HOW TO MANAGE TEAM DYNAMICS AS A LEADER

Managing a team can be an ordeal, even if you have the brightest minds working for you. Getting your talents to work together is an indispensable requirement given the economic competitiveness of businesses. As organizations are made up of people, their interaction and collective endeavours will always have a profound impact on productivity and performance.

As a business leader, managing team dynamics against a multitude of personalities, work competencies, cultural backgrounds and work experiences can be a challenging job. Building positive dynamics starts with a constructive strategy that combines observation, action, conflict resolution, clarity and goal-setting.

At the outset, it’s important to form a team with a healthy mix of talents, preferably those who think alike and get along amicably with each other. This move will offer a better starting point than having a cognitively diverse team that may be at loggerheads every now and then. Talents come with all sorts of potential and leaders who have an understanding of ‘who’s good at what’ can hope for better results than those who make spontaneous choices.

Goal setting is also a crucial element in managing teams and devising their objective. In many situations, it can set things straight before someone in the group starts doing it their way. Mindful categorising of personalities (like the opinionated, negative, aggressive, timid, withdrawn, attention-seeking and the humorous) into the right groups will ensure a fine balance. Likewise, equal representation and opportunity are also key to sustaining work flow on a daily basis.

There may be occasions when decision-making is hard considering the sheer number of opinions that come to the table. In such cases, understanding team members, their opinions and possibly engaging a third opinion to assess the situation can be helpful. Being fair to all members in a team is the hallmark of a true leader.

The same goes for dealing with disruptive personalities who tend to upset the confidence of others in the team. Employing a direct and gentle approach in such situations and stating your expectation in a clear manner will help talents take charge of their actions in due pace. A lot of times, team members freeride on the expense of others and themselves do no work. Such behaviours need to be addressed immediately.

Being attentive to team members’ behaviours, their day-to-day communication and office interactions is another way of ensuring positive team dynamics. Whether your staff count is 20 or 200, a sharp eye helps leaders identify team members who are not open to new ideas, identify those who keep contradicting others or the ones who habitually keep putting people down. Action, in such instances, needs to be quick and assertive, nipping wrongful behaviour in the bud.

For many business leaders, their non-availability in office is a big deterrent to maintaining that much-needed sync with team members. The open-door policy in such cases should transcend physical non-availability into an all-out virtual availability, where talents’ needs are given top priority over anything else.

There are many ways to steer team dynamics to achieve full potential. Working towards addressing a problem is probably the easiest of the lot as compared to finding out what the issue is and who is responsible for it. Team members seldom come to the forefront with what’s bothering them or inform the boss if their manager is being difficult.

Doing a bit of legwork through clients and department heads on team issues can alleviate many woes that are otherwise unlikely to reach your attention. A one-on-one discussion with members can also help ease rising tensions. New hires, especially team managers striving to find their ground, can sometimes stress out other members; adding confusion and chaos to the way the team was used to functioning.

Office culture plays a big role in achieving great team dynamics. Mutual respect, guidance and acceptance always pave way for a happy work environment. Motivating talents on their goals, teamwork and camaraderie invariably builds long-lasting relationships and bolsters members to talk openly about all issues. It also helps them embrace inclusivity and diversity, which are pivotal to building successful teams.

Nevertheless, an ideal situation is always a far dream. Even with minimal resources, leaders can build smooth processes through mutual trust, respect and a growth plan that’s a win-win for the business as well as its teams. Like Angela Ahrendts, senior vice president, Apple Retail puts it: “Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”

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