8 Best Team Building Methods Series – Likert and Drexler/Sibbet Methods

Published Categorized as Project Team
best team building methods
best team building methods

This article is the second part of a 4 segments series on team building methods. If you have found this article through search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) I would recommend you start by reading the head piece of the series – The 8 best team building methods – to get an overall view on the topic and then follow the links to discover the entire series.

Best Team Building Methods: Likert’s Theory Of Team Management Styles

Use this to understand the role, responsibilities and relationships that you have with your team.

Rensis Likert identified four styles to describe the role, responsibilities and relationships that managers have with their team. The four styles run from autocratic despot to a first-among-equals approach to management and have clear links with style leadership.


Exploitive-autocratic: The manager has little or no trust in team members and therefore decisions are imposed with minimal consultation. Communication is top down.

Benevolent-authoritative: The manager is condescending towards the team therefore team members are very reluctant to offer ideas or suggestions. Communication upwards is censored.

Consultative: The manager has significant but not complete confidence in the team. Although there is discussion on key issues there is little doubt as to who has the final say. Communication is mostly top-down but there are signs of cautious bottom-up streams of communication.

Participative: The manager encourages free and open communication throughout the team. New ideas are welcomed. Rewards and punishments are not necessary as the team assumes full responsibility for getting things done. Everyone has absolute confidence in everyone else.

Likert’s categories clearly run from a highly task-oriented team management style to a highly people-oriented management style.


Identify which team management style you prefer. You could use Blake and Mouton’s Questionnaire to do this.

As circumstances change, analyze the situation and identify which management approach will be most effective in the new situation.

Be prepared to vary your style of management depending on circumstances. If you need something done quickly and to a precise standard then an autocratic and authoritarian approach may be required. Once the panic is over you can focus more on the democratic, participative approach. It’s all about balancing the needs of the individual, task and organization and recognizing that these are constantly changing.

Adopting the correct approach when under pressure is difficult to do. So rehearse different scenarios in your mind before you are faced by them in practice. Know how you will react, why you will react in that way, the impact that the change will have on your team and how you are going to deal with any fallout.


  • What is my default style of management?
  • Which style of management does my team respond to best?

Best Team Building Methods: Drexler/Sibbet Team Performance Model

Use this to identify the stages that a project team will go through and the key questions you need to ask at each stage.

The model was developed by Allan Drexler, David Sibbet and Russ Forrester. It consists of a seven-stage questioning process which is depicted as a bouncing ball.

Questions to ask at each stage of the process:

  • Orientation: What’s the purpose of the team and who’s going to be in it?
  • Trust building: How can I develop mutual respect, frankness and reliability among the team members?
  • Goal clarification: What are we seeking to achieve? How will I ensure that the team has a shared vision and clear unambiguous targets?
  • Commitment: How are we going to achieve our target? Do we have the right people and resources to be successful?
  • Implementation: Who does what, when and where?
  • High performance: How can we ensure that everyone is aligned behind the same objective, are well disciplined and know what they have to do?
  • Renewal: When and how will we know that our work is done?

In the stages towards the top of the diagram (the beginning and end), teams often feel a sense of freedom where there are opportunities for limitless potential and possibility. As a team moves through the middle stages there are more constraints with goals being set and decisions made about what can and can’t be included in the process.


  • Start by asking yourself and the team ‘Why are we here?’ Resolve that and you’ll get a sense of purpose, team identity and buy-in. Fail to resolve it and you will be faced with confusion, uncertainty and fear.
  • Use the questions posed in the theory at each stage of the process to help you progress to the next stage.
  • Build inter-team trust by getting members to share details of their work experiences, expectations, agendas and skills. It’s during this phase that people test each other out.
  • Build on the trust created by making sure that team members are clear about their individual roles and responsibilities and those of their colleagues.
  • Produce a detailed implementation plan which identifies who is responsible for each stage of the process.
  • Use team meetings to clarify the project’s aims and monitor progress.
  • Encourage the team to discuss their work and identify different ways of doing things. Expect some disagreement during this stage and only move on when consensus has been reached.
  • If you want your team to commit to the project and work cooperatively you must be a good role model – a case of do as I do.
  • Don’t be afraid to go back to previous stages if you need to. Remember the concept of the model as a bouncing ball and on occasions the ball can run out of steam or not bounce as expected.
  • Once the task has been completed celebrate the team’s success and discuss areas for improvement and what can be done differently next time.


  • Am I clear about the aims of the project?
  • Have I communicated that vision clearly to the team?

Closing down this article I will provide you with several links in order to explore all the content on team building methods. If you want to check out the third part of the series follow the link : Best Team Building Methods Part 3 or if you want to go to the beginning follow 8 Best Team Building Methods You Should Know.

Hope you enjoyed our content, and see you in the next one.

By Alex Puscasu

I am a Project Management practitioner with more than 5 years experience in hardware and software implementation projects. Also a bit of a geek and a great WordPress enthusiast. I hope you enjoy the content, and I encourage you to share your knowledge with the world.

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