TEAMWORK

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TEAMWORK
in Cooperative Extension Programs


















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Acknowledgements


This booklet has been prepared as part of a national project on
"Teamwork in Cooperative Extension Programs." The project was conducted
by the Division of Program and Staff Development, University of
Wisconsin-Extension, under a grant from the ECOP 4-H Subcommittee's
Standing Committee on Staff Development.
As authors, we wish to express appreciation to those who have offered
support and valuable insights by serving as consultants for the
project-especially our colleagues in Wisconsin, Virginia and Iowa; graduate
students-Deb Russler and Linda Parker; Dr. John Banning and Dr. Scott
Soder.
A special 'thank you' is extended to the many Extension agents across
the country who attended the Regional Association Presidents' Workshops,
1980. Their reactions to draft materials and suggestions for further project
development were most encouraging and helpful.

Terry L. Gibson
Jeanne Moore
E. J. Lueder


September, 1980









University of Wisconsin-Extension, Gale L. VandeBerg, Director, in
Cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture publishes this
information to further the purpose of the May 8 and June 30, 1914 Acts of
Congress and provides equal opportunity in employment and training.


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Introduction


This booklet is intended specifically for use by County Extension
professionals including secretarial staff, but is appropriate for all individuals
interested in strengthening their Extension teamwork relationships (4-H
committees, home economics committees, Agricultural Extension councils, ad-
visory groups, area/state or national staff, etc.).
Although many examples of positive teamwork relationships can be
identified, there is always an opportunity for staff to improve their understanding
of and support for a teamwork approach to programming. This booklet is
designed to do just that. It is our hope that ideas and activity suggestions
presented will promote and/or strengthen positive attitudes on your part toward
team efforts in Extension programming.
This booklet attempts to answer the following questions about
teamwork, as well as suggest numerous activities that will help you begin to
assess your attitudes and working relationships. This is however, just a
beginning. Actual development of your teamwork skills will require additional
time and effort, so we leave that up to you!

Teamwork ... What Are Your Beliefs and Attitudes?

Team Building Opinionaire -- Provides the reader with an opportunity to
become aware of his/her own attitudes and beliefs about teamwork

Teamwork ... Why?

Rationale for a Team Approach -- Describes the importance of and
need for teamwork in Extension

Teamwork ... What Is It?

Dimensions of Involvement -- Defines teamwork as a continuum of
alternative relationships among Extension professionals

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Teamwork . . . What Influences It?

Variables In the Current Extension Situation That Influence Teamwork Efforts-
Identifies organizational and individual variables in brief outline form,
as cited from interviews with selected Extension personnel

Factors That Promote and Hinder Working Relationships -- Lists factors which
Extension personnel feel promote or hinder positive working
relationships

Teamwork ... Is It Effective?

Attributes of Ideal Teamwork Relationships -- Describes characteristics and
skills necessary for effective team relationships

Team Building and Working in Groups-Offers a series of questions to guide a
group in organizing for teamwork

Teamwork ... How Does It Develop?

Stages of Team Development -- Explains seven stages through which staff
units pass as they become effectively functioning teams

Teamwork ... How Does Your Team Rate?

Team Assessment Too/ -- Series of 35 statements to help a group assess its
teamwork relationships in seven key areas


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Teamwork .... What Are Your Beliefs and Attitudes?

Let's begin by considering the most important element of teamwork-how
you feel about it! Teamwork depends not only on your skills, but on your attitudes
as well.
Completing the following Team Building Opinionaire should help you
become more aware of your own thoughts before looking at other ideas
presented in this booklet.

Team Building Opinionaire

Instructions: Read each statement once. Indicate whether you agree (+)
or disagree (-) with it. It should take you no more than 5- 10
minutes to complete this exercise. There are no right or wrong
answers.

If you wish, share and compare your answers with other team members.
Try to arrive at a consensus with them on each statement. You may
change the wording to aid such agreement, if you desire. Such an
activity may initiate a "lively" discussion and help your team become
openly aware of individual members' beliefs and attitudes.

1. Teamwork stifles creativity and individuality.

2. Members should be required to attend meetings to set team
goals and discuss team problems.

3. Personal goals can be accomplished through teamwork.

4. It is sometimes necessary to ignore the feelings of others in
order to reach a team decision.

5. In teamwork, conflict should always be avoided.

6. A silent member of the group is not interested in working as a
team.

7. The person in the group with the highest status in the
organization should always take the leadership role.

8. In teamwork, it is important and necessary to allow time for
discussion and agreement on operating procedures.

9. Every team member has a contribution to make toward the
group task.

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10. In teamwork, "majority rule" applies.

