In the early formation stage of a team, the team members are in the acquaintance and familiarization phase. This means getting to know each member’s personal background, skills, and personal traits or behaviors. As individuals get to gradually accept each other in a team, understanding individual behavior is an essential step in the initial stage of team development. Members must learn how to respect individual differences in personality traits and adjust to individual attitudes. In the long run, a team should generate a collective behavior that is complementary to each member to be more effective.
Importance of Team Behavior
As a common practice, every team is tasked to establish common ground rules or code of conduct consisting of a set of acceptable and unacceptable member behaviors. This behavioral conduct is an essential element in building an effective team and it is implemented for the following reasons:
• Establishes shared team expectations and common understanding
• Promotes desirable behavior among team members
• Develops self-management of a team
• Provides a documented record of the team rules and regulations
• Aids new team members in imparting team standards and limitations
• Helps team members with behavior problems back on track
With the supervision of a team leader, a team implements rules of conduct collaboratively. During the process, members are encouraged to openly express suggestions and disagreements of some guidelines. This is to ensure a common understanding of the rules before implementation.
List of Behavioral Conduct in a Team
Acceptable Team Behavior
A team may deem behavior as acceptable or unacceptable. A team behavior is acceptable when it is favorable and beneficial to the team as a whole. Here are a few acceptable team behaviors:
• Active listening to develop and manifest two-way communication
• A degree of trust among team members
• A level of respect to the needs, feelings, and rights of team members
• An open sharing of information and knowledge for team growth
Unacceptable Team Behavior
On the other hand, unacceptable team behaviors are manifestations of traits and conducts that are not advantageous to the entire team. Team members who exhibit undesirable behaviors may cause hindrance to the growth and effectiveness of a team. A few examples of these behaviors are:
• Lack of support for the team activities and tasks
• Use of aggressive terms such as “never” with a purpose of intimidating other members
• Demonstrating a negative attitude towards team members, other people, changes and team building
• Exhibiting a selfish attitude of being solely recognized instead of being a part of the team
• Showing prejudices without assessing and reflecting on personal behavior
Destructive Team Member Behaviors
• Attacking personality, usually sidetracking the attention to an individual’ performance issue instead of focusing on personal strengths.
• Agreeing with everything and acting act as a devil’s advocate by tolerating even weaknesses and non-contributing opinions.
• Showing inconsistency by manifesting a confused attitude on obvious inconsistencies and irregularities in the team.
• Binding a team member’s behavior.
• Changing a topic without explanation.
• Chatting rather than expressing opinions and ideas openly, wherein team members chitchat among each other instead.
• Complaining, such as when team members grumble and nitpick on negative issues.
• Criticizing, wherein team members question and disapprove on how certain tasks are carried out which hinder the growth of a team.
• Showing anger, with some people have difficulty controlling negative and strong emotions such as anger, which can lead to team conflicts and unhealthy arguments.
• Superiority complex or dominating attitude, in which a team member exhibits this behavior and tends to manipulate the rest of the team by pushing personal opinions and tends to be authoritative.
• Getting easily distracted.
• Interruptions, which is a rude behavior that can lessen the respect from other team members.
• Making assumptions, which is a mental behavior that pre-judges a person or an action before it even happens.
• Lack of participation in team buildings, wherein a member does not show interest in team activities and simulations, which in turn hinders teamwork to be developed.
• Not completing tasks upon schedule. Some team members may not realize that the team is held accountable for the failure of the entire team.