Teams can be difficult to manage. The loudest voices often win because they dominate the discussion. Everyone else gets complacent, and that’s when the group becomes weak. Disengagement has a general negative impact on a group's results, but silencing the loudest person or forcing others to talk is not the solution.
You need to improve your management strategies to optimize team dynamics. It might seem obvious, but teamwork requires work. You can’t just assume that collective brainpower will produce great results magically. To empower people to learn from each other, you have to build collaborative groups.
When you prioritize healthy team dynamics in the workplace, people work better together. And to make that happen, you should also improve cross-functional collaboration.
In this article, you will discover some group dynamics examples. You will understand the disadvantages of faulty team dynamics and how you can use two main management strategies to optimize team dynamics (and a few more!).
Keep reading to learn all about the strategies that can be game changers in the success of your team.
What makes a team a good team?
Why do some teams of talented people underperform while others produce stellar results? Contrary to the common idea of a lone genius, collaborative eﬀorts are more likely to produce knowledge and substantial results in the workplace.
The lone genius myth was deconstructed through extensive research by Alfonso Montuori and Ronald E. Purser in 1995. Their study highlighted “the problematic nature of a hyper-individualistic understanding of creativity”. Working together has always been a part of human nature.
The world’s greatest minds didn’t accomplish their feats all alone. Collaboration with others is key. Let’s take art as an example. From Renaissance to Surrealism, it was the collective groups that made art possible.
There has always been a figurehead (such as Michelangelo or Picasso) who took most of the credit, but they worked with teams to make their imagination come true.Teamwork can also spark creativity in the workplace, but it doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why you need to implement great team dynamics at work.
Having everyone’s voice heard will not only enhance ideas but foster a positive environment. You can use any of the two management strategies to optimize team dynamics and achieve that goal. First let’s find out what team dynamics are and why they matter.
What are group dynamics?
Essentially, they are the invisible forces influencing how we behave in groups. Team dynamics are affected by the roles and responsibilities the members assume. As a team member, you do not merely contribute to the team dynamics but are also affected by them.
Lewin was a pioneer of modern social psychology. He studied examples of team dynamics and leadership styles to understand how individuals react to changes within a group. He stated that groups are dynamic and powerful, and influence individuals and communities.
Changes in the group bring out actions and reactions that affect group members.But he also believed that you can introduce changes to improve those group dynamics. As he famously put it: “If you want to understand something, try changing it”.
According to Lewin’s research, the roles we adopt in a team affect our performance. He studied different leadership styles and concluded that a group conducted democratically will be more successful. In recent years scientists have been using research to build on Lewin's ideas.
They proved that the group itself can have a positive or negative effect on the efficiency of its members. Applying Lewin’ theories to our everyday work environment, we can gain further understanding of why we are where we are.
The importance of team dynamics
Team dynamics can be critical to creating successful projects. It’s important to put efficient management strategies to optimize team dynamics in practice. Here are some reasons why team dynamics matter in the workplace:
- Team motivation. Motivated team players have higher levels of engagement. If you feel that you are a part of the team, you are keener to contribute to its success.
- Work efficiency. Positive group dynamics will make you perform in your best capacity. As a result, team productivity also increases.
- Impact on creativity. Groups have the potential to generate synergy, where creativity is enhanced.
- More collaboration. When the right environment is created, there is more collaboration among team members.
- Faster decision-making. The group reaches decisions faster because everyone contributes. People participate but also listen to each other.
3 ingredients of successful team dynamics
The basics of team effectiveness were identified by J. Richard Hackman, who began studying teams in the 1970s. He found that what matters most to collaboration is not the personalities or behaviors but certain “enabling conditions”.
Those conditions are created through positive team dynamics. A group with healthy group dynamics performs better in decision making. People trust each other and feel more confident in expressing their views. As a result, they enable a creative and positive environment that unleashes collective thinking.
It’s also possible to make collective thinking happen in remote work settings. By applying some virtual meeting best practices, you can generate effective team dynamics.What are good examples of team dynamics?
There are three basic elements for successful team dynamics at work according to Steve Farber, the founder and CEO of The Extreme Leadership Institute. This is how you can implement them:
- Connect team members. You have to create opportunities for people to connect with each other. The better they understand and support one another, the more they’ll grow as a team.
- Communicate what needs to be done. Use appropriate communication strategies to set up deadlines and establish tasks and challenges. You need to overcome and resolve the most difficult situations at work in a cooperative way.
- Be honest. Don’t wait until the problems arise to have tough conversations. Prepare for these moments. Get to know your team. Build respect.
On the other hand, poor group dynamics can affect your team badly. Let’s explore in greater detail what happens then.
Causes and disadvantages of faulty group dynamics
When a group dynamic turns toxic, you may find it difficult to get the team back on track. But what are the consequences of poor team dynamics in the workplace, and why do they occur?
Clinical psychologist Nicole Lipkin identifies the roots of faulty group dynamics to group conformity. She says that there are four factors that cause a toxic work culture (and negative team dynamics), such as:
- Too much competition. Competition can be good, but if it gets too serious it creates unnecessary rivalries.
