10 Practical Ways to Enhance Team Dynamics
Listen for the sucking sound of money going down the drain when lousy teams take on projects.
Stop wasting time on teams that waste time.
Successful teams are a thing of beauty. But, when was the last time you worked on your team.
Team dynamics determine team potency.
Bad habits set-in apart from intervention.
- Focus grows fuzzy.
- Energy declines.
- Tensions are tolerated.
- Self-protective behaviors take root.
- Dead weight is condoned.
- Average is accepted.
- Dominant members control.
The 13 Rules of engagement:
- Celebration: describe wins at every meeting.
- Transparency: declare yourself. Hidden agendas are unacceptable.
- Exploration: add to ideas.
- Participation: no bystanders.
- Honor: difference is strength not weakness.
- Respect: disagree without personal attack.
- Candor: point out what isn’t working.
- Accountability: deliver on commitments.
- Unity: understand and embrace team mission.
- Clarity: ask questions before drawing conclusions.
- Flexibility: be willing to change your mind.
- Results: who does what by when?
- Milestones: set them. Celebrate them.
4 questions individuals can ask the team:
- What strengths do I bring to the team? (name three)
- When am I most useful to the team? (identify a situation or interaction)
- How could I better contribute to the team? (describe an observable behavior)
- What are your hopes for me in relation to the team? (meaningful contribution)
6 Fill-ins for teams:
- Our job is to ________.
- We’re successful when ________. (describe results or interactions)
- I’d like to try ________. (describe projects or team dynamics)
- Our team would be better if _________. (describe in behavioral terms)
- I’m uncomfortable discussing ________. (point out the elephant in the room)
- I’m proud when ________.
Choose three questions or fill-ins to begin your next meeting. Work on the team not just on projects.
Spend more time on positives than negatives.
How can leaders enhance team dynamics?
Recommended resource: “The Secret of Teams,” by Mark Miller.
Dan, Comes down to accountability. If you’re in charge you take the good and the bad. Look for the resources to enhance the issues. If it is a team seek guidance from experienced members who have produced results. Look at the issues, address them, implement the most equitable, move on. Tim
Thanks Tim. You said a mouthful in a few words.
I really like the idea of seeking guidance from experienced members. You also got me thinking about the courage and skill it takes to deal with tough issues in a group setting.
We are driven to create a Win, Win solution, because when we fail there can be outcomes that cause others pain and suffering including our selves! The consequences can be a disaster, loose clients, jobs, friends and families. So go for the best. nurture others advice become a solution not an illusion. Cheers 🙂
“Become a solution not an illusion.” I love and hate that statement. 🙂
Dan, this is very helpful and practical. Thanks. I will use some of these questions in the teams I lead. I also endorse Mark Miller’s book. “The Secret of Teams” and add to it the very well known book that I also return to regularly by Patrick Lencioni, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team“
Thanks Ken. Thanks for the good word and great add. Best wishes as you build team dynamics.
This is a wonderful paradigm, Dan, and another candidate for my “Rock Wall.” I especially like the six fill-ins. Number 1 is the most important one there because it answers the question of “What is my purpose?” Alas, it is missing its big sister, “What are my values?” More and more, I am finding that identity (individual AND group) is defined by values and purpose, and that unless people and teams can articulate their own identity it is difficult to succeed.
Thanks Steven. Oooops! So glad you added the big sister. Glad you added it.
Liked The 13 Rules of Engagement. The list practically covers everything and can ensure good results from the motivated team. One thing, I always insist that everyone comes to a meeting well prepared and contribute by sharing their views. They can’t be silent spectators! Mutual Trust and Respect with people-centric approach & the needed transparency can do wonders while enhancing team dynamics.
Thanks Dr Asher. A 14th rule: Preparation – come to the meeting with your homework done.
There are thee powerful concepts in the question- how can leaders enhance team dynamics?
And answer lies in addressing these concepts. Organizations have goal to achieve. Teams have objective which are small part of goal. Leader make effort directional to achieve goals and team leaders make effort to achieve objectives. In the given context, how team members act, think and belief play great role in achieving objective and organizational goals. And trigger that affect team dynamics lie in understanding, aligning and achieving individual member’s need. To achieve this leaders make platform, strategy to material need. And answer is addressing and meeting such needs. Therefore, leaders can enhance team dynamics by understanding, aligning and achieving individual needs. Organizational needs automatically follow.
One more very important aspect to this is team perception. It is important for leaders to create such an environment where team perceive good about leadership and organizations. And it becomes possible and rather easy when team member see opportunity and healthy environment. So, leadership challenge lies in creating environment based on fairness, equity and trust. This can enhance team dynamics.
Thanks Ajay. I think we minimize the “good perception” part of leadership. It includes feeling good about what the organization, leadership, and the team is doing. Another fill-in to add could be, “We feel good about ________.”
Well, it is all really very simple. Mental focus. If I focus on what I do not want, all I can see is more examples of what I do not want.
Want a positive change? Stop all the choices of mentally focusing on what you don’t want and choose to ONLY focus on what you do want.
