Team Principles

McIntyre and Salas (1995) offer the premise that “the type of work carried out by teams is often so critical to the mission of the employing organization, or even to its survival, that some level of guidance, even preliminary, may be useful for improving team effectiveness” (p. 11). McIntyre and Salas offer the following team principles in their chapter titled, Measuring and Managing for Team Performance: Emerging Principles From Complex Environments, in Guzzo and Salas’ (1995) book titled, Team Effectiveness and Decision Making in Organizations. These twenty (20) principles are divided into three categories: What is Teamwork, Team Leadership, and Individual Team Members’ Roles.


Category 1 – What Is Teamwork?

  1. Teamwork means that members monitor one another’s performance.
  2. Teamwork implies that members provide feedback to and accept it from one another.
  3. Teamwork involves effective communication among members, which often involves closed-loop communication.
  4. Teamwork implies the willingness, preparedness, and proclivity to back fellow members up during operations.
  5. Teamwork involves group members’ collectively viewing of themselves as a group whose success depends on their interaction.
  6. Teamwork means fostering within-team interdependence.
  7. Teamwork is characterized by a flexible repertoire of behavioral skills that vary as a function of circumstances.
  8. Teams change over time.
  9. Teamwork and taskwork are distinct.

Category 2 – Team Leadership

  1. Team leadership makes a difference with respect to the performance of the team.
  2. Team leaders vary on level of expertise in the operation and on readiness to lead a team.
  3. Team leaders must “know their stuff” and be willing to listen to other team members who have special expertise.
  4. Team leaders serve as models of teamwork.
  5. An important part of a team leader’s job is to provide feedback.
  6. The style of the leader moderates the degree of successful feedback to the team.
  7. Team leaders who are respected by team members are effective.

Category 3 – Individual Team Members’ Roles

  1. Team effectiveness requires individual team members to acquire a certain level of competence in their specific assigned team tasks, before the team training itself.
  2. There is often no system for ensuring that individual team members will attain the prerequisite knowledge and skills.
  3. Some teams pass through team training on the strength of a few individuals’ effort, and not as a result of teamwork.
  4. Team members need to know the task of those others with whom they interact during team operations.




McIntyre, R. M. & Salas, E. (1995). Measuring and managing for team performance: Emerging principles from complex environments. In Guzzo, R. A., Salas, E. & Associates (Eds.), Team Effectiveness and Decision Making in Organizations(pp.9-45). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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