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Six Habits of Highly Effective Teams Essay

From this class, we have learned a lot about how to build up a team; the benefit and disadvantages of teamwork; communication between team members and training to improve teamwork, and so on. From Kohn’s book “Six Habits of Highly Effective Teams” I have learned six rules that make the team work effectively. The concepts are “strengthening emotional capacity to improve team relationship, expanding team self-awareness, practicing empathy and respectfulness, establishing and regulating team norms, thinking laterally, entrusting team members with appropriate roles.” (Kohn 2007) Next, I will combine with my team experiences to talk about the six rules. First of all, the concept “strengthening emotional capacity to improve team relationship” demonstrated the relationship between team menbers and team leader is important. A good relationship in a team is a sense of trust between the team members and keeping team identity and team efficacy. These three conditions require the team’s ability to create a good emotional atmosphere and management to create emotional norms, and develop team emotional intelligence.

Under this good emotional atmosphere, team members can understand each other, adapt to each other and respect each other. When the team members come up with different ideas, they can also consult, find out a way that everyone agrees with, and they can trust each other. This is exactly the right atmosphere in my family team. When we have some different ideas about travel, my uncle will give everyone a paper to write down their thought, and then I will read those thoughts in front of everyone. Our family member will discuss the advantages and disadvantages for every plan and finally decide where to go, which way is the best one for us. So, we understand the personal feelings of the team members and we should establish the norms of mutual understanding to encourage members, in considering the problem and using the empathy approach. The team leader is an important part to build up a good atmosphere.

When members disagree with the team decision, the leader should not always think the worst, and should try to find out why the members have different ideas and listen to them carefully. Facing the problem behavior, the team leader should point out the problem immediately, resolve contradictions with a sense of humor. When one or two people disagree with the team decision-making, we usually use the simple way; the minority is subordinate to the majority. But sometimes, if we choose to stop and listen to opposing views, we may gain an unexpected, new and good idea. The most important points are respecting individuality and different points of view, not disparaging others, recognizing the member’s contribution, let them know that the team consider their ideas. One of the advantages in my family team is our team does not ignore the views of anyone, that we can exchange different ideas in an equal environment. Team members can feel the team focus on them; there is a sense of belonging. Second, “expanding team self-awareness”. Kohn in his book mentions, “The essence of interpersonal empathy and effective empathetic behavior in organizations. The skill’s essential characteristics include: seeking first to understand.

Being other-oriented. Feeling “with” the other person or other people. Listening actively” (PP 109). He also mentions, “a team needs a name”. I am agreeing with this. A company’s goal or slogan often presents the spirit of their team. If a company can create the value of innovation, the employees of the enterprise can feel proud as an member of the company. such as Apple company which leading electronic technology trends, Apple’s employees that they work for change the society. And if a company needs a staff, then the staff will feel very proud, has a great sense of belonging. Also, employees that are interested in their own work and achieved excellent results, the completion of the work will bring him a sense of pride. In my family team, we also have a slogan, which is “I love my family”. We build up a group in social network, everyone can post their mood, thoughts and photos on it. Even though I am in the United States, they can know my recent life.

Third, “practicing empathy and respectfulness”. Empathy is a very important communication skill. In an enterprise, the employees may come from all over the world, and they have different backgrounds, experiences, hobbies, positions and capacity. Encountering problems, human’s nature will always proceed from their positions, and thus conflicts may arise. If the team members could be mutual understanding, standing on each other’s position envisage the problem, the contradictions may easily be mitigated. In my family team, we also meet some problems too. Sometimes during our vacation, the schedule will change occasionally, but we may didn’t come up with a backup before. Argue will begin. But luckly, the communication between my family members are patient and moderate.

We are know each other a lot and we understand our common goal is a good vacation, let everybody enjoy the vacation. And we all love our family, sometimes we are even willing to compromise our views for the harmonious atmosphere of the family. Fourth, “establishing and regulating team norms”. If a team does not have a system, then the team members do not have rules that can be followed. This is a terrible thing. Such as a game, if not the rules of the game, we do not know who are the losers who are the winner. When a project get a good harvest because of staff’s efforts, the leader should be know how to share the benefits with team members. Because to judge the leadership achievements is not focus on how much work the leader take, but what kind of performance he lead a team to be success.

Therefore, the higher the team’s achievements, the values of leadership are more obvious. When the leadership share this honor and achievement back to his staffs, the staffs will be grateful for a team and thank for they have such a leader. Fifth, “thinking laterally”, as Kohn mentions “even though task oriented project have performed in the past, and with a little thinking, they will be done the same way in the immediate future… solutions that work tend to be and should be repeated. However, clients or organizations themselves have a need for innovation. They are looking for far more than simple bodies with requisite skills to handle tasks that keep the operation running smoothly” (PP 142). I really appreciate this point of view; this is my favorite part in this book. Because of I am very interested in creativity and novelty. I even think that human development and invention cannot be separated from the creativity and innovation. Lateral thinking is to bring vitality and creativity.

Employees’ lateral thinking lead the company can often produce surprising. Sixth, “entrusting team members with appropriate roles”. It is very important for an effective team to put a right person in a right position. A team leader should know how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the team members, and to arrange them in the most appropriate position, so that they can stimulate their fullest potential. An employee is a non-essential role; the employee is not the role of positioning. Role of career planning is a basic, workers must consciously and autonomy in accordance with the role planning to develop themselves, had better establish a roles incentives. According to this mechanism, perhaps their subordinates’ jobs cannot go beyond the manager, but as a good role, work independently, the remuneration may surpass manager; according to the manager’s role responsibilities analysis the subordinates are more competent, there must be a mechanism to enhance the subordinates.

Above all of six habits, I have a clearer understanding of efficient team. Efficient team has a development goals to complete the task, the mutual trust of the team members under a effective leadership, good communication, work together positively. The building of an efficient team can be carried out from the following aspects. Through systematic analyzes, help the team member understand themselves in depth, explicit team members have advantages and disadvantages, work preferences, their different way to solve problems, the basic values ​​of differences; final get formed share the same beliefs and consistent view of the purpose of the team between the team members, in order to establish the rules of the game to running a team.

The team also needs to provide education opportunities for employees and listen to the employees’ views, encourage employees’ creativity. An effective team needs division of labor and cooperation. Enhanced the leadership. First, leaders must be a good example, to cohesion a team fully. Also, team cohesion is invisible spiritual strength, the cohesion of the team from the inner dynamics of the team members, from the consensus values. If we can use the value to lead the team, the team will be more effectively.


Kohn S, O’Connell V. 6 Habits Of Highly Effective Teams [e-book]. Career Press; 2007. Available from: eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), Ipswich, MA. Accessed November 27, 2012.

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