AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Jun/11

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Eun Kyeng Baek and SeriaShia Chatters on Improving the Dynamics of Metaevaluation Teams

Our names are Eun Kyeng Baek and SeriaShia Chatters and we are an evaluation team and doctoral students at the University of South Florida. The dynamics of a metaevaluation team can determine the overall success of a metaevaluation. Program Evaluation’s Metaevaluation Checklists help guide a metaevaluation, however the dynamics of the team must be considered when leading a metaevaluation. Here we will share a few helpful hints to help improve the dynamics of a metaevaluation team and ensure a smooth, successful metaevaluation.

Lesson learned

Communication: During metaevaluation meetings, observe and listen more than you talk

It is important to understand the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind your team members’ communication styles. Although you may be familiar with each member’s communication style outside of the team, understand that the dynamics of the team can alter individual’s communication styles and undermine the success of the metaevaluation. Since nonverbal communication dominates 75% of a person’s message, observing your team members during a meeting can provide cues to possible problems within the inner workings of your team. Encourage candid, open communication balanced with professionalism and respect for each team member.

Diversity: Embrace the diverse backgrounds of your team and utilize areas of expertise

Each team member will bring their culture, expertise, and knowledge to the table. Embrace these differences and use them to strengthen the team and the outcome of the metaevaluation. Empathetic listening is an important technique to use. Empathetic listening involves listening to understand your team member’s worldviews and allowing yourself to see the metaevaluation from their point of view.

Leadership: Recognize team member strengths and limitations

Team leaders should recognize team member strengths and limitations, and ensure each team member is assigned a task(s) that utilizes their strengths. Understanding team member roles is beneficial information to be added to the toolbox of any metaevaluation team leader. Some of the advantages of understanding team member roles include increased team effectiveness; increased team cohesion; a better understanding of the underlying dynamics associated with working in a team; and the possibility of profit increases due to better productivity.

Conflict: Employ effective, ethical methods to diffuse conflict

Team leaders should employ effective and ethical methods to diffuse conflict when they recognize difficult team members. Some useful conflict resolution techniques to have in your tool box are the art of persuasion, smoothing, and conciliation. Persuasion includes providing the other side with factual evidence on a position’s correctness and pointing out how the proposition will benefit the other side. Smoothing and conciliation involve emphasizing the similarities of two parties, pointing out common philosophies, and avoiding negative interaction. The key here is to reduce tension and increase trust between two parties.

Here’s to a smooth, successful metaevaluation!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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