What Are Team Dynamics & Why Are They Important? 

by Beth Osborne in March 19th, 2020
What Are Team Dynamics & Why Are They Important?

High achieving companies recognize the importance of positive team dynamics. They invest time and resources in cultivating a culture that supports teamwork, understanding that for true success, it takes every player. Every team has to collaborate to achieve goals and resolve challenges, but what’s the secret recipe? And exactly what are team dynamics?

Team Dynamics Defined

Team dynamics describes the behavioral relationships between the members of a group. The dynamic between them includes how they interact, communicate and cooperate with one another. How well your team is able to do these things directly influences what it can accomplish.

Human Behavior Is Often Unpredictable

One of the most important aspects of team dynamics is human behavior, which is unpredictable and largely uncontrollable. However, as an effective leader you have the ability to influence behavior. With the right team-building strategies, you can impact your team’s attitudes and interactions.

Think about your current team dynamics. Are they mostly positive or negative? If you had to create a list describing your team dynamics, how would you categorize your team’s ability to work together? No team is perfect, and there’s always the potential to improve. Let’s look at some examples to drive more clarity around your dynamics.

Positive Team Dynamics Examples

When you have a fully engaged group of employees that are accomplishing their goals, you’re on the path to success. This road, however, will have curves and bumps along the way. Remember, you’re dealing with human behavior. It’s not just what’s happening in the workplace that shapes this but also what’s occurring in employees’ personal lives.

When looking at positive team dynamics examples, there are several core competencies to highlight:

  • Alignment: Each member of the team understands the direction and goals. There is no ambiguity around what needs to be accomplished, resulting in less tension. It’s true that apprehension and uncertainty make people tense. So, start with clarity to attain alignment.
  • Transparency: Issues will come up in teams; there’s no way around that. It’s best to meet these head-on with openness and honesty. When people think there is something to hide, they become suspicious and untrusting, which is a sure way for team dynamics to suffer.
  • Accountability: Lack of accountability drags down teams. Without it, there can be no trust. Ensuring that each team member is aware of their responsibilities and understands the importance of following through is crucial to having a solid team.

Using these three central themes, you can improve and build team dynamics with these strategies.

Communicate Often & Consistently

Groups that overachieve, over-communicate. There is frequent discussion about all aspects of a project with a concentration on resolving issues. When communication flows freely, teams are clicking. Communicating better isn’t really that hard; we just forget to do it because we’re busy.

Or worse yet, we make assumptions that people should know or do things. That’s a dangerous proposition, so make it easy to communicate with others in every medium. You’ll learn that miscommunications create frustration and huge hurdles to alignment, transparency and accountability.

Embrace Conflict

Good team dynamics won’t collapse because of conflict. Conflict is normal among peers and isn’t negative when it’s constructive. A team that can work through conflict grows stronger. Colleagues don’t have to agree all the time. In fact, innovation falters when that’s the case. When conflict comes up on your team, try to ensure it isn’t taken personally. Once people frame conflict as necessary and normal, it’s easier to resolve it.

Put Plans & Projects in Writing

When you kick off a project, does it include a brief listing out of objectives, tactics and workflows? If not, then you are starting at a point of ambiguity. When you document the plan and all its moving parts, there’s no question about responsibilities and deliverables. Such a document should be accessible to every team member for feedback, questions and input. It’s a simple step that can improve team dynamics dramatically.

Determine How You’ll Make Decisions

Part of team dynamics includes how decisions are made collectively, but you need to define the type of consensus required to move forward. Your team shouldn’t follow a process where leaders make decrees and workers fulfill them. This type of environment isn’t sustainable, nor will it be successful. Work out how you will make decisions together.

Build a Stronger Team Today

Team dynamics continue to change as your team and culture do. Building a strong foundation is vital to improving how your team works together. Understanding how people work together and what makes a team resilient can ensure that your workplace remains productive, positive and goal-oriented.

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