Team Dynamics: The biggest driver

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Team Dynamics: Why they are the biggest driver for team performance. You’ve Finally Got Your Dream Team – Or Have You?

Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. You’ve put together what looks like the perfect lineup of talent and expertise. The CVs are impressive, the interview banter flowed, and you’re buzzing to get this star team stuck into your latest project. But when another Monday morning comes around, there’s no energy in the team, your productivity is tanking and there are mutterings of people looking for new jobs. 

What’s going on?

The Importance of Team Unity

When you’re building a team, you primarily want to make sure you have all the skills and experience bases covered to deliver top-notch work. But having a group of talented individuals is only one piece of the puzzle. What’s arguably even more crucial is how well those individuals can unite, collaborate and work together towards shared goals.

You could have the most impressive roster of bright minds and high achievers. But if they constantly clash, fail to communicate effectively or pull in different directions, all that individual talent gets squandered. A disconnected, dysfunctional team will pale in comparison to a well-oiled unit that brings out the best in each other through positive team dynamics.

Signs There’s Something Wrong. 

It’s often difficulty to pin down what might be going wrong – your gut tells you things aren’t right, but you can’t seem to work out what, or who, might be the catalyst. 

• The management team are really supportive, but no one seems to listen to them and they don’t push back effectively

• The senior team don’t communicate the bigger picture, so it’s hard for the rest of the team to buy in, and understand their role

• Frustration and resentment kick in, and the gossip mill starts whirring

• People start to snip at each other, or don’t speak at all, destroying collaboration

• Middle managers start to fear for their job, and start to micromanage, leaving the team feeling disgruntled and destroying confidence

• People start to work in isolation, often duplicating the work of neighbouring teams

• Deadlines get missed, so do opportunities with new clients and supplies

• Those overworking get burned out and take more time off – or are they looking for a new job

And so it continues. 

From the fairly innocuous failure to communicate effectively, trust breaks down, people stop pulling together so delivery and productivity drop off a cliff. 

Lessons for Fostering Positive Team Dynamics

Don’t make the mistake of overlooking team dynamics in your desperation to recruit raw talent and expertise. All the skills and knowledge in the world won’t compensate for a fractured, feuding team culture.

Building positive team dynamics is essential if you want to see individuals thrive and achieve more collectively than they could apart. You need to prioritise creating an environment built on:

  • Strong, Inclusive Leadership – A manager who rules by ego and creates an atmosphere of fear will rapidly disengage their team. Or one who can’t let go of the day-to-day running creates feelings that the team aren’t trusted. Instead, you want a leader invested in bringing out the best in every individual through empowerment and psychological safety.
  • Open and Continuous Communication – Digging into every team members communication style, ways of working and understanding of themselves and others will reap rewards. We all think we are better at communication than we really are. Find out what it’s like on the other side of you and how others need to be communicated with. Regular check-ins, visibility over all workstreams, and an open dialogue policy is key.
  • Clearly Defined Roles and Goals – So much conflict can stem from confusion over responsibilities and a lack of clarity over overarching objectives as a unit. If everyone understands their part and what they’re collectively working towards, you avoid territorial behaviour.
  • A Culture of Mutual Trust and Respect – With so little goodwill or professionalism between them, a mis-firing team will constantly undermined each other in toxic ways. Building authentic team spirit and having each other’s backs is non-negotiable. 

We have all seen it – when the wrong dynamics completely derail even the most talented bunch on paper. But if you get the culture right? That’s when the magic happens and you see team members inspiring each other to truly push the boundaries. Creating a psychologically safe working environment with open and direct communication will bring the team together to work more effectively. 

When delivery and execution are working well, you can open up capacity tor even more growth. 

So go forth and assemble your all-star lineup by all means. Just don’t overlook the intangible, underrated art of crafting team dynamics that bring out the absolute best in them all. Your success depends on it.