Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Team Dynamics: Fostering Communication & Promoting Cooperation

1. Overview

  • Promote clear communications with succinct, direct, and unique statements
  • Encourage effective communications by promoting team cohesiveness and ensuring collective understanding
  • Improve communications by using cooperative rather than competitive strategies
  • Cooperation is displayed by performing assigned roles, working together, and directing efforts toward a common goals
  • Deal with rudeness by investigating the behavior; confronting the behavior; deciding whether or not to respond; offering support

2. Promote Clear Communications By. . .

  • Stating or restating purpose/goals to ensure focus on priorities
  • Discussing one topic at a time
  • Leading with the main point 
  • Making the point clearly and concisely
  • Keeping the message simple
  • Using short direct statements
  • Avoiding long-winded indirect arguments
  • Adding unique concepts (not repeating what others have said)
  • Stating decisions clearly to ensure understanding
  • Providing regular feedback to maintain focus on goals

3. Encourage Effective Communications By. . .

  • Promoting team cohesiveness
    • Recognize both personal and team goals
    • Commit to transparency (no hidden agendas)
    • Accept different opinions and perspectives
  • Ensuring collective understanding
    • Assess team members’ familiarity with information
    • Share all pertinent information (both positive and negative)
    • Confirm the meaning of common words across different professions

4. Improve Communications By. . .


  • Focusing on your perceptions instead of  judging or accusing team members
  • Being problem oriented rather than controlling
  • Clarifying your needs and including team members in finding a solution instead of having ulterior motives
  • Conveying empathy for team members rather than indifference
  • Empowering team members and valuing their contributions instead of making them feel inferior or inadequate
  • Acknowledging other points of view and possibilities instead of being narrow minded and unwilling to listen

5. Foster Team Cooperation By. . .

  • Putting team needs first
  • Respecting and trust each other
  • Seeking out and share information
  • Incorporating and act on team members’ suggestions
  • Accepting and perform unpleasant tasks positively
  • Following through on action items
  • Completing individual tasks on time
  • Helping team members complete tasks, if necessary

6. Deal With Personal Attacks, Disrespect, and Antisocial Behavior By. . .

  • Investigating the behavior and addressing the underlying issues
    • Judge the person’s rudeness fairly (Was it a blind spot or malicious?)
    • Investigate the reason behind the rudeness by simply asking “Why are you treating me this way?”
    • Attempt to understand the person’s perspective
      • Address the root cause concealed behind the rudeness
  • Confronting the behavior 
    • Call the person out on their inappropriate behavior in a polite, firm manner
    • Summarize the behavior so the person can realize how inappropriate it was
      • Avoid over analysis of the situation if confrontation doesn’t result in change
  • Deciding whether or not to respond
    • Take the power out of the rudeness by not taking it personally (even if it was meant that way)
    • Ignore the behavior, keep your dignity in tact, and refuse to escalate the situation
    • Remove yourself from the situation or limit contact
    • Realize that you can’t change other people
    • Refuse to engage habitual offenders; allow them to figure out their own issues
  • Supporting the individual when possible
    • Offer immediate help to resolve a frustrating situation
    • Increase your value to the person by becoming a problem solver
    • Resolve to remain professional and pleasant while offering assistance

7. Additional Reading

The Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library
Questions? Ask us.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

The George Washington University