A posting on the Psychology Today website (2018, JUN 14) suggests that the Chernobyl nuclear disaster was a failure of teamwork. Professor Peter Coleman of Columbia University ‘cherry-picks’ what he calls “5 most actionable insights from decades of research on teams”.
1. First impressions and the initial emotional climate are important as they tend to persist and become very difficult to change.
2. Psychological safety is characterised as a belief held by team members that ideas may be freely expressed without fear of embarrassment or ridicule, which is indicative of a thriving team.
3. Conflict and disagreement are seen as essential and under the right circumstances contribute to improvement and innovation.
4. A positive emotional reservoir is seen as necessary to enable the team to withstand adversity and manage conflict.
5. As with evolution adaption is seen as necessary for survival in a team environment, but there must be a balance between adaption and integrity.
In the context of this last observation professor Coleman draws a parallel to the current polarized political situation in Washington, where some politicians change their minds with every opinion poll, while at the other extreme others cling rigidly to a dogmatic ideology. Neither represent a recipe for success. Adaption must be tempered with integrity.