encourage team members to take time to brainstorm and share new ideas and establish a structure for combining and building on those ideas over time.

2 Practice of deep listening

Team members often spend too much time planning what they will say and how to respond in meetings and too little time listening to and observing others. This means managers should actively listen and observe, then provide opportunities for team members to practice deep listening skills.

3 Building on collaborators’ ideas

Through deep listening, team members take on and evolve each idea further. This means managers should recognise the potential of other team members’ ideas and accept the importance of collective ownership to drive forward problem-solving.

4 Meaning becomes clear afterwards

While it’s tempting to attribute an idea to one person, its full importance results from being taken up, reinterpreted and applied by the whole team. “Participants are willing to allow other people to give their action meaning by building on it later” (Sawyer, 2007) This means managers should emphasise the importance of evolving and adapting ideas as a team, rather than attributing them to one individual.

5 Surprise questions emerge

“The most transformative creativity results when a group either thinks of a new way to frame a problem or finds a new problem that no one has noticed before” (Sawyer, 2007, p. 16). This means managers should encourage team members to question assumptions and think outside the box by regularly posing surprising or unconventional questions during meetings and discussions.

6 Messy innovation

Improvised innovation will make more mistakes, but it can be phenomenal when the team gets a hit. This means managers should recognise that innovation can be inefficient and messy but emphasize the potential for breakthroughs.

7 Innovation from the bottom up

Teams start with the detail, improvise innovation, and then work up to the big picture. This means managers should foster a bottom-up approach to innovation, starting with small details and building toward the bigger picture.


If you are looking to grow, develop and fine-tune internal culture to develop healthy habits for effective teams in your workplace, touch base with the team at Ease Wellness today. From bespoke workshops to seminars and special events, we can help boost staff satisfaction, motivation, retention and performance with simple yet effective holistic ways that have profound power to effect change.

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” ~ Phil Jackson

Team Building Skills

Here is a list of ten vital skills for building high-performing and successful teams:

  • Clear communication

Encourage team members to speak openly and honestly and actively listen to one another’s ideas and perspectives. Provide training and resources to help improve communication skills.

  • Trust & accountability

Create an environment where team members feel safe to take risks and be vulnerable with one another. Hold team members accountable for their actions and decisions and provide them with the support and resources they need to succeed.

  • Adaptability & flexibility

Encourage team members to be open to new ideas and ways of working. Be willing to pivot and change course when necessary.

  • Emotional Intelligence

Provide training and resources to help team members better understand and manage their own emotions and those of others.

  • Active listening

Encourage team members to fully engage, pay attention to what others are saying, and respond thoughtfully.

  • Conflict resolution

Teach team members how to navigate and resolve conflicts constructively and effectively.

  • Goal alignment

Ensure that individual goals align with the team’s overall objectives and that everyone works toward a common purpose.

  • Delegation

Teach team members how to assign tasks and responsibilities to one another effectively to maximize their strengths and capabilities.

  • Problem-solving

Teach team members how to identify problems and develop practical solutions.

  • Empowerment & autonomy

Give team members the freedom and support they need to take ownership of their work and make decisions. Provide regular feedback and coaching to help them improve their skills.

A team of four individuals is engaged in a lively discussion about their work projects.

"Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work." ~ Seth Godin

Interested in improving your team dynamics? Schedule a Kinesiology and Coaching session with Katherine Anderson.


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