Team Dynamics

Back to Blog

“We cannot go any further until the two of you resolve this conflict. We are all saying the right things and putting this plan into place, yet there is an elephant in the room.”  These two sentences emerged during one of my client meetings just last month.   There was a part of me that was caught off guard and there was another part of me that sees this as a true sign of progress.

In groups and teams there are dynamics that are ever – present.   There are functional roles, psychological roles, anxiety responses, leadership approaches and meeting methodologies.

Functional roles are positional or focused on job title.  For example: director of client service, president or account executive.  These roles complete specific tasks based on the needs of the team and the business.

Conflict can emerge on teams when roles and responsibilities get hazy.  Haziness presents symptoms such as missed assignments and projects.  If team members are unclear of their part in the process, then the team can become ineffective.

Teams must take time to clarify functional roles and their respective responsibilities.  Teams with players out of position result in teams that cannot win.

Psychological roles typically fulfill one of these 5  – Results Orientation, Process Orientation, Relational Orientation, Innovative Orientation and Pragmatic Orientation.   For a team to increase the likelihood of success, these five psychological roles must be present on a team.   Imagine a highly process oriented team without an innovator to shake things up and chart a new course.

Anxiety responses describes the way teams navigate toward or move away from anxiety. The statement referenced by my client triggered an anxiety response.   Everyone has a threshold of how they manage their anxiety in a group setting.  Often you see the employee, who shows no signs of being ruffled juxtaposed with a person who wears their emotion on their sleeve and is riled up with a poor data report.

A well differentiated team leader is able to maintain a non-anxious presence to mitigate the stress response of the team.  Anxiety’s immunization is a calm & clear approach.  The video below provides a nice image of the well – differentiated leader.

Leadership approaches is about the style the fearless leader displays in a group setting.  Some leaders have a command and control style and others a laissez faire approach.   No method is right or wrong, yet certain approaches are more or less effective based on the situation.

Meeting methodologies on groups are vitally important.  How often have you sat through a never ending meeting only to leave demoralized and / or ineffective?  Meetings with a strong methodology can spur and motivate employees forward.  Wilfred Bion would call this “real work.” Real work happens when you are invigorated and challenged by the deliverable and the agenda.  A meeting where participants are focused on the deliverable more often result in strong outcomes.

If you are a leader of one of these groups, it is your job to understand the five factors of teams.  When it comes to functional roles do you have the right roles in the room for the meeting? As it pertains to psychological roles, do you have all five represented in some fashion or the right psychological demographics in place to meet the team objectives. As it pertains to anxiety management, your job as a leader is to stay well-differentiated, which means not to carry the stress of others.  Phrases like – trust the process can be helpful here – remember data reports often trigger an anxious response.