Team leader structuring for team effectiveness and team learning in command-and-control teams

Due to their crucial and highly consequential task, it is of utmost importance to understand the levers leading to effectiveness of multidisciplinary emergency management command-and-control (EMCC) teams. We argue that the formal EMCC team leader needs to initiate structure in the team meetings to support organizing the work as well as facilitate team learning, especially the team learning process of constructive conflict. In a sample of 17 EMCC teams performing a realistic EMCC exercise, including one or two team meetings (28 in sum), we coded the team leader’s verbal structuring behaviors (1,704 events), rated constructive conflict by external experts, and rated team effectiveness by field experts. Results show that leaders of effective teams use structuring behaviors more often (except asking procedural questions) but decreasingly over time. They support constructive conflict by clarifying and by making summaries that conclude in a command or decision in a decreasing frequency over time.