group climate Group climate consists of the overall sentiment that is displayed within a group. This includes the aspects of honesty, openness, consistency and respect according to “Teamwork” by Lefasto and Larson. When evaluating the characteristics of group climate in a team, the most prevalent component to examine is trust. Trust yields respect, acknowledgement, cohesiveness, a bridge between cultural differences and above all else, sensitivity to ideas being expressed so a consensus can be reached. However, as pointed out by “Teamwork”, trust is extremely fragile. If trust can be maintained and not breached, a team has defeated one of the few obstacles that inhibit the team from attaining their ultimate goal.
This is because trust breeds belief in other team members, respect in their actions, and efficiency, as the group will not have to spend extra time ironing out problems that may arise when a breach of trust occurs. Due to trust’s fragility, a breaking of trust can come do to a number of seemingly insignificant circumstances. Such circumstances include a member coming late to a meeting, not being prepared, presenting illogical and not well thought-out ideas, inconsistency in behavior, holding back opinions, etc. In order to avoid such circumstances, team members must have a clear vision of their goal and have a certain degree of zeal concerning the purpose of their task. To create these two ideals, it is suggested that the first activity a group collaborates to achieve is a meeting in which all team members contribute suggestions to come up with a clear, relevant task. Furthermore, establishing mutual and interesting grounds for completing the task at hand will hopefully promote such zeal.
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If these two ingredients exist, then the other aspects of trust should fall into place. Members should be eager to attend meetings, contribute ideas and prepare delegated assignments. In order to evaluate group climate and the level of trust present, we devised this tool (refer to climate tool).
By using this tool, we specifically examined different aspects of what we considered “beneficial criteria” to effective group climate and “detrimental criteria” to effective group climate.
The tool was divided into two sections in order to evaluate both good and bad displays of climate by individual members, as opposed to, simply measuring all positive aspects and not taking into account harmful communication. Team members were graded by subtracting their detrimental points accrued from their beneficial points. A maximum score would have been a 24. While Aaron clearly contributed the most to his group and scored the highest on beneficial points with a 23, he wound up scoring third highest on the total score after losing points for, creating tension, occasionally blocking ideas by insisting on specific goals, and not always staying 100% on task. The point being made is that, in order to fully help a group’s climate, it extremely important to acknowledge that while it is necessary to make beneficial contributions, one must bear in mind that it is still possible to make detrimental contributions to group climate. Such detrimental contributions must be refrained from being made..