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Team Interaction – Part 1


Coming together is a Beginning. Keeping together is Progress. Working together is Success. – Henry Ford

Most successful companies emphasize the importance of  Team work, as they realize that their success as an organization hinges on effective Team Interaction.

In a productive environment teams realize that the results of their work together makes a strong contribution to the overall goals, vision, mission and values of their company. However few are cognizant of the fact that only 25% of the challenges they will experience as a team will be task oriented.  The majority of the challenges with functioning as a team lies in the team culture and the quality and process of interaction between team members.

Aside from the formal defined supervisory roles, everyone on the team assumes a leadership role at some time or the other. Similarly every team member behaves differently depending on the dynamics that surround them.

Broadly speaking there are 2 major styles of Leadership:

1. Authoritarian

The Leader makes all the decisions
The team is task oriented
The team is governed by policy and structure
The Leader is considered the expert

2. Facilitative

The Leader works for consensus from the team members
The Leader uses intrinsic motivation e.g. praise
The Leader encourages the empowerment of the team members to solve problems and make decisions

Team member behaviour falls within 4 groups:

a. The “mummy”

A team member remains silent and chooses not to participate freely in group discussions. They can be introverted, unconfident or on the flip side could be disapproving or feel superior to the quality of the discussion taking place. As a result they either shy away or stay away from contributing to new ideas and may often get bullied into stronger members positions or demonstrate passive resistance to those ideas.

b. The ‘ windbag”

Often the first person to speak on any issue, always has an opinion on everything and is not afraid to voice it. This type of team member tends to comment on anything too frequently and often tends to dominate the conversation. People often tune them out as soon as they start to speak.

c. The “Rambler”

This team member often gets sidetracked. They may start with one task and end up with another- in conversation they often joke around without getting to the point. When pushed to make one, they use far fetched, low probability examples to make a point.

d. The “homesteader”

This is the team member  who will take an initial position on the subject under discussion and is highly reluctant to budge from his stance and will usually not consider other viable alternatives.

Now consider a blend of Leadership styles and team Behaviour styles and you will see how interaction between team members could be negatively impacted.

The secret to handling Team interaction successfully, lies in being able to recognize the combination of styles and learning how to deal with each.

Essentially it lies in Knowing when to hold them, when to fold them, when to walk away and when to run for the hills.

What are your thoughts for managing the interaction as evidenced by the different  styles described above? What has worked for you?

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Categories : Team Dynamics


  1. ali anani says:

    Dear Joyce,

    In appreciation of this important work, I referenced it in my todays publication on slideshare. The title of my presentation is “Ripened teams- lessons from plants”. I refer you particularly to slides 22 and 23.
    The link is

    I would love to read your comment and whether you are in agreement or not.

    • Joyce says:

      Dear Ali,
      That is a very unique and intelligently composed presentation indeed. I agree, a team has to be well tended in order to be nurtured to success. Thank you for the reference to my article, Here’s another one on Teams and Redwood trees that I wrote a while back that is in keeping with your approach-

      • ali anani says:

        Dear Joyce, do you mind if you would copy and paste your great comment to my slideshare (ss) presentation? I am analyzing comments and I need your comment there. Besides, I want ss readers to become more aware of your great website. I plan to reference your second post soon, the I one that you referred me above.
        Thank you for your kind words

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