Team Dynamics Getting Derailed? How to Get Them Back on Track
Teamwork is essential to success in any field. Great managers focus on building and sustaining strong teamwork bonds among their staff – but even the best managers can see their work derailed by conflict, rapid turnover, organizational “growing pains,” and other challenges.
When team dynamics get shaky, protect productivity, motivation, and retention with a proactive approach to getting the team back on track. Here’s how:
- Know your (new) team. When team dynamics get shaky, often a change in personnel or circumstances is to blame. If you’ve just lost a team member or added a new one, your new team has a different personality than your old team. It’s also in a new stage of growth and development. A change like company restructuring or a shift in job duties also “changes” the overall tenor of your team and its work. Start by examining the behavior of your “new” team. What’s changed? What conflicts are arising, between whom, and why?
- Tackle trouble early. Stay on top of potential conflicts, but moderate your intervention. It’s important during time of trouble to pay close attention to your team’s behavior and to be available to answer questions and address conflicts. However, don’t stand so close to your team that you prevent them from addressing conflicts themselves – doing so can prevent the kind of interpersonal growth that will strengthen their bonds, and it can also make it impossible for you to do your own day to day work.
- Define and clarify rules and responsibilities. Often, team dynamics suffer when team members aren’t sure about their own or others’ roles in the group. The team may also suffer if everyone is unclear on the overarching goal or mission. To help keep everyone on track, make sure team members are clear on their job responsibilities and help them draw connections between their work and the organization’s goals.
- Provide opportunities to break down barriers. From classic “team-building” exercises to a get-together at a local restaurant, opportunities to chat and work together in a non-business environment can help team members connect on a more personal level. Consider adding weekly or monthly activities to improve communication and performance.
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