With the 2016 Olympics now on our door step and I’m very excited. I’m an avid Olympics fan. I love watching everything. Celebrating the wins and recognizing the efforts of every athlete regardless of the medal count. Each country creates a team of athletes who have a common purpose – to represent their country and deliver their best effort in their sport at each and every event.
The motivation and focus of these athletes to the team vision is amazing. We see other teams like those of the CFL, NHL or NFL or NBA more regularly. Due to the longer-term focus needed, these teams can demonstrate ups and downs similar to those of us in the workplace. Team dynamics reflect the mindset, effort and productivity of each and every member of the team.
Team dynamics are defined as the unconscious factors that influence how teams interact, communicate and work together to a common goal.
Lack of Cohesion
Team dynamics are impacted by the different personalities in the team and the behaviours each team member brings to the job. Athletes are highly motivated talented individuals who are competitive and want to win. Losing is not ok. Working and travelling in a close environment, along with pressures from owners, coaches, team mates, the media and fans , as well as families, all come into play in how well a team can create and maintain positive dynamics that allow them to reach their goal.
In the business world, not every employee on a team may have the same inner motivation found on a professional hockey team. Your team may consist of more leaders than followers, particularly at an executive level, or people who are not completely aligned with the team’s (committee’s) focus and purpose.
When this happens how can you, as the manager or team leader better understand their lack of “buy-in” and help them become engaged and a valuable asset to the team?
Have a Vision and Purpose
Every team is brought together to accomplish a goal. Does every member of the team know and understand the vision and purpose of the team, and how their actions will make a difference?
Just think of a committee in your workplace. How many people sit on that committee because “they have to”. It’s just part of the job description but they’d rather not be there. Do they complain that its a waste of time? Are they commenting on how their suggestions are ignored? Are team members engaged and kept accountable to participate and take action? When these situation exist, a lack of vision and purpose probably exist.
As the team leader, its important for you to understand what each person on your team is thinking and if they are on-board with the vision and purpose. People always want to know where they are going and why its important. Recognize their efforts and dissenting comments and take the necessary steps to get them back on board.
Communicate Clearly & Often
This may seem like the obvious but all to often the team leader fails to keep communication open. Communication is more than telling people what to do and when. Instead it includes conversations with the team collectively, as well as with each individual team member.
A leaders role is to inspire others to think strategically within the terms of reference of the team/committee. When you help them see the big picture, they are better able to understand how their role fits in and can make a difference.
Listening to the different perspectives and suggestions is critical. It’s not your role to be right. It’s your role to lead the team to the right outcome. Sometimes your original plan needs to be reassessed along the way when new information comes to light.
“Deep and sustainable change…requires changes in behavior among those who do not welcome the change.” ? Douglas B. Reeves
Is your team lacking focus? Do you want to identify ways to better lead your team to be more productive and engaged? Contact us to see how our solutions may assist you.