What makes teams work while others don’t? Why do some teams gel so quickly while others
never click? Why do some teams transcend individual efforts to perform as a whole, while others
remain ineffectual? Why do some team members become lifelong friends and others never want
to speak to each other again? One of the most effective methods for answering questions like this
is through careful and systematic observation. It is through the meticulous art of observation that
the unseen forces of group dynamics emerge and become more obvious. Unseen forces like,
fears, beliefs, prejudices, organizational norms, habits, patterns, and cultural taboos constrain and
limit team dynamics. Equipped with this knowledge, ideas to improve both team effectiveness
and relationships become clear. For this paper, you will observe a team in action and analyze the
Your paper should include the following criteria:
Effectively describe the situation and team that you will be observing. Briefly provide details
about the background and the history of this team, the nature, purpose, setting and location of
the team. Again, be brief!
● Describe the details that are important and relevant to your overall observation and
Observe the unseen forces in the following four criteria. The questions that follow are to guide
and inspire your observations and subsequent analysis.
● Team Formation (i.e Stages)
o What stage is the team in? Do they transition from any stages? What is the
catalyst for the transition?
o Who speaks (and who doesn’t speak), when, how often, and with what effect?
o How well is the group functioning?
● Team Leadership
o How are authority and power being used? What is the relationship between
facilitator and participants?
o How dependent or reactive are participants toward the formal leader?
o Is an informal leader emerging or leading?
o Who is carrying the work of the group (see and unseen)?
● Team Communication
o To what extent are participants contributing to building and harnessing the whole
group versus advocating independent positions? Does the group move toward
integration, homogeneity, or heterogeneity?
● Team Conflict
o What is the tendency of each group member with regard to inclusion, control,
acknowledgement, or recognition of others, and how robust and direct are
o How do participants respond to tension, expressions of feelings, acts of
leadership, and differing viewpoints?
o Do individuals/the group as a whole fight or flee? Do individuals coalesce,
acquiesce, react, or join in?
o Which values or ideals seem to be causing conflicts?
● Identify and discuss three specific insights you gained through this observation activity,
and about the power of observing the unseen forces enables you to more effectively
facilitate and develop teams in the workplace.
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