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Effective Team Building:Attitudes, Identities, Roles and Empowerment

Updated on November 23, 2014

Teams are important in the world we live in. Whether it is teams in school, the community or at work, most people will be part of several teams at one time. There is a tendency to not desire teams and teamwork, especially in our individualistic society, however, many feats have been accomplished with a great team of people.

There are many elements needed to build an effective team, however, most people would agree that attitude is on the top of the list. Even some of the greatest skilled workers are less effective than a team member with a good attitude. Although we would all like to think that we are Steve Jobs, this type of tyrant mentality very rarely produces those type of outcomes.

Attitude is so important because the whole point of a team, is to bring great minds together. This means that if everyone cannot get passed their egos, no work will ever be done, no problems will be solved. So to be effective, each member must have the right attitude going in. They will need to want to achieve the goal, to be a productive member of the group. A good or bad attitude can be pinnacle on the effectiveness of any team.

So when forming a new team, there is always the question of who would be the best fit for the venture. While most teams will be chosen from availability and from higher-ups, there is proven scientific research showing if team members can choose the new members, the team has more cohesion and better results. This may be because the members can be chosen considering who works well with her, as opposed to exclusive consideration on abilities.

Once a team is formed, there will need to be an identity made in association with the team. It is not just a group, a team should have clear goals, as well as a clear identity of who they are. There is many ways to do this.

Through symbolic convergence, team members can bond and become stronger. The shared communications and fantasies create a convergence or group identity. It is easier to call upon a shared experience, then an individual experience.

Solidarity Symbols are another great way to unify team members, this one though is non-verbal. The benefit to non-verbal solidarity is that it can transcend language barriers. The first solidarity symbol that comes to mind is that of “black power.” All someone had to do was show a picture of a closed fist, or lift up a closed fist, to give their support to the issues. Another one of course would be the hand to the side and out from the chest, a sign for the third Reich when they were in power.

Team talk is another way to give a team identity. This can be different phrases that are made for the team, that all the team members will understand, but no one else outside of the team would understand. Something, akin to a secret language. There will also need to be more conversations with we and less ego and conversations about the mes.

There is also ways to make each team member more effective in their own personal right. This can be done with several methods, one of them being autonomy. When a team member feels trusted enough to be independent, they will usually excel. Just the act of giving someone a little lee-way in their work, may improve the work when it is turned in.

“Group potency is the shared belief among team members that they can be effective as a team” (Rothwell, 2013). This touches on the importance of attitude of each member. It all comes down to, if there is a will, there will be a way.

Another way to build relationships and effectiveness in a team is to make the perceptions of the team’s tasks important. To give the task meaning will create more trying and hopefully better outcomes. The team leader should be enthusiastic about the goal, as well as express the importance of the goal so all team members will feel invested in it.


Rothwell, J. D. (2013). In Mixed Company: communicating in Small Groups and Teams, Eighth edition. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning


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