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An Introduction to Teamwork. Authored by Andrea White, PhD and Valerie West, EdD for the C3 Initiative. Teaching Team Skills: Goals for Today. Introduction to Team Competencies/ Content for teaching Team exercise – as an example Observation and Feedback Review Handbook Contents

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An introduction to teamwork l.jpg

An Introduction to Teamwork

Authored by Andrea White, PhD andValerie West, EdD for the C3 Initiative

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Teaching Team Skills:Goals for Today

  • Introduction to Team Competencies/ Content for teaching

  • Team exercise – as an example

  • Observation and Feedback

  • Review Handbook Contents

  • Questions and evaluation

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What is a Team?

Two or more individuals with a high degree of interdependence geared toward the achievement of a goal or the completion of a task.

Teams make decisions, solve problems, provide support, accomplish missions, and plan their work.

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How is a Team Different from a Group or Committee?

Teams embody a collective action arising out of task interdependency

Members of the team agree on the goal

Members agree that they must work together to achieve the goal

Each member is viewed as having one or more important roles to play to successfully achieve the goal

There is less hierarchy within the unit than in most work groups

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Why is Teamwork Important in Healthcare?

  • While our healthcare delivery system has the potential to be outstanding, our system currently is not as safe, effective, or efficient as it should be.

  • Promoting teamwork and good communication among health professionals can dramatically improve healthcare delivery, resulting in much better outcomes for our patients.

    • How do we know this?

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There are Many Types of Teams

  • Examples of Teams:

    • Athletic Team – people working together to win a game

    • Natural Work Group – people working together every day in same office with similar processes and equipment

    • Business Team – cross-functional team overseeing a specific product line or customer segment

    • Improvement Team – ad hoc team with responsibility for improving an existing process

    • Healthcare Team – several healthcare professionals working closely together for the benefit of a patient or group of patients

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When to use a team?

Quality and Acceptance

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Understanding group behavior

  • Group Content - what is being said, the words, the discussion

  • Group Process - how the group works, methods, ways of making decisions, how people participate

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Aspects of Group Process: Communication

  • Who talks to whom?

  • Who interrupts and how is it handled?

  • How are quiet members treated?

  • High and low participators? Shifts in participation levels?

  • Do people look at each other when they talk?

  • How are new members treated?

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Aspects of Group Process: Decision -making

  • What process does the group use to make decisions?

  • Is the process agreed upon by everyone?

  • Does the process change as group proceeds?

  • Does anyone make a decision and carry it out without agreement from the others?

  • Is there evidence of a majority pushing a decision

  • Are minority opinions heard?

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Aspects of Group Process: Problem-solving

  • Does the group take time to understand the problem?

  • Is the problem well articulated?

  • Is there time for brainstorming creative solutions?

  • Can the group move to from problem identification, identifying possible solutions, to selecting solutions and implementation?

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Group Problem Solving


  • Involve people

  • Generate ideas

  • Presentation

  • Listen for common

  • Themes

  • Organize ideas

  • Evaluate alternatives

  • Manage conflict

  • Details/Finish

  • Motivate

  • Monitor progress

  • Find resources

  • Get information

  • Assign responsibilities

  • Develop plan

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Recognizing Dysfunctional Behavior

  • Blocking

  • Aggression

  • Dominating

  • Withdrawing

  • Out of field behavior

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Team Roles: Task

  • Initiating

  • Seeking and Giving Information

  • Clarifying

  • Summarizing

  • Consensus Taking

  • Accountability

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Team Roles: Relationships

  • Communication Gatekeeping

  • Encouraging

  • Resolving Conflict

  • Acknowledging Feelings

  • Setting Standards/Norms

  • Openness

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Attitudes for Effective Teamwork

  • Appreciation for value of team decisions

  • Respect for team members

  • Mutual trust

  • Openness to feedback

  • Reflection on group process and interest in improving

  • Shared vision

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Team Exercise

  • Instructions for Observers

  • Instructions for Team members

  • Team Exercise

  • Scoring, Team members and Observer comments

  • Discussion

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What are Characteristics of Effective Teams?

  • Members have a clear goal

  • The focus is on achieving results

  • There is a plan for achieving the goal

  • Members have clear roles

  • Members are committed to the goal

  • Members are competent

  • They achieve decisions through consensus

  • There is diversity among team members

  • Members have effective interpersonal skills

  • They know each other well and have good relationships

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More Characteristics

  • Each member feels empowered to act, speak up, offer ideas

  • Each member has a high standard of excellence

  • An informal climate and easiness exists among members

  • The team has the support of management

  • The team is open to new ideas

  • There is periodic self-assessment

  • There is shared leadership of the team

  • The team is a relatively small size

  • There is recognition of team member accomplishments

  • There are sufficient resources to support the team work

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Effective Team-Building Takes Time

  • There must be frequent and prolonged contact

  • Team members come together around a specific goal or project

  • Effective teams go through four stages of team development

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What are the Four Stages of Team Development?

  • Forming

  • Storming

  • Norming

  • Performing

  • Every effective team goes through these life cycle stages

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  • Team members are introduced and begin getting to know each other

  • Goals and tasks are established

  • Generally polite behavior among members

  • Norms are not understood

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  • Members are sizing each other up and may feel more comfortable and voice their views

  • Members may compete for team roles

  • May argue about goals or how they should be accomplished

  • May choose sides against other members

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  • Once issues are resolved, agreement occurs around team norms and expectations

  • Trust and common interests are developing

  • Roles and objectives are clarified and understood

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  • Members make contributions and are motivated by results

  • Leadership is shared according to members’ knowledge and skills

  • Norms and culture are well understood

  • Tasks get accomplished effectively and efficiently

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  • Thiagarajan, S. and Parker, G. (1999). Teamwork and Teamplay. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.

  • Dean, P., LaVallee, R., & McLaughlin, C. (1999). Teams at the core of continuous learning in McLaughlin, & Kaluzny, A. (eds.) Continuous Quality Improvement in Health Care: Theory, Implementation, and Applications, 147 – 168.