Why are team dynamics so important? 🤷🏽♀️
The science of what makes a high-performing team still proves rather elusive, just ask Google!
Think of the most successful team you’re aware of. What is it that helps them get the results they do? If you interrogate the question hard enough we’re pretty sure you’ll end up with a list of positive attributes of the team, which appear to work in conjunction with each other to create something far greater than any single attribute could on its own. *
Here at Team O, in our quest to work to create better days at work, we’ve thought about this A LOT. What is it that gets the best out of people at work? What kind of environment makes people brave (but not reckless)? Why do some teams full of great people stagnate rather than set the world alight? Why do some teams work on paper but dissolve into disfunction in real life? Why do teams struggle to find the words to explain their culture?
We believe that everyone deserves great days at work and that we’re all more likely to have a great day at work when we feel that we’ve got a key role to play in a strong team. We believe that all teams can get there - some of you already are - and that there’s no magic ingredient. Whatever stage of team development you think you’re at, whether you’re already excelling or whether you know you’re not, there’s always something to discover. We believe that it all starts with an open, honest, conversation about what life’s really like in the team.
*Our list was long but we’ve managed to narrow it down to these, 7 inter-related dynamics of team life:
Have you got the right people with the right skills to get the job done? When did you last check? Capability is an interesting one isn’t it…we spend huge effort recruiting the most capable people we can find and can be dismayed when our capable team fail to perform as expected. Have the organisation’s requirements changed? Have skills kept pace? Are the team as invested in their personal and professional development as you are? Are one or two ‘star players’ upsetting the balance? Are people able to play to their personal strengths?
The difference between an ill-equipped team who feel overwhelmed by the scale of the demands and one motivated and united by the challenging targets ahead is vast. Where do you want your team to be?
A feeling of capability is fundamental to investing effort into a task. We don’t need to know that we can definitely do it, or that it’ll be easy, but, if we feel that it’s impossible or way beyond the limits of our capability most of us will give up before we begin.
Your individual team members need to feel that they are capable but, to truly excel, they need to have confidence in their team members’ capability too.
It’s not all about you but… as leader of the team, your conscious or unconscious cues about culture, standards and behaviour speak volumes and can be a catalyst for team greatness. It’s not about having read all the latest management books or adhering to specific theories; basically, it’s about being interested in the people around you. What do they need? Have you asked them? We can help you with that…
Like it or not, the manager or leader of a team sets the tone. Seeing that as a fantastic opportunity is a great starting point. Are you giving your team members what they need? How do you know? Exploring the impact of your behaviour, as the team see it, gets the real conversation started.
When we say it’s not all about you, this is the other side of the story. How team members work with and treat each other is, perhaps, the key identifier of your team’s health. Understanding how this plays out both within the team and at an organisational level will help you to capture, and then to amplify, your greatness!
It’s a little word, and we may take it for granted sometimes, but it’s powerful. It’s the cornerstone of safety, belonging, confidence and bravery. When it’s present and correct in a team, their potential becomes limitless. Have you got it?
Values, intent and underlying purpose
Sound a bit like hollow HR speak? (Apologies to the HR professionals amongst you, we were you, we get it.) You’d be surprised how much this stuff actually matters. When we step away from cliches and corporate initiatives it ultimately boils down to connection and engagement. Don’t we all feel a bit more excited about what we’re doing when we believe it in and it feels meaningful to us? (Rhetorical question, of course we do.)
This one may sound a bit pedestrian but, in our experience, mis-communication is at the heart of all mis-understanding - and mis-understanding is BAD. What’s expected? What do we need to do? What’s my part? What would make it even better next time? Important to know if you want a high-preforming team, no?
Teams are all too prone to self-limiting their success by skirting around ‘difficult’ conversations, artificially blocking natural, two-way, conversations and holding back. It’s not difficult to get right once you understand the real picture [and the benefits of open, honest and robust communication are tangible - just look at the teams who are great at it].
So, you know what’s going on in the team do you? Do you? Do you really? When did you last ask them?
You know that your team is excellent. Why aren’t more people paying attention? Get the conversation started and explore what’s really going on.