I had the chance to be a guest lecture this week at the University of Sydney, delivering a lecture on “Effective Team Work” to 2nd year speech pathology students. A first experience for me but an enjoyable one. We started with a conversation on what they thought a great team “looks” like, followed by a bit of Team theory including Lencioni’s Team Dysfunctions and Bruce Tuckman’s stages of team development (Forming, Storming,Norming & Performing). We then moved on to talk about a few key team behaviours such as Asking Questions, Active Listening, Trust, Assertive Confrontation and Giving Feedback.

For many of the students this was the first time they had been exposed to such topics, but they great thing is they were all very receptive and being university students were keen to learn!

One question from the audience was “Doesn’t moving through the four stages of team development depends on having a good leader? If the leader is a narcissist then a good team will not form”. I think this is spot on, you can be the best team member in the world, but if the leader is holding things back, then perhaps there is not much hope for the team. On the flip side, we cannot discount the ability of the team to pull the leader into line. In other words, there is always hope that a great team will form, even with a poor leader. But the best part about the lecture is that these students know what a great team looks like, and now have a basic idea about how they contribute to a great team. I hope the university continues this kind of eduction, equipping them for a challenging life in the workplace!