Building the Team: Tasks, People and Relationships

The factors that influence teams’ behavior while pursuing the desired goals of a team are wide-ranging and very important in establishing the roles and responsibilities of each team member. A team is “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable.” (Katzenbach & Smith, 2006, p. 23).

For the team to attain full potential, all the team members must maintain some degree of trust and responsibility to each other. The roles and responsibilities of a team should be identified when a group is formed (Shachaf & Hara, 2005). This ensures that the team members open up the lines of communication hence avoiding possibilities of questioning each other’s intentions. Depending on the prevailing conditions, the roles and responsibilities can change from time to time.

When working in a team, it is a common responsibility for all team members to uphold time management skills. Each member must manage his or her own time to fulfill individual obligations without conflict. All members should work hard to complete tasks within the deadline to avoid confusion and disagreements (Shachaf & Hara, 2005). In a team, all the members need to share in decision-making strategies. However, based on the individual characteristics of the team members, some participate more in decision making while others ‘go with the flow’. In many cases, team members get motivated when recognized as decision-makers and allowed to participate fully in the teamwork. It is normal to have disagreements in a team, though; an ideal team takes such disagreements as constructive to move forward without any difficulties (Katzenbach & Smith, 2006).

Conflict management is very critical and the collective responsibility of all team members. Conflict in teams is inevitable as different members exhibit different viewpoints regarding different subject matters. In such scenarios, good communication skills come in handy. All the team members are therefore entitled to participate in discussions to tackle conflicts. Teams can apply stasis theory by Brizee (2008) to build common ground and solve the issues that are disagreed upon. This theory helps to break the possible deadlock in a team; and hence helping team members to move forward. When used as a process for discussion in a certain subject, the stasis questions can help teams carry on with dialogue until a consensus is reached.

Building up of a high performing team starts by defining the role and the responsibilities in the team. Having a team with members with varied attributes could be an advantage as different ideas and skills are pooled together. Even though a member all should stand confidently by their position, listening to other people’s points of view is essential (Shachaf & Hara, 2005).

In conclusion, the success of teams is dependent on the members’ behaviors, roles, and responsibilities. An ideal team has clear and acceptable goals that define the roles and responsibilities of all members. The behavior of the members should foster respect for each other. Members have to keep communicating frequently and explicitly. The implementation of ideas should be a collective responsibility of all the members. Strong leadership is also very critical in shaping the behavior and directing the team towards the achievement of common goals (Shachaf & Hara, 2005).


Brizee, A.H. (2008). Stasis Theory as a Strategy for Workplace Teaming and Decision Making. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 38(4), 363-385.

Katzenbach, J.R., & Smith, D.K. (2006). The Wisdom of Teams: CreNNating the High- performance Organization. Boston: Harvard Business School.

Shachaf, P., & Hara, N. (2005). Team Effectiveness in Virtual Environments: An Ecological Approach. New York: Idea Group Publishing.