What does it mean to get the best out of your team? In our view, it’s about unleashing the power of your team to achieve greater performance in a way that is sustainable, efficient and engaging.
The first step to achieving this is to understand the team dynamics that are either promoting or hindering this performance.
What are team dynamics?
Team dynamics is a pretty broad subject but essentially it refers to the unconscious forces impacting team behavior and performance. It can refer to the specific dynamics of a team at different life-cycle phases or the dynamics as relative to different ingredients required for success. A good example of a team dynamic model is Bruce Tuckman’s 1965 ‘Tuckman’s stages for a group’ outlining the classic four stages of development from forming, storming, norming and performing. Another example is the Belbin team roles designed by Dr. Meredith Belbin who discovered nine team roles critical to team success.
Sarah – do you need to put your view of it here as I feel it is a bit lacking from ‘The Performance Team’ point of view.
Why team dynamics matter.
When you Google “Team dynamics” you get approximately 11 million results – so there is a lot of commentary, theory and ideas on this subject.. However, compare that to ‘team innovation’ as a search topic and this gets a whopping 385 million hits. Team innovation is highly valuable as businesses are looking to their teams to create more innovative disruptive ways of thinking to keep them ahead of the competition. What is not widely known is that if you want team innovation, it is the unknown forces of team dynamics that will promote or hinder innovation regardless of which type of innovation system or process you implement.
From our experience, teams with high functioning dynamics stay ahead of their game. This is further reinforced by Gallup’s research which found that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share.
An engaged team is one that has conditions favorable for effective team performance, where individuals are committed, passionate and will go above and beyond to contribute to the organisation’s success. People don’t often put team dynamics and engagement in the same sentence but when you consider that one of the most important conditions for success is how well people relate to each other it makes sense that team dynamics is a key factor of engagement.
How can good leadership affect team dynamics?
Team dynamics is an area of business performance that has been undervalued and relegated to a somewhat pointless but entertaining exercise of team building. Good leadership recognises that to get the higher value outputs from your team such as innovation, collaboration and engagement, you need great team dynamics. Good leadership also takes time to consider what is impacting their team’s performance in positive and negative ways. Including, their own leadership style and level of Emotional Intelligence.
A practical approach to team dynamics.
The Performance Team has created A model of team dynamics that enables you to view your leadership and team’s dynamics against two critical ingredients of high performance;
1) connection; and
2) clarity.
The benefit of this approach is that you can use this as a diagnostic model and a planning tool from both perspectives.
A round up on why team dynamics matter.
Getting the best out of your team must include an understanding of team dynamics. It makes good business sense that the more you understand the hidden elements of your team’s performance and how your leadership guides this, the greater clarity and insight you’ll have to make powerful change and also take your team to the next level as a high performing team.
For an in depth understanding of Team Dynamics check out our book THE POWER OF TEAM
Sarah Friis is an author, facilitator and mentor of high performance teams. She has recently published “The Power of Team – A practical guide to breakthrough performance”. Sarah has a Masters in Psychology and is co-founder of Workshops4teams.com, a leading global team resource dedicated to unleashing the power of team. www.workshops4teams.com