Are you a recently promoted leader, or new manager, and you want to improve team dynamics and put together a tight group within your organization? Well, in this article, I will share with you five key principles to get your team all working towards the same direction.
Having great team dynamics is key to having happy, productive and motivated employees. You’ll know when your team is all tight, and motivated, it will show. We all know the benefits of having improved morale, so I won’t bore you any further, let’s jump straight into the five leadership principles to improve team dynamics.
Treat people right
So with my first principle, I’m going to start this one with a question. How are you going to treat those people who directly report to you? And here’s the real principle. It’s an easy one.
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There are universal needs that we all have. The first one is we all need to belong. We need a connection with the other people on the team. So think about that one as you think about empowerment. What’s that mean? That means each person on your team is the leader of their own work. They have that empowerment to go forward as a part of the team.
And speaking of being a part of the team each one of those people needs to know they’re adding value that they make their unique contribution to what your team is doing. They choose their own time tracking apps, set up their own system, etc.
Clarify group agreements
Our second principle is to clarify group agreements. When everyone on your team decides together how you’re going to make decisions, how you’re going to interact and treat each other, you can be on the same page to move forward.
This is a key method to improve team dynamics. As leaders, we like to perceive everyone as being capable, resourceful, whole and creative. That helps us assume the positive in individuals, no matter what is going on.
Ensure psychological safety
Principle number three is about psychological safety. That’s the ability to show up as your authentic self in the team. This includes the ability to fail in a task or a project without negative repercussions. There’s three words that come together and really bring this to light. When I give presentations with people I often do this brainstorming thing about what’s the best relationship you’ve had in your life.
Ultimately, we always talk about the characteristics of those relationships, and there’s three things that always show up. One is trust. Another is clear communication, so unpacking what the person really means by the words they use and the final thing is respect. So here’s how I think of it: you add trust to communication and respect is the result. To me, that’s effective psychological safety.
Our fourth principle is feedback. The book, “Feedback and Other Dirty Words” by Tamra Chandler, tells it well. In the book, she breaks this down to three roles. The first role is as a seeker. So when you ask for feedback from your supervisor, it’s a way of managing up letting them know that you’re interested in doing the best for the team.
For the next role I used to think of this as giving feedback and then I have these memories of my boss saying “Hey Amanda, can I give you some feedback?” And it was never a good positive thing. So I like what she calls it extending feedback. And you know what? It doesn’t have to happen just between a supervisor and their direct report. Encourage everyone to be giving constructive feedback among anyone in the team.
The third role is actually receiving feedback. Someone is giving you an idea that they think you want or need. Sometimes that’s not true but you get to make that decision. Your goal is to bring your best self to that situation. If you start shaking, your brain freezes and you’re not at your best. Remember to take a few deep breaths, and know that you get to decide what to do with any feedback given to you.
Check your stories
In lucky last position, principle number five is check your stories. This refers back to some of the other principles we covered. Assuming positive clear communication and understanding where the person is coming from, as well as respect especially for diversity, and of personality and cultures and understanding anything that might come up that you might not be on the same page with.
Now what’s with checking your stories? You know how nature abhors a vacuum? It’s the same thing with information. If we don’t really know what’s going on, we will make it up in the form of a story that we tell ourselves and believe until we unpack those things and realize where the person is really coming from.
So there you have it, these are the five leadership principles to improve team dynamics. Just to reiterate once more, the five points are;
- Treat people right;
- Clarify group agreements;
- Ensure psychological safety;
- Authentic feedback, and;
- Check your stories.
All the best with ensuring a cohesive, happier and more productive team. You’ve got this!