11. Teamwork always involves working toward a common goal.

12. A good team member provides emotional support to all other
members.

13. Every team needs a leader/coordinator.

14. Teamwork accomplishes a task more effectively and efficiently
than individual efforts.

15. Every team member should contribute equally toward ac-
complishing the task.

16. If a team fails to accomplish a task, it is the fault of the
leader/coordinator.

17. A primary concern of all team members should be to establish
an atmosphere where all feel free to express their opinions.

18. Final power in teamwork always rests with the leader/
coordinator.

19. There are often occasions when an individual who is part of
the team should do what he/she thinks is right, regardless of
what the team has decided to do.

20. All members must be committed to the team approach to
accomplish the task.




Teamwork .... Why?

Rationale for a Team Approach

Teams are a part of everyone's life. You're a member
of a family team, an Extension staff team, church, school,
and community teams. So it's appropriate that you understand
how to function effectively as a team member.
In Extension especially, there is a need for teamwork.
Extension clientele are confronted with increasingly complex
problems with many dimensions. For example, the energy
problem has implications for Extension programming in
agriculture, family living, community development and youth
development programs for both rural and urban people.

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The multi-dimensional and thus multi-discipline nature of many
problems requires a team approach. This approach encourages you as staff
with complementary skills and competencies, to coordinate your efforts. By
establishing priorities, concentrating financial resources, and combining
knowledge and expertise, you can have greater impact on serious problems
through your program efforts. Such efforts can serve to 1) lighten your work
load, 2) reduce duplication of efforts, and 3) produce a result greater than all
of your separate efforts.




Teamwork .... What Is It?

In Extension programming, a variety of working relationships exist
among staff. You might view these relationships as dimensions (levels) of
involvement or as a continuum of relationships among agents. As you move
along the continuum, the degree of communication, integration and
commitment seems to increase.
Greater interpersonal skills are necessary if you are to work together
effectively at more complex levels. As your skills develop, more options
become available to you regarding the dimension of involvement which you
might select for any particular program effort.
There is no intent to place a value judgment upon this continuum, but
merely to suggest that alternative working relationships exist. Not all programs
should be planned and conducted by the total county staff. Other options are
available. Some programs may be more effective if planned by individuals,
some may require the resources of several staff members, including state
specialists and volunteers, and still others may be most effective if planned
and conducted by the entire staff.
These dimensions of involvement should be considered a part of our
definition for teamwork. Too often we think

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of a team as a group (a collection of people) who interact to
achieve a common goal, but an effective, well-functioning team
is much more than this. Participants in an effective team care
about the group's well-being. They skillfully combine appropriate
individual talents with a positive team spirit to achieve results.
Regardless of whether the program effort is that of an individual,
several individuals or the entire county office unit, a climate of
teamwork can exist.
Viewing teamwork in this way encourages a broader
understanding of the concept. It not only suggests that there are
alternative working relationships for agents in their programming
efforts, but that regardless of the approach selected, a climate of
teamwork can be created.
Can you identify dimensions of the continuum that you
have used in your programming efforts? Are there some you
have never considered? Are there some you might try?



Teamwork .... What Influences It?

As a part of this national project on teamwork, extensive
interviews were conducted with selected Extension personnel to
determine what influences their teamwork efforts. People
interviewed included district directors, state program leaders,
state 4-H youth specialists, and county staff from both rural and
urban situations in Iowa, North Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota,
Michigan and Wisconsin, Virginia, and Canada.
As a result of these interviews, the following variables
were identified as elements that affect teamwork efforts. Al-
though they have been separated into two general categories --
organizational and individual --there are interrelationships among
all the variables described.
How do some of these variables affect your working re-
lationships? Do they influence them positively or negatively?

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Variables In the Current Extension Situation
That Influence Teamwork Efforts

A. Organizational
1. Approaches to programming-vary among program
areas
2. Continuing professional development-philosophy of
organization
3. Administrative support
4. Staff turnover
5. New staff orientation
6. Number of staff within working unit (team)

B. Individual
1. Understanding of and commitment to a teamwork
philosophy
2. Personalities and attitudes of agents
3. Climate of openness and communication
4. Procedural guidelines for staff functioning
5. Leadership and management skills within county off ice
6. Degree of familiarity with alternative approaches for
effectively working and programming together
7. Perceptions of roles/responsibilities/functions among
team members
8. Time available as a resource



















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