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The functioning of the team is not a matter of course and there is no ready-made formula for guaranteeing the functioning of the team. However, thinking about and being aware of the factors which affect the functioning of the team promote the functioning and cooperation of the team. Factors facilitating cooperation and the functioning of the team include the following:

  • Safety, confidence and appreciation. In order that a human being can have a sense of liberation and place his entire capacity at the disposal of the team, he must be able to feel that he is accepted and deemed important.
  • Common objective and commitment to it. The team has to have jointly approved goals and objectives. Sufficient time and resources must be allocated to negotiations concerning common goals and objectives. Discussions and finding a common view motivate and induce people to commit themselves to team functioning.
  • Common action modes and sharing of work duties. It is important for the functioning of the team to agree on the action modes related to economy, social intercourse and leadership. Work duties and responsibilities also need to be shared.
  • Supporting and encouraging members. Constructive feedback and the support of the team promote the functioning of individuals and of the entire team.
  • Social skills and efficient communication. Teamwork both requires and develops social skills. A common understanding cannot be achieved without efficient communication.
  • Atmosphere of openness. An open and honest atmosphere promotes the efficiency of the team’s functioning.
  • Responsibility. In addition to one's own actions, every member of the team is also responsible for the achievements of the entire team.
  • Differences between members. Differences are not obstacles or problems. On the contrary, individuals with different skills and knowledge often achieve better results than a homogenous team.
  • Ability to confront problems. The ability of the team to confront different problems affects the development of the team. Teams should be given elbow room and opportunities for resolving problems. Resolving problems brings the team closer together and promotes a sense of team spirit. Being able to clear up problems can be very significant as a learning experience. (Katzenbach 1998; Koppinen ym. 1993; Squivel & Kleiner 1997.)
When cooperation within the group does not work, motivation diminishes. The members of the group do not dare to contribute to the working of the group and the group’s level of performance remains low. Conflicts and power struggles depleting energy from actual work efforts can occur in this kind of a situation affecting the group.

Factors nibbling at the foundations of group functioning:

  • Rivalry / Competiveness
  • Belittling and being critical of others
  • Tense atmosphere
  • Conflicts
  • Reservedness
  • Poorly communication
  • Homogeneity
  • Conspiracies
  • Conflicting expectations
  • Constant change and uncertainty
  • Holding back of information
THINK ABOUT: How can I promote the functioning of the group by what I do and how I conduct myself?