Remember, if you are a hammer, everything looks like nails??????
Everything follows from there. So why not as a Leader teach your Followers to always start at the source?
See this is what is happening between the lines no matter how people choose to describe it to themselves and to others.
So just cut the white noise and just go directly to the most actionable choice. Correct Conscious Choice.
See one person could say I did this by aligning focus with “fill in” number one. Another credits number 6.
The real deal is the result is FOCUS is realigned. 1 or 6! The common trait.
So instead of going through the mental gymnastics of difference questions, just notice what the result has in common. Reverse engineer that back and see they all are realigning Focus.
So just start with, if we lost our way the FOCUS is what is off. Realign it, problem solved until Focus gets off again. Reason not the issue.
Another way of looking at this is eating too much. It does not matter if it is cheeseburgers or twinkies.
Trying to solve the problem at the cheeseburger and twinkie level is a choice. Just a dumb one.
I can stop the cheeseburgers and still be fat! Then I can try and stop the twinkies! Might appear I have done something but really have done nothing. Like playing whack-a-mole at the county fair.
Best way is to see what they both have in common.
I am taking in more calories than I am burning up….see how the cheeseburgers and twinkies are really there but also kinda irrelevant?
Causes, not symptoms.
Better strategy for problem solving in my experience.
Thanks Scott. Sounds like you’re saying, focus on focus.
Yep!!! Great assessment Dan!!!
It is like going across country in a non stop bus ride!!
Everyone on the bus has a part to play. Driving, navigating, ect ect ect.
If the bus stops mission fails.
Every person has a vital contribution. If they fail, we fail.
Got to keep the eye on the ball.
When this occurs Law if Synergy kicks in. 2 is really the power of Eleven. ll
The sum of the parts is greater than the parts separate.
Anyway great summation Dan.
By the way Dan just in case anyone wants to really understand the work that lies ahead to concentrating focus….
The average human being changes their focus every 6 to 10 seconds.
So you do the math on being in a group of people working on a project how much actual time is spent focused on the work at hand. Heck yeah start with small teams!! Lol
Then add that mess to the fact IF the Leader has no clue about that….
Then one can see the fine mess we find ourselves in.
Yeah Focus on Focus.
True Leaders all Lead first with understanding and disciplining their own minds, no other possible way the way our brains work.
Teams should be as small as possible, with each person perceived as having value to make the goal happen, and each person trained and willing to step into the breach when the other’s stumble or lack capacity. Too many people, ill-defined roles, lack of focus on mission, lack of skills and cross-training, all contribute to lack of efficiency, silos, infighting, and ultimately ineffective use of that most inelastic of resources, namely time.
Thanks Marc. You have a great list of things to avoid…sometimes what we don’t want helps us see what we want.
You didn’t suggest any numbers for the size of team because you went with “no bigger than necessary.” I’ll toss out numbers. How about 3 as a minimum and 7 as a maximum.
Team size depends on the amount of work to get done, and the skill set required. A famous experiment on social loafing showed that people contribute fully up to a group of 5, then progressively contribute less. It is interesting that basketball and hockey teams are fast-paced, and have 5-6 constantly moving people. Baseball, football, and soccer have more, but rarely are more than 5 really going all out at any time. For an interesting discussion from the Wharton school, see http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/is-your-team-too-big-too-small-whats-the-right-number-2/
Thanks for extending the conversation.
Good afternoon Dan
Building effective teams is crucial to an organizations sucssess. Start by ensembling a diversified group of individuals with a variety of skills and talents. Identify a leader who understands their team dynamics, then place team members in positions that utilize their strenghts. Set the vision while establishing each team members mission. Then ‘step back’ and let em go. Be there when they need your advice or assistance, but not until they ask, unless detrimental set-backs demand you come to the rescue. Celebrate achievements, big and small. Engage in periodic group self evalution, allowing each member to reflect on their performance to evaluate their effectiveness. Allow fellow teamates to critque honestly with compassion and encouragement. Share credit for sucssess. If circumstances dictate addressing poor performance, possible reprimand or dicsapline, even termination. Your goal is NOT to belittle and critisize but to engage in such a way that inspires. Critisizms alienate people causing division that can last a liftime. And lastly, “buy Mark Millers – (The Secret of Teams), no sence in letting your teams sucssess or failure rest in the hands of luck and chance”! Marks book is an excellant, easy read, filled with golden nuggets of his personal insights.
I miss posting comments regularly Dan. For some unknown reason, Leadership Freak is no longer accsessable to all staff as it always has been. Just one computer where availabilty is limited.
I would say team spirit. To maintain it, leader should set expectations before teams, keep the team motovated and keep demotivated people away. He need to ensure all members are contributing to end goals and they are aware about the importance of the task. And the memmber should be encouraged to do things as a team..goals achieved.
Quoting: “Work on the team not just on projects.” If a team is to optimize their outputs, they must become a team, not assume they are a team simply because they were organized to address a common project, question, or situation.
Just replied to Twitter post:
14. (Should really follow #10 in the list) Assessment: Asking how things going.