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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Understanding and Utilizing Lean and Six Sigma in the Histology Laboratory. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Negative Team Interactions

Team leaders, especially during the storming phase, should be alert for signals that a team is developing some negative team dynamics. Negative patterns of interactions between team members can completely stall progress of the team on project tasks and cause the project deadlines to not be met. Team leaders must identify and direct team members from the negative behaviors listed below to keep the focus of the team on the team goals.
Negative Behaviors
Groupthink: Hyper-avoidance of conflict in which some members are intimidated and just go along with the majority whether they agree or not.
Withdrawal: Some people don't participate or just "shut down."
Interrupting: Automatically discrediting the opinions of others in the group.
Going off on tangents: Off topic discussion which stalls the progress of the group.
Personal argument: Differences of opinion that are taken personally; these can cause group division and are a non-productive direction.
Suggested Solutions
Groupthink: Appoint a "devil's advocate" and encourage brainstorm sessions.
Withdrawal: Include everyone by going around the room for everyone's input and have people write down ideas rather than have them speak them.
Tangents: Make notes of tangent topics in an off-topic "parking lot" for later discussion and then redirect everyone to the meeting agenda.
Personal/emotional conflicts: Facilitate a separate meeting between the parties with the conflict; remind the entire group of team norms and expectations.
The goal of the team leader is to respect team norms, each individual, and to redirect the focus of the team to the project goals and meeting agenda.