In my time as a manager, I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of team dynamics, and I’ve seen the serious impact that problematic team dynamics can have on organisations. Performance and productivity drops, conflict arises, people leave, and this continues until someone breaks the cycle. In this podcast, I want to talk about how team dynamics can impact on productivity and how I can help you break the cycle.
Hi, I’m Nicola from The People Mentor.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably witnessed and experienced the effects of good and bad dynamics in teams, whether you’ve worked somewhere where you had a great boss who carefully nurtured relationships with employees, or you had to navigate working with some difficult personalities who just didn’t get on.
Team dynamics are really important because even though their importance is often played down, they can affect everything from profitability to motivation, productivity, performance, and staff retention.
They’re a big deal. Team dynamics can either be good for the business, or they can be bad. Good interpersonal relationships and an awareness of each other’s strengths can create an environment where teams perform well and you get the best out of everyone, but where personalities clash and there’s a lack of trust and communication, you’ll find conflict and poor performance.
Dynamics can have a huge impact on the way a team works.
So what are team dynamics in a nutshell?
Well, they are the things that are going on underneath, maybe that we aren’t conscious of, that influence behaviour and performance.
This could be things like personalities within the team and how they work alongside others, the working environment, and even the work itself.
The team dynamics are like an undercurrent that can carry your boat one way or the other; maybe completely in the opposite direction to which you intended.
I want to give you some examples of the kind of team dynamics that can have a negative impact on productivity and the business overall.
In the first scenario, two teams are collaborating on a project. There’s a lack of effective communication and employees on one of the teams think that the other team is withholding information from them, or trying to take credit for work that they’ve done.
What could you do here?
The first thing I would do is check that everyone understands the direction they have been given, and the goal they are working towards. I would also meet with both teams to make sure that they understood what everyone’s roles and responsibilities were, and that they had the chance to voice any concerns or issues so they could be remedied.
In the next scenario, a new manager came in and tried to make changes that some of the team members who had been in their jobs for a long time didn’t agree with, so they resisted almost everything she tried to introduce. They thought she was going above and beyond her remit.
What would you do in this situation?
I would get the manager and team together, and make sure that everyone understood each other’s roles and responsibilities. This will help to reduce misunderstanding about the remit of people’s jobs and clarify expectations.
The next scenario is that a team member is consistently shown preferential treatment by a supervisor or manager, which affects trust in the team and causes conflict.
What would you do?
I would speak to team members individually to find out how they felt about this, then I’d get the team together to share concerns and talk about what is expected from team members, and what they can expect from managers and supervisors. Everyone has to be made aware of how their behaviour impacts the team and the business, regardless of the position they hold.
In the final example, relationships were breaking down in a team because some team members felt like others weren’t pulling their weight.
What would you do here?
I would help the team members understand each other’s roles and what they thought ‘pulling their weight’ meant. I would hope to help them understand what they bring to the business individually and collectively and to help them see that there are many different ways that they and other team members can bring value to the business – not all of them might be so obvious.
This might help people understand each other and view each other in a more positive light.
So how can you improve team dynamics so they don’t hurt the team’s motivation, morale, performance, and productivity?
Getting to the bottom of the issues is often not easy. Team dynamics are complex and there are often a lot of contributing factors like a clash of personalities, a lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities, the workplace culture itself, and so on.
This is where I can help.
I can come in and help you identify what the issues are in your team. This might involve things like observing and talking to you and your team members. Allowing people to air their views is important and it can provide some helpful insights.
From these insights, I can work with you to develop a plan of action that might include things like:
Holding team workshops to address specific issues like roles and responsibilities, and expected behaviours.
Delivering further training to teams where a need has been identified.
Mentoring and supporting managers on things like having difficult conversations, dealing with conflict, and managing change.
Delivering team workshops on issues like dealing with change and resilience.
Holding DISC workshops to illustrate how awareness of other’s strengths and personality differences can improve how a team works together.
A recommendation is to introduce new work processes, tools, or technology to make the team and the workplace overall run more smoothly and productively.
Are team dynamics causing a problem in your workplace?
Are people disengaged and is performance suffering?
You know you need to get to the bottom of it, but do you feel nervous at the thought of spending any money right now?
Ask yourself if you don’t act, what will change?
Investing in getting some help will help your team and the business grow and develop, and the result will be more harmonious, better performing, more productive, and profitable teams who want to work together for the good of the business.
Want to know what’s possible?
You can get in touch with me to arrange a discovery call.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast, and I’ll see you next time.
This is The People Mentor, signing out.