How Teams Works: A Straightforward Developmental Hypothesis

Much is made of teams these days, and rightfully so: they are the backbone of putting in place distributed leadership in organizations. New research offers a very straightforward hypothesis consisting of 3 parts:

  1. teams comprise different developmental levels, thus are “developmentally mixed”
  2. teams ‘think’: their work is based on analyzable and coachable movements-in-thought
  3. teams follow behavioral needs (and associated pressures on them) that are anchored in the psychological profile — self concept, approach to tasks, emotional intelligence — of their individual members.
  4. teams’ ‘meaning making’ is more strongly “social” than “emotional”, compared to individuals, and thus more strongly intertwined with the fluidity of their cognitive functioning.

When you put these seemingly simple pieces together, as Jan De Visch and I have done in our recent book entitled “Dynamic Collaboration” found at —  you reap very sophisticated insights not only into how teams function but also into what you can do to make them work better.

Author: Otto Laske

I am the founder and director of IDM, the Interdevelopmental Institute. My background is in philosophy, psychology, consulting, and coaching based on developmental theory to which I have mightily contributed myself. See the blogs at