Team Dynamics

Have you ever just sat back and taken an assessment of your team? Thought about how well they work together (or not)? Tried to figure out how to get the team more productive? As managers, that is our biggest role in really getting our team to perform better. The better the team performance definitely demonstrates a better manager. Some would argue that maybe the manager does not play a big part in the overall performance of a team, but I do. All it takes is to look at a failing team and how quickly is it blamed on the manager. Sports usually fire the manager before it rids itself of players. Same holds true for business types, just not in the news as much. Give credit for good managers having performing teams.

So what all goes into a solid team? What can you as a manager do to have the greatest impact? For me, there are a number of web based tools out there that can help you walk through an assessment of your team’s dynamics. Do a Bing or Google search – I have used many different types. There is not one that I have found that is a great one stop shop that I would recommend over the others. Each assessment tool is just that a tool to help you identify areas of potential work that needs to be done. First and foremost, you as the manager, need to find a quiet spot and clear your head of everything. You need to really be honest with “your” assessment of your team. Remember the end goal is to make your team perform better, rather than making you think they are better. Once you are ready, grab one of those assessments and walk through your team’s dynamics.

What did you find? I have written my Leadership Checklist to help me (and others) to help make sure that the manager (you) are doing your part in the process. Look it over, hopefully you are doing those and everything else.

One of the areas that I want this post to focus on is something that most assessment really struggle to cover. It centers on how tight the friendships are with your team. I want you to think back when you were growing up with your friends. When there were two friends working together was fairly easy. Do you have only a two person team? Normally not. So, when a third friend came in, how did that go? Usually after awhile stuff ended up two against one. Do you have a three person team? Probably not. Add more folks to the mix and the team starts to break up in to smaller sub teams. Something to watch out for. That is not always a bad thing, if the team is working for the good of all…

Friendships have its positive effects:

  • Friends usually communicate better together. Drawing others into the discussions. Gives the team a good “social” feel. People usually enjoy working together. Which has an impact on behavior and results.

There are negative effects as well:

  • With a team of 3 or more there is a feeling of being excluded. Remember growing up… Maybe it was not you feeling excluded, but did someone feel excluded? Causing not all of the team to participate in decision-making. You can easily start to have sub-groups forming. Causing communication to further breakdown. Now information will not flow freely among the team. The teams overall performance will suffer, count on it.

When you are sitting down thinking about your team and that assessment, remember to revisit the natural factors of friendship and how it will influence the overall team. With the positive you would rather have inclusion… Exclusion is just plain wrong.

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