By now, most organizations have gone back to their formal work premises as they were before the pandemic. Others have adjusted to hybrid work conditions. As organizations navigate employee return, or semi-return, it is worthwhile reevaluating team dynamics to make sure they are working efficiently.
Some people confuse “working groups” with “teams”; there is a big difference between the two. A working group consists of people who share ideas and learn from one another but are not interdependent and are not working toward a shared goal. A team on the other hand, has specific characteristics as defined by Leigh L. Thompson, author of Making The Team, A Guide For Managers.
For a team to work effectively, they need:
1. To be working towards a shared goal,
2. To have a level of interdependency, and
3. To have authority to manage their internal work processes.
It would help if team members shared similar interests, friendships, work styles and/or skills; but it is not mandatory for them to be working effectively.
Leaders can assess team dynamics by validating and realigning team goals, interdependency and authority. They can use various tools to assess the health of the team; below are some of the readily available tools depending on the type of assessment:
Team Health Assessments
- Team Assessment Report (TAR)
- Belbin Team Roles
- RallyBright Resilient Teams
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
- DISC / Everything DISC / Social Style
- Gallup’s CliftonStrengths / StrengthFinder
- Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)
- HEXACO Personality Inventory
- Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI)
- Trust Quotient (TQ)
- The Speed of Trust Index
- The 12 Dimensions of Trust
- Leadership Practices Inventory LPI
- Voices 360
Formal assessments provide many benefits. They increase self-awareness, help better understand individual preferences and enhance trust among team members. Having said that, and especially in cases of minimal or no budget, leaders can take simple steps to enhance team dynamics. They can schedule regular meetings with their team members, run frequent check-ins to ensure alignment and, most importantly, create an open culture of feedback.