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Group Work

Characteristics of an Effective Group

Effective groups often have a unique set of characteristics that increases productivity, promotes personal growth, and creates a positive work environment for everyone.

In this section, we'll focus on the traits and skills you need to be a great group member. We'll also look at the team dynamic itself and learn which elements need to be in place for your group to succeed.

Remember, you don't need to be an expert at everything! Instead, you should have a good understanding of your personal strengths and know which skills you'd like to develop further—use those insights to guide how you can contribute to your group's success.

This section covers:

Carl Larson and Frank Fasto (1989) studied McDonalds, NASA, and various sports team to identify 8 characteristics of effective teams. Results are consistent with more recent studies as well.

  1. Clear, elevating goal

    The goal must excite and motivate the team.

  2. Results-driven structure

    Teams must have an efficient and organized method of achieving outcomes. Team structures and roles must be clear and facilitate forward progress.

  3. Competent team members

    Team members must be educated, trained, and know what they're doing.

  4. Unified commitment

    Teams must feels united and committed to achieve the task at hand.

  5. Collaborative climate

    Effective teams create a positive, supportive environment.

  6. Standards of excellence

    High standards are needed to stretch and excite team members to achieve big goals.

  7. External support and recognition

    Teams need outside support to thrive. A network of outside social and professional connections helps as does external recognition and positive reinforcement for success.

  8. Principled leadership

    Leadership can be designated to one person or shared among team members but must be effectively executed.