High performance, good morale, and well-being of individuals within a group – these are the main signs of an effective team. Still, team effectiveness is a pretty vague term. How can you assess it? How can you identify gaps that need to be filled, and figure out the areas of strength? There is a simple method – a team effectiveness model.
For managers and HR specialists, team effectiveness models are a great tool – these frameworks will let you understand your team dynamics better and also see where exactly you should make changes. Over the years, authors have suggested several models, and to pick the framework that would suit you best, you should get familiarized with the most famous ones.
Team effectiveness is an indicator that shows how a team collaborates and reaches shared goals and objectives. To be called effective, a team has to be resilient to challenges. Typically, individual members of an effective team are more inspired to work and have the determination to grow personally.
To diagnose problems a team faces and to know in which direction a team should move further on, there have been created team effectiveness models – frameworks describing various aspects of teams' cooperation, whose aim is to help teams work better.
Each team effectiveness model presents a specific vision of a person who developed it, since different authors focused their attention on different things. There isn’t one perfect model which could be used universally – rather, each model fits a particular situation.
We have chosen 7 team effectiveness models which can help you analyze your team and thus improve its performance:
The GRPI model of team effectiveness was introduced in 1972 by Richard Beckhard, and then further revised by Irwin Rubin, Mark Plovnick, and Ronald Fry in 1977. However, it is still one of the most popular team effectiveness tools for managers. “GRPI” is an acronym that stands for the following model elements:
Unfortunately, people often do not see the bigger picture, as they are focused on their own tasks. Leaders have to make sure team members know the top goal and that their understanding coincides with the leader’s one. Also, they need to devise an evaluation system for measuring performance.
It’s important to assign roles in the beginning. Yet, during the work process, new people might join the team, and roles will probably be reassigned, so some clarification will be necessary.
Roughly speaking, team members should know how exactly things will be accomplished.
Team members must respect and trust each other.
In his book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, Patrick Lencioni described a model of team effectiveness, different from the rest of the frameworks. While other models focus on the components a successful team should have, Lencioni covers the components a team, on the contrary, should not demonstrate.
According to Lencioni, the five dysfunctions are interdependent, as each dysfunction causes and supports the next one, like levels of a pyramid:
In his 1965 work “Developmental Sequence in Small Groups”, Bruce Tuckman suggested a model of team development which consisted of four stages describing how a team comes to high performance. In 1975, Tuckman refined his theory, adding the fifth stage. Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the stages in this model:
In research that involved interviewing more than 200 employees and over 250 attributes of their teams, Google was looking for the answer to one question: What makes a team effective?
It appeared that "who" was on a team mattered less than "how" those people interacted with one another. The researchers identified five components that make for a successful team:
Out of the five dynamics in this team effectiveness model, psychological safety is the most important. When we feel that others perceive our competence negatively, we are not ready to act – on the contrary, we close up, and it is detrimental to teamwork. We are scared to clarify things because we do not want to appear unaware. That all is a no-win strategy.
In 2001, Frank LaFasto and Carl Larson suggested a team effectiveness model which they called “The Five Dynamics of Teamwork and Collaboration.” Having analyzed the results of a survey conducted among 600 teams, which covered a wide variety of industries, they came up with five characteristics of an effective team:
In 1995, Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger developed a team effectiveness model, named T7, as it consisted of 7 factors, all starting with a letter “T”. This model was the result of large-scale studies that involved 303 groups in 50 organizations across different industries. This way, the researchers identified seven factors, fine internal and two external, which influence the effectiveness of a team:
Both internal and external factors are necessary for a team to perform at its highest level. The T7 model can be used as a rubric to assess a team’s strengths and weaknesses.
In 1993, Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith created a triangular model of team effectiveness. In this framework, each point represents a goal. To achieve it, you will have to work on three team-effectiveness factors – the sides of the triangle:
Fundamental team goals (points):
The sides of the triangle are made up by:
In addition to that, the Katzhenbach and Smith model suggests that there are five levels of teamwork:
An effective teamwork model will help your team improve individual input and group dynamics, and this way produce great results. By picking the right team effectiveness model, managers get a chance to develop a high-performing team – cohesive and productive, friendly and focused on a shared goal.
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