- Unrecognized effort. When personal efforts aren’t recognized, team productivity decreases. So make sure you celebrate your team's wins.
- A rotten apple. Someone with a bad attitude can “tremendously impact decision making, problem-solving,attention/focus, interpersonal interactions, performance, productivity, and the whole organizational culture," says Lipkin.
- Extreme loyalty to a group. If you devote yourself too much to a group, it can lead to “group conformity”, explains the psychologist. It can disrupt creativity and critical thinking.
How can team dynamics be managed?
Now that you know what group dynamics are, let's have a look into how to improve them. We are going to explore two management strategies to optimize team dynamics, encourage communication and improve performance.
So, how do some leaders improve team dynamics?
1. Effective onboarding
Onboarding is the process in which new employees get acquainted with their roles. When the company utilizes well-thought-out onboarding practices, you feel part of the organization from the first day. Onboarding is supposed to enable newcomers to understand the company’s goals and actively start contributing to them.
If you are on the hiring side, having a well-defined onboarding process brings various benefits. It will help to establish meaningful connections and provide a deeper understanding of the organization’s mission and values to new team members.
Onboarding is a critical aspect in the employee life cycle. Don’t overlook it. It can take months, but you have to set the right tone from the beginning. Here’s how you can start:
- Set up a 90-day plan. The first 90 days of a new job can be critical for both employee and employer. You have to help your new hire feel at home while being straightforward about goals and tasks. The organization is key.
- Manage different types of communication styles early on. Use different methods - chats, meetings, notes, videos - to communicate different messages. Be straight to the point and give clear instructions regarding tasks and responsibilities, but make some room for fun activities and employee interactions. Most teams thrive when they are engaged.
- Nourish collaboration across functions and departments. Both cross-functional and cross-departmental collaboration are essential parts of a company’s success. Setting best practices for collaboration will unite teams in working together towards a common goal.
An optimized onboarding program leads to undenied competitive edges. Only 37% of businesses ensure that their onboarding process is longer than a month, recent statistics show.
However, according to HR experts, 93% of employers believe that for new employees, the onboarding experience is critical in making the decision of staying or leaving the organization.
Once you have provided the most effective onboarding program, you can start thinking about how you are going to give feedback.
2. Introduce ongoing Feedback systems
“No feedback is good feedback”... right? Well, not at all. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If you follow that thinking, you should know you risk your team’s general satisfaction and engagement.
Most employees who have weekly conversations with their managers show higher productivity. Companies that implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than for employees who receive no feedback, research suggests.
You have to provide both positive and negative feedback for a flourishing work environment. But be mindful of how you do it and which platforms you use.Scientific research supports that feedback dynamics are critical to improving performance.
However, you need to know how to set up feedback effectively. Excessive negative feedback can drain even the most engaged employees. This is what you can do to reach the most fruitful results:
- Asynchronous work with feedback through comments on individual tasks. It will enable you to organize the workload better, and will keep everyone up-to-date.
- Switch unnecessary meetings for tasks and topics, and use that space to give feedback. Save time by saying no to unnecessary meetings and use that time for feedback sessions. You can leverage 1:1s, coffee chats, and Looms to improve team dynamics. It will help you have your team members on the same page.
- Adopt virtual meeting best practices to provide feedback. Introduce check-in questions for meetings and use well-defined meeting agendas. Having a space to listen to new ideas and validate people’s opinions is very important.
- Let your employees give you feedback too. Use polls for company-wide feedback. Listen to what your team thinks about various projects and your role as a manager.
And remember that honest feedback, both positive and negative, is always helpful. It’s valuable information that will help both employees and employers make better decisions. It benefits the giver, the receiver, and the organization.
How else can you promote better team dynamics?
We just introduced two management strategies to optimize team dynamics, yet there is more you can do. Follow these suggestions to achieve even more effective team dynamics:
- Understand your team. Get to know the people you work with.
- Use team-building exercises. It will help you build trust in your team.
- Set a new level of safe bidirectional conversations. It will foster collaboration and engagement.
- Don’t give up; it’s a process. Implementing and optimizing team dynamics can take time. Be patient and follow a plan to increase productivity in the long term.
Improve your team dynamics with Rock
Rock brings people together - and makes teams more united - by minimizing platform switching. You can enhance your team dynamics with Rock’s all-in-one functionality. Switch to more effective communication with messages, tasks, notes, and files in just one place.
You can also manage onboarding processes with unlimited spaces and members. Assign tasks, and share video recordings as well as relevant notes and files with people when they’re just getting started.Use Rock’s functionality to nourish ongoing feedback systems.
For example, leave actionable comments on tasks and keep everyone in the loop. You can use notes, topics, or comments to provide feedback. And listen to your team by creating polls and asking them to vote.With Rock, you can bring your entire company together.
You’ll have everything you need to optimize your team dynamics and make your dream team a reality.Start optimizing your team dynamics with Rock!