How to Know if Your Team Dynamics Are Healthy

Team Dynamics

At Engaging Breakthroughs, we support the development of strong team dynamics. When we say dynamics, we refer to the ways teams move and act in concert (or not). This includes communication habits and behaviors that become ingrained over time. When team dynamics are healthy, teams achieve maximum performance and scalability. When the dynamics are disjointed or debilitated, teams struggle badly.

Creating a healthy work team is more difficult now than ever before. A 2011 Knoll Workplace Research study cites many reasons for this. For instance, companies frequently shrink staffs and outsource non-core functions. To save costs, they distribute responsibilities nationally and globally. Also, organizations more frequently push decision-making to a wider and lower group of team members in order to be responsive to rapidly changing customer demands. Lastly, collaborative technology is helping workers to get more done than ever – but at the loss of water cooler socialization.

These challenges compound with the difficulties of skilled labor shortages and higher demand for work flexibility among workers. The result is a team dynamics mess that technology simply can’t fix on its own. As Knoll states:

You can’t simply transfer existing ways of working—management styles, work practices, collaboration technologies and workplaces—into newly distributed organizations and be successful. . . You have to adopt new management policies, work behaviors, collaborative technologies, and workspaces that support the diversity of needs of the contemporary organization.

A 2018 Gallup Poll reported signs of employee engagement progress, with 34% of employees reporting that they’re enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. In other words, 66% of employees are not engaged at work. Nonetheless, few organizations seriously evaluate their team dynamics to learn whether they’re prepared to perform and scale with today’s workplace demands.

How do you know when team dynamics are healthy, and when they need some TLC? Let’s look at some signs.

Team Dynamics: The Obvious Problems

If any of these facts are true about your team, it’s time for a serious check up:

    • The team underperforms on key organizational metrics
    • Team members backstab each other
    • The team fails to meet financial goals
    • Team members complain to leaders; they fail to resolve issues independently

These are clear cut signs that team dynamics are struggling, and it’s time to address the issues. We created our Unstoppable Teams program to exactly these types of problems. You’re not along – these dynamics are faced by teams across all industries and organizations.  Our program presents a model for strong organizational leadership that empowers individuals and the whole group. We break through communication barriers, address unproductive habits, and create more effective work environments. In this practice, teams develop the skills they need to maximize efficiency and reach challenging goals.

Team Dynamics: The Not-so-Obvious Problems

You don’t have to be in crisis mode in order to acknowledge that there may be a problem in the dynamic of your team. For instance:

  • Do team members do the bare minimum?
  • Are team members reactive to what you ask them to do, rather than working together to identify and solve problems?
  • Do meetings feel stuck and rigid?
  • Does each day feel chaotic?
  • Are there topics that everyone avoids?
  • Do team members fail to follow through on team agreements or goals?
  • Are team members more concerned about their own accomplishments than those of the team?

On the surface, it may not seem like team dynamics are having a negative impact. Work is getting done for the most part, but there isn’t a sense that the team is thriving or that they trust each other. Passionate debate is hard to come by, and team members don’t seem to have close relationships. 

Environments like this may not be outright toxic environments. Nonetheless, they starve team progress. We’ve learned in breakthrough coaching that ideas incubate best when there’s freedom to speak candidly about opinions without fear of retribution. There must be a process of mining for conflict and using it to engage the team, rather than coasting along the status quo highway. The team members must hold each other accountable, rather than depending on leadership to tell them what to do. Organizations cannot grow, perform, or scale without this type of team culture. 

Team Dynamics: Every Team Starts Somewhere

If you’re a team leader or just a member of one, when you first start to pay attention to these team dynamics it may not feel good. Today’s workers spend more time at work than anywhere else, and that means the feelings about work environments can be very strong. It’s not unusual to feel fear, anger, shame, or sadness when considering your team’s habits.

The important thing to know is that it can get better – much better. In breakthrough coaching, we empower people to talk about things they avoid and open doors to new patterns of communication. Thoughts are being thought, and feelings are being felt anyhow. Slowly, methodically, those things must be brought into a safe space where people can clear up feelings and judgments that present barriers to deeper work relationships. With new permission to explore creativity, openness, and ease, team members can begin to repair old wounds and create new, healthy habits. These are the kinds of team dynamics that inspire people to be one of the 34% of employees who wake up happy to go to work.

 Complimentary Consultation for Organizational Leadership

Are you ready to explore how our organizational leadership program can help your team break through barriers, perform at a high level, and scale with ease? We offer solutions that empower teams to reach new heights. To learn more, schedule a complimentary online Unstoppable Teams consultation via Zoom.

In this 30-60 minute online breakthrough coaching session, I will help you get crystal clear on where you are right now and where you want to be. I’ll give you my best professional recommendations to help you take your first steps toward your success breakthrough.

Click here to book your session now.

Breakthrough Coach Written by Craig Tennant
Founder, Engaging Breakthroughs
Transformation Architect and Breakthrough Coach At Engaging Breakthroughs, Craig Tennant delivers
breakthrough success workshops and online life coaching to increase emotional intelligence. He offers proven leadership development for leaders who seek to build effective teams, break through to success in their careers, and discover life beyond the 9 to 5.

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