Once the team is launched, managing team dynamics effectively can help the team combine collective skills, knowledge, and abilities in ways that result in better decisions and stronger performance. Team dynamics are behaviors, processes, and changes that take place within a team. The following steps allow the team to achieve positive dynamics and are critical to a team's success:
- Establish norms that foster psychological safety,
- Establish clear decision-making processes, and
- Manage team conflict.
Watch Introductory Video
Review Quick Guides to Team Dynamics
Establishing Norms and Expectations
Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. Teams with high psychological safety communicate and coordinate their efforts effectively, resulting in stronger performance and better decisions.
- What does a team with high psychological safety look like?
- What are the norms that foster psychological safety?
- What are the signs you might have a problem and how to improve?
Establishing Clear Decision-Making Processes
Being intentional about how decisions are made helps teams avoid conflict and wasted effort, and improves the quality of team decisions. Note that psychological safety affects team decision-making. Without it, even a crystal clear decision-making process will break down because people will not feel safe raising important questions or concerns.
- When consensus might not be the best option?
- When does expertise matter most in the decision-making process?
- What is a "Groupthink" and why should you avoid one?
Managing Team Conflict
Teams that take a proactive approach to resolving conflict are much more productive and effective than teams that address conflict only when they are forced to. Depending on its source, conflict can have a positive outcome. For example, a task conflict can be helpful for teams making complex decisions, analyzing a difficult problem, or coming up with new ideas or methods. The key is to not let the conflict get in the way of productivity and performance.
Reviewing the quick guides from the Managing Conflict module will help you better understand the four most common sources of conflict and how to approach them, depending on the conflict source. The quick guides on Mastering Conflict Management Skills also provide more detail on specific tips and techniques that are useful when approaching team conflict.
Apply What You've Learned
Think about your team, then answer the questions to see how well your team meets the criteria of an effective team. This will allow you to see which areas of teamwork are strong and where there is opportunity for improvement.