Blog – Want to form a Constructive Team? Here’s 8 things to avoid…

Non-Constructive teams can get stuck in a cycle of ineffective behaviours: working against rather than with each other, busting instead of building ideas, discussions that go around in circles, nodding in agreement with a decision but not following through with action. So how does a Constructive team break these ineffective behavours?!

Below are 8 things Constructive Teams Don’t Do:

1. Constructive Teams Don’t… Always Agree
If everyone is too concerned about not offending one another, healthy debate is stifled. If people have unexpressed doubts or questions – they won’t be committed to the decision. Constructive teams know that it’s not EITHER Harmony OR out and out conflict – they differ constructively about idea, not the person behind the idea.

2. Constructive Teams Don’t… Lack Diversity of Thinking
When team members think alike there is a tendency to become conservative and traditional – ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’. Such teams view innovative or ‘different’ ideas as too risky. Constructive teams encourage a diverse range of ideas and approaches, ‘crazy’ ideas are suggested without fear of negative judgement, they experiment and improve.

3. Constructive Teams Don’t… Need to be Told What to Do
If team members are waiting to be told what to do rather than being proactive, then they won’t be strongly committed to achieving the goal. Constructive teams prepare for meetings in advance, set goals and objectives together, encourage reserved members to voice their opinions, and take the initiative to express themselves and make things happen.

4. Constructive Teams Don’t… Act like a Group of Individuals
So often what we call teams are actually just individuals who report to the same manager. Such groups feel that team activities and meetings hold little promise of achieving anything and would rather avoid working with each other. Constructive teams put the team’s goals ahead of their own, they are enthusiastic problem solvers, and are actively involved in discussions together.

5. Constructive Team’s Don’t… Criticise Ideas Too Quickly
Though Constructive teams don’t always agree (see point 1), they also aren’t too critical too early of ideas. By focusing on what’s wrong with an idea and evaluating (and rejecting) it as it is proposed, only safe and conservative ideas make it through. Constructive teams get all the options out before they start evaluating them, they focus on each idea’s potential merits, and build upon each other’s ideas.

6. Constructive Team’s Don’t… Bulldoze Their Individual Opinions Through
When certain members take over and dominate the discussion, the quality of decisions are only as good as the expertise of the few who wrestle for control. Execution falls short because the wider team feel the decision was forced on them and therefore they lack buy in. Constructive teams encourage participation in discussions, they listen carefully to others, they show support for ideas/suggestions and differ constructively.

7. Constructive Teams Don’t… Compete With Each Other
When team members are competing rather than collaborating, looking good and outshining your teammates is more important than solving the problem effectively. Constructive teams prioritise the team’s goal ahead of their own, they know that when the group wins everyone wins, they listen to each other, they don’t cut each other off, and they build on other’s ideas.

8. Constructive Teams Don’t… Worry About Making Mistakes
A fear of failure drives teams to get hung up on the details. These groups lose sight of the overall objective and end up focusing on minor differences of opinion which slows the team’s progress. Constructive teams are willing to take calculated risks and make mistakes, this approach frees them up to maintain focus on the ‘big picture’ and move forward rather than get bogged down in details.

In order to become a Constructive team, teams need to have the conversations that matter. We use the Group Styles Inventory™ with Real Time Feedback to measure teams’ behaviour and use it to facilitate the conversation teams need to have.


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