How To Manage Your Team Dynamics

Fatima Shaikh
October 23, 2022

Let’s say you’ve gathered the brightest and most creative people you know in a team to work on a project. But to your surprise, your team isn't able to agree on anything and your productivity rate is dropping dangerously low. You’re left scratching your head in frustration, unable to identify the problem with this team even though it has smart, hard-working people. You review your team and come up with the following analysis. First, one person is too critical of other team members’ ideas.

You might have a suspicion that others are staying silent because of their constant criticism. Second, another member hasn't really added much to the discussions. They go along with what others are saying instead of offering insightful information. Lastly, a team member disrupts the flow of the conversation by cracking jokes at inappropriate times. Your analysis presents typical examples of dysfunctional team dynamics, which can be detrimental to a project's progress as well as the overall team’s efficiency and morale.

What are Team Dynamics?

When working in a team, people often adopt specific roles and behaviors. The impact of these roles and behaviors on other team members and the overall team is referred to as "team dynamics." It's quite easy to identify a team with a positive dynamic. Members of that team trust each other to reach a common agreement, communicate their problems, and recognize their respective responsibilities to achieving goals.

Researchers have discovered that members of a team with a positive dynamic are twice as creative as members of a team with moderate to low dynamics. A team struggling with keeping positive dynamics may end up making one-sided decisions, or it may make the wrong choice because team members could not explore options freely.

Main Reasons Behind Poor Team Dynamics

An imbalance in team dynamics can happen because of both team members and team leaders. Some common reasons behind poor team dynamics can be:

●     Inadequate leadership: In the absence of a strong leader, a more assertive team member will often grab the reins. This may result in a lack of focus, internal conflict, or prioritizing wrong objectives.

●     Excessive respect for authority: This can occur when team members hold back on sharing their own thoughts to agree with a leader.

●     Blocking: Blocking happens when team members act in a way that prevents communication between members of the team.

●     Groupthink: This happens when team members prioritize reaching an agreement over making a good decision. As a result, team members are not able to fully explore alternative solutions.

Ways to Manage and Improve Your Team Dynamics

If you have an inkling that your team suffers from poor dynamics management, you can use these methods to manage and improve your team dynamics for optimal efficiency and productivity:

Recognize Your Team Better

To understand your team dynamics better, start by studying the stages of the work progress your team goes through. With these stages, you’ll be able to see the potential patterns and behaviors in your team members. Next, see which of your team members fall between constructive and destructive roles. This will also assist you in making plans for any potential problems in the future.

Swiftly Solve Any Conflicts

If you notice any behavior of a team member that is having a negative impact on the team, make sure to address it immediately. It's important to convey helpful feedback to that team member to show them the impact of their actions on the team and how they can improve their behavior.

Establish Roles and Duties

Poor dynamics can easily arise in teams that lack focus or direction because team members struggle to understand their responsibilities. As soon as you create a team, sketch a team plan outlining the mission, goal, and roles of each team member. Distribute this plan to everyone, and bring it up occasionally to remind your team members about their duties.

Create a Barrier-Free Environment

To alleviate stress and encourage positivity within the team, motivate your team members to participate in interpersonal interactions and activities, especially when new team members are introduced. These activities smoothly introduce new team members while also preventing the "black sheep or imposter effect".

Also, encourage your team members to open up to each other. Set an example by describing the goals you have for the team while also sharing important lessons you've learned or how you approached conflicts in teams in the past.

Communicate Effectively

Clear and effective communication is essential to a successful team dynamic. To eliminate any misunderstandings, share important work details or notices on all communication platforms that your team uses. If a project's status changes or if you need to make an announcement, let everyone know immediately. If you sense any tension among any of your team members, address it immediately and encourage them to sort out their misunderstandings to set a good example for the rest of the members.

Handling Dynamics With Proper Allocation, Communication, and Honesty

Dysfunctional dynamics can easily ruin a team and trample on its efficiency and productivity potential. As a team leader or even a member, be on the lookout for bad team dynamics indicators. If your team is making seemingly bad or one-sided decisions, this may be an indication of groupthink, bullying, or free-riding happening in your team dynamic. By properly distributing the workload, communicating your way through misunderstandings, and keeping honesty as one of your core team values, you can uphold positive team dynamics and ensure that your team members feel secure in expressing their creativity and ideas to promote overall success.

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