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Creating Effective Teams

Creating Effective Teams
A Guide for Members and Leaders

Fifth Edition


November 2014 | 168 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
A practical guide for building and sustaining top-performing teams  

Based on the author’s many years of consulting experience with teams in the public and private sectors, Creating Effective Teams: A Guide for Members and Leaders describes why teams are important, how they function, and what makes them productive. Susan A. Wheelan covers in depth the four stages of a team—forming, storming, norming, and performing—clearly illustrating the developmental nature of teams and describing what happens in each stage. Separate chapters are devoted to the responsibilities of team leaders and team members. Problems that occur frequently in groups are highlighted, followed by what-you-can-do sections that offer specific advice. Real-life examples and questionnaires are used throughout the book, giving readers the opportunity for self-evaluation.

Chapter 1: Why Groups?
Groups Have a Long History of Success

We Need Groups Every Day

Groups Increase Our Knowledge Base

When Teams Are Good, They're Very, Very Good

Creating Effective Teams

How to Use This Book

Chapter 2: Effective Organizational Support for Teams
Plant Groups in a Favorable Organizational Climate

Give Groups What They Need to Do Their Best

Pick Members Based on Their Ability to Do the Task and Their Ability to Contribute to Group Success

Educate People for Group Participation Competence

Avoid Unsubstantiated Team Development and Consultation Strategies

Avoid Helping Groups Too Much

Make Sure That Each Group Has Enough Autonomy to Do Its Work but Remains Connected With the Rest of the Organization

Conduct Organizational Support Reviews Regularly

The Organizational Support Checklist

Chapter 3: From Groups to Teams: The Stages of Group Development
Stage 1: Dependency and Inclusion

Stage 2: Counterdependency and Fighting

Stage 3: Trust and Structure

Stage 4: Work

Surviving Group Development

Chapter 4: How Do High Performance Teams Function?
The Characteristics of High Performance Teams

10 Keys to Productivity





Communication and Feedback

Discussion, Decision Making, and Planningication

Implementation and Evaluation

Norms and Individual Differences


Cooperation and Conflict Management

Team Performance Checklist

Chapter 5: Effective Team Members
Don’t Blame Others for Group Problems

Encourage the Process of Goal, Role, and Task Clarification

Encourage the Adoption of an Open Communication Structure in Which All Member Input and Feedback Is Heard

Promote an Appropriate Ratio of Task and Supportive Communications

Promote the Use of Effective Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Procedures

Encourage the Establishment of Norms That Support Productivity, Innovation, and Freedom of Expression

Go Along With Norms That Promote Group Effectiveness and Productivity

Promote Group Cohesion and Cooperation

Effective Member Checklist

Chapter 6: Effective Team Leadership
Don’t Take On Every Leadership Assignment You Are Offered

Adjust Your Leadership Style to Meet the Developmental Needs of the Group at a Particular Time

Leadership at Stage 1: Be a Directive and Confident Leader

Leadership at Stage 2: When Members Begin to Demand More Participation in Running the Group, Slowly Begin to Empower Them

Leadership at Stage 3: Involve Members in the Leadership Function

Leadership at Stage 4: Participate as an Expert Member of Your Team

Effective Leader Checklist

Chapter 7: Navigating Stage 1
Goals of Stage 1

Concerns About Safety and Inclusion

Dependency on the Designated Leader

A Wish for Order and Structure

Chapter 8: Surviving Stage 2
Goals of Stage 2

Create a Unified Group Culture

Create a Unified and Effective Group Structure

Chapter 9: Reorganizing at Stage 3
Goals of Stage 3

Fine-Tuning Roles, Organization, and Procedures

Solidifying Positive Relationships

Chapter 10: Sustaining High Performance
Goals of Stage 4

Getting the Work Done Well

Making Decisions

Cohesion and Conflict

Maintaining High Performance

Chapter 11: Virtual Teams
Video Conferences




Virtual GDQ Online Scoring Systems

Star Trek Changed The World

Chapter 12: Recent Research
On Average, How Long Does The Development Process Take?

Does Group Size Affect Group Productivity?

Does Group Age In Months Affect Group Productivity?

How Do Work Groups, In Different Sectors Function?

Do Leadership Teams Or Membership Work Teams Function More Effectively?

A Final Thought


Full of practical suggestions for deveoping effective teams. More applied than academic, hence the adoption as a supplemental text.

Ms Fiona Jane Meechan
Health , Manchester Business School
October 19, 2016

Interesting reading

Mrs Hawwa Haide
Adult Education, hanifah Community Initiative
March 30, 2015
Key features


  • New discussion and insights for the reader on the shift from a team focus to a leader focus, which has had a negative effect on team performance and development.
  • A new chapter devoted to the challenges of virtual teams addresses team members who gather through video conferencing, LinkedIn, Skype, and other virtual methods.  
  • Updated research regarding the developmental process, group size and productivity, group age in months, and business, manufacturing, education, and healthcare.
  • Chapters reorganized to help readers learn in a more systematic way
    •  The first seven chapters are about work groups, team development, and creating high performance teams.
    • Chapters 8 and 9 focus on effective team members and leaders.
    • The last chapter examines what organizations should do to support their teams.


  • Packed with straightforward strategies for building and supporting well-managed, high-performing teams, this book examines why teams are important, how they function, and what makes them productive.
  • Discussions throughout the text focus on diversity within teams: how different ethnic and cultural groups may have differing perceptions of group interactions. The book details specific strategies for respecting divergent beliefs while remaining effective.
  • Checklists and self-evaluations provide even more information on the reader’s personal leader or team member style.
  • Research references provide readers with the theory and research background for the practical, application-based material in the text.


Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 10

For instructors

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