Table 1. Primary teamwork competencies

Medical Teamwork and Patient Safety: The Evidence-based Relation

Knowledge competencies
Cue/strategy associationsThe linking of cues in the environment with appropriate coordination strategies.
Shared task models/situation assessmentA shared understanding of the situation and appropriate strategies for coping with task demands.
Teammate characteristics familiarityAn awareness of each teammate's task-related competencies, preferences, tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses.
Knowledge of team mission, objectives, norms, and resourcesA shared understanding of a specific goal(s) or objective(s) of the team as well as the human and material resources required and available to achieve the objective. When change occurs, team members' knowledge must change to account for new task demands.
Task-specific responsibilitiesThe distribution of labor, according to team members' individual strengths and task demands.
Skill competencies
Mutual performance monitoringThe tracking of fellow team members' efforts, to ensure that the work is being accomplished as expected and that proper procedures are followed.
Flexibility/adaptabilityThe ability to recognize and respond to deviations in the expected course of events, or to the needs of other team members.
Supporting/back-up behaviorThe coaching and constructive criticism provided to a teammate, as a means of improving performance, when a lapse is detected or a team member is overloaded.
Team leadershipThe ability to direct/coordinate team members, assess team performance, allocate tasks, motivate subordinates, plan/organize, and maintain a positive team environment.
Conflict resolutionThe facility for resolving differences/disputes among teammates, without creating hostility or defensiveness.
FeedbackObservations, concerns, suggestions, and requests, communicated by team members in a clear and direct manner, without hostility or defensiveness.
Closed-loop communication/information exchangeThe initiation of a message by a sender, the receipt and acknowledgement of the message by the receiver, and the verification of the message by the initial sender.
Attitude competencies
Team orientation (morale)The use of coordination, evaluation, support, and task inputs from other team members to enhance individual performance and promote group unity.
Collective efficacyThe belief that the team can perform effectively as a unit, when each member is assigned specific task demands.
Shared visionThe mutually accepted and embraced attitude regarding the team's direction, goals, and mission.
Team cohesionThe collective forces that influence members to remain part of a group; an attraction to the team concept as a strategy for improved efficiency.
Mutual trustThe positive attitude that team members have for one another; the feeling, mood, or climate of the team's internal environment.
Collective orientationThe common belief that a team approach is more conducive to problem solving than an individual approach.
Importance of teamworkThe positive attitude that team members exhibit with reference to their work as a team.

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Page last reviewed July 2005
Internet Citation: Table 1. Primary teamwork competencies: Medical Teamwork and Patient Safety: The Evidence-based Relation. July 2005. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.