On Teams:  A Blog About Team Effectiveness

You can't hide a dysfunctional leadership team

Written by Scott Tannenbaum on .

How important is teamwork within a leadership team? We know that on average, teams that demonstrate better teamwork will outperform other teams. And that applies to leadership teams – teamwork can help them be more effective. But there's more to it than that.

Over the years I've noticed that the way in which members of a leadership team interact with and talk about one another sends a strong signal about teamwork to the rest of the organization. For example, when a leader disparages other units, leaders, or functions, "his people" learn that such behavior is acceptable and that cooperation is optional. When a leader squelches input or dissent, it sends the message that it is a one-man show, not a team. I've seen leaders ask members of their organization to collaborate while at the same time taking visible actions that demonstrate that teamwork doesn't matter. When this happens, their behavior trumps their words. Man Behind Hands iStock adjustedSmall

Observable behaviors and interactions among top management team members provide a visible blueprint about teamwork for the organization. But what about the way the team works together behind closed doors? Can a leadership team hide their dysfunctions? Recent research suggests that they can't...

You think you have a team challenge? Try going to Mars!

Written by Scott Tannenbaum on .

Imagine living and working in a small, confined space with five other teammates for over a year. Your team needs to complete a series of scientific experiments and perform other rigorous tasks, with the goal of exploring a distant location in a dangerous, even life-threatening, mission. If you are successful, you will then spend a year "commuting" to your Earth home in the same confined quarters and challenging conditions (see the new Orion space capsule). During this assignment, "headquarters" cannot provide you with quick advice or coaching, because there is up to a 15-minute communication delay, but you still need to coordinate as a team with the people back at headquarters. From a personal perspective, during these three years, you cannot physically see Earth, feel gravity, and you cannot spend time with your family. And if you, or any of your teammates, are having a bad day, you cannot simply go out for a walk or call in sick. That is the challenge of long duration space exploration (LDSE).

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We are currently working on a three-year grant with NASA to better understand how to compose, train, and sustain resilient LDSE teams. I'll be talking about this in April during the Society for I/O Psychology Conference being held in Houston.

What is a meta-analysis?

Written by Scott Tannenbaum on .

You’ll see me refer to meta-analysis in this blog with some regularity, and as it is increasingly being referenced in the popular press, I thought I’d provide a brief explanation for those of you who may not be familiar with it.  Analysis - iStock 000017452689XSmall

Most interesting man? No. Most interesting team researcher? Maybe.

Written by Scott Tannenbaum on .

Eduardo Salas, a Professor at the University of Central Florida and long-time “friend of gOE” was named the 2012 winner of the $50,000 Michael R. Losey, Human Resource Research Award by the Society of Human Resource Management. It is nice to see SHRM recognize a team researcher with this prestigious prize, as it underscores how important it is to understand team effectiveness.

Eduardo SalasEduardo is a prolific publisher of team research, and we’ve worked with him on many projects. If you search for his research you’ll find numerous articles, books, and chapters to help teams be successful – including how to turn a team of experts into an expert team (that’s an Eduardo-ism).

Congratulations Eduardo. You may not be the most interesting man in the world (that’s the gentleman in the Dos Equis commercial), but you have some interesting things to say about teams!

The quiet kitchen and high-performance teams

Written by Scott Tannenbaum on .

A few days ago I had the pleasure of dining at L'Atelier, Joel Robuchon's world-class restaurant.

Kitchen Door - iStock 000009481355XSmallCustomers are seated so they can overlook (and overhear) meal preparation in the kitchen. The food and service were great, and if this were a restaurant review, I'd simply tell you to go there (and order the chef's tasting menu!). But this is a blog about teams; so what can we learn about high-performance teams from watching a culinary team in action?