“Creating positive team dynamics is a skill that can be learned.” Jeannette Seibly
Team dynamics will make or break any group. As a boss and leader, it’s important to learn how to manage work teams, projects, and boards to be effective. What you don’t know can sabotage you, sabotage your team members and sabotage your project. The key is to act quickly and objectively when team dynamics go off-track.
Over the past several decades, I have coached teams and leaders in managing 100’s of projects. Most were successful. Some were not. This article focuses on six key elements that make or break your team’s dynamics.
A sales team met as a group twice a month. There were members that took the time to develop good working relationships with each other. And, there were those whose excuse was they were too busy. When several team members began criticizing a top producer, many took sides without first getting the facts. Unfortunately, the VP of Sales failed to step in and resolve the issue. When the top producer left, so did several others. It didn’t stop the backstabbing. Sales plummeted. Finally, the CEO hired a business advisor to work with the new VP of Sales and remaining team members. They had a candid come-down-to-reality conversation and set up ongoing coaching sessions to stop the bad behaviors. As a result, their team dynamics improved…and so did their sales!
The 6 Key Elements to Understand Group and Team Dynamics
The Basics. Establish the basic rules and guidelines so everyone can freely participate. Remember, whatever you set up, everyone will forget and need to be reminded.
Effective Meetings. Training your team on how to conduct an effective meeting is paramount. Bring in an outside consultant to provide annual training to get everyone on the same page. Don’t forget to include soft skills training (e.g., conflict resolution, building agreement, persuasive listening, etc.). Note: High-performance teams have a coach available for objective review and input. It saves them time, money and eruptions from frustrated team members.
Lead by Example. Issues arise any time there are two or more people involved! When they occur, address them quickly and objectively. First, objectively review options and goals with your coach. That process will remove emotional barriers and create better decisions. Role-play difficult conversations and focus on win-win outcomes for everyone, not blame.
Deep Dive. When issues arise (and they always do), start with the following questions to focus on the issue.
- -Did I handle the logistics appropriately (e.g., Is everyone receiving group notifications? Was the room or electronic conference setup before the start time? Did the meeting start and end on time. Etc.).
- -Am I actively listening or multitasking by handling my electronic messages?
- -Do I encourage new ideas or am I shutting them down prematurely?
- -Am I addressing issues as they arise or hoping they will go away on their own?
- -Am I encouraging team members to work through their differences or taking sides?
- -Do I come prepared for the meeting?
- -How did I do to prepare others for the meeting?
No Saboteurs Allowed. Be proactive when gossip, backstabbing, and other nefarious activities occur. Otherwise, the damage is already done by waiting too long. First, immediately talk with your coach to avoid creating a bigger issue. Then, use candid come-down-to-reality conversations to clean-up and create powerful team dynamics.
Acknowledge and Celebrate. Practice appreciation and acknowledgment of group members on a daily basis. Good team dynamics occur when you learn about each other’s activities and successes. Complete the exercise of what worked and didn’t work. Do this weekly, monthly and/or quarterly for best results.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2018
For the past 26 years, Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert. As an executive coach, speaker, and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. Improve your team’s results by championing positive and effective team dynamics. Contact Jeannette for a preliminary confidential conversation.