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Working in groups and teams
Working in groups and teams

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5.5 Task and maintenance activities

One way of monitoring the successful functioning of teams is to look at two different types of behaviours. Task behaviours are those that aim to achieve the project or overall tasks set. Maintenance behaviours are those that keep the team running smoothly. It is important that both types of behaviours are present. Some examples are shown in Table 3.

Table 3 Task- and maintenance-orientated behaviours
Task Maintenance
Proposing: Proposing ideas or courses of action that help the achievement of the task Gatekeeping: Making a positive attempt to bring a person into the discussion or making an equally clear attempt to prevent a person from being excluded
Building: Adding to other people’s proposalsEncouraging: Behaving or responding in a warm and friendly way
Disagreeing: Contesting proposals that seem to be misconceived and might work against the achievement of the taskResolving conflict: Being ready to compromise and accept what others want to do
Giving and seeking information: Providing data and opinions relevant to the task achievementGiving feedback: Giving position feedback on feelings and opinions
Summarising: Summarising a discussion or the group’s progressRecognising feelings: In general, recognising that people have personal feelings about their work

Finding a balance between the two types of behaviours can be difficult. Managers may need to work hard to control the emergence of individuals’ personal interests, motivations and agendas which can be detrimental to team working. Trust between team members can help individuals to suppress their personal interests for the good of team development and performance.