Working as a team in a group situation is likely to be a common situation for most people these days, with many workplaces taking an increased interest in employees working as a cohesive group, towards a common goal. Great teamwork has many proven benefits including increased participation, motivation, communication, performance and productivity. However recognising how team dynamics can affect the outcome of the group is just as important for both team members and leaders.
Team dynamics are often complex, resulting from the convergence of many different personalities, behaviours and opinions. Even with all of the best; intentions, team building activities and team members, a great team doesn’t always just happen, poor team dynamics can sabotage success and productivity levels, causing a significant dent in the desired results.
What Are Team Dynamics?
Team dynamics refer to the unconscious behavioural impact of different team members on the relationships and performance of the team as a whole. Positive team dynamics can improve overall team performance, poor team dynamics can have the opposite effect.
Some of the common causes of poor team dynamics are:
- Poor leadership.
- Fear of disagreeing with authority.
- Deliberately disruptive behaviour.
- Adopting an “agreeing with the group” mentality.
- Reduced participation (allowing others to do all the work).
- Fear of being unable to express true opinions.
Strategies For Improving Team Dynamics
In the workplace poor team dynamics can disrupt workflow, hinder decision making and have a negative effect on morale so it makes sense to put some time and effort into building a good team.
- Get To Know Each Other. Spending time together as a cohesive group is vital to building a great team. Ensure there are opportunities for team members to get to know each other outside of the workplace, encouraging a greater understanding of each others personalities and backgrounds.
- Quickly Identify Potential Issues. Look out for early signs of group performance issues, early intervention and resolution will prevent unnecessary escalation of an issue. Act quickly when recognising unhelpful individual behaviour, discuss the impact of this behaviour and encourage change.
- Clearly Define Roles And Responsibilities. A lack of team direction or focus could quickly lead to poor team dynamics. Confusion about what a person’s role is within the group or what it is the group has to achieve will cause uncertainty, leading to mistrust within the group.
- Focus On Communication. Keeping communication lines open is the key to good team dynamics, all team members must be kept up to date and informed at all times, don’t risk creating a feeling of being ‘left out’ among team members.
Good team dynamics mean everyone is on an equal footing, information flows freely between team members and talents and expertise are identified and utilised for the benefit of the team. More often than not the behaviour associated with poor team dynamics can be overcome if caught early on, next time team work is required in your workplace, think about how you can make a positive difference to the team dynamics and help create a successful outcome.