Two fundamental ingredients are required to create a true team: 1) honest, open communication, and 2) a common, aligned purpose. The higher the level of emotional maturity and integrity present within an organization, the more likely these fundamentals will be present or created and the easier the process of team building will be.

In order to achieve its potential, any true team-building effort must strive to develop both cooperation (involvement with the other to enhance the self) and collaboration (involvement that considers the other’s enhancement). Optimum synergy can be attained only when collaboration exists and that only occurs when communication is not repressed. Competently dealing with repressed communication is fundamental to effective team building. (See “Dealing with Repressed Communication,” chapter 7, page 241 of THE LEADERSHIP INTEGRITY CHALLENGE, by Edward Morler.)

True collaboration only occurs at Level 6 and high Level 5. Since authentic collaboration is vital to effective team building, attempts at team building at any other level will be predictably ineffective.

Results of cooperation at Level 4 will be marginal and usually short-lived. Cooperation below Level 4 is a sham. People functioning below Level 4 have an underlying sense of overwhelm and feelings of hostility which, invariably creates separation and sabotaging behavior. Thus, cooperative efforts at these lower levels are, at minimum, disingenuous and ultimately destructive. When individuals operating at the lower levels (lack of integrity) get together, they may generate personal gain, but it inevitably will be at a significantly greater net cost to the environment. Ensuring organizational members are emotionally mature is the easiest, most efficient, and most effective way to have a truly productive and motivating team development program.

The following table (Table 6.2) presents a variety of attitudinal and behavioral characteristics for each level. It has proven useful in 1) assessing an individual’s (or group’s) emotional level,
2) anticipating behaviors not yet observed, and 3) determining the kind of communication most likely to facilitate movement up the levels.

By observing an individual’s behavior and attitude and noting on which level they fall, a pattern will begin to emerge. Most chronic behaviors will be predominantly on one level, with the remainder not more than a level above or below. Behavioral attitudes observed two or more levels above the predominate level are likely social facades.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Morler is president of Morler International, a management training and development firm specializing in integrity-based interpersonal effectiveness. His focus is the custom design and delivery of bottom-line, functional skill enhancement programs that simultaneously integrate the principles and dynamics of integrity, emotional maturity, motivation, and leadership. Examples are negotiation, client relations, and leadership development. Dr. Morler conducts trainings for corporations and government agencies worldwide.