Leading a Dream: Positive Team Dynamics Mean Success
I once led a team that I believed was truly magical. We had a real spark between us and collaborated in a way that I had never experienced. And through this team we accomplished some industry firsts, lots of successes, and plenty of belly laughs.
Are you dreaming of a team that is really supportive of each other and really enjoys each others’ company? Many of us are. Even today as an executive coach I sometimes miss the days of huddling together working through strategies and execution with my former group.
Luckily I still have the opportunity to help other teams build this type of atmosphere through my work coaching in companies and organizations.
I really believe in strongly bonded teams and I’ve seen firsthand how much positive team dynamics shape successful results. So I want to share some of the ways my previous “magical” team worked together, that may help you as a leader or colleague build an atmosphere of strong camaraderie and success.
First, build trust
This is something that takes time but it is critical that you make a few conscientious decisions to assume positive intent, clarify when there’s confusion, show each other courtesy and respect, and minimize any unfriendly competitiveness or intense ego. These are things that you can do even if you aren’t a leader, as they are practices that everyone can adopt to ensure a professional atmosphere that breeds trust. Even one person modeling these behaviors can start a ripple effect of change for a team.
Take time out to create shared objectives
Every year, my former team conducted a shared visioning lab, exploring what we wanted to achieve, and determining what we wanted to stand for as a department. How did we want to be seen, what ethos did we want to project outward and inspire others with? This wasn’t an exercise in vanity, It was an opportunity to form a dedicated mission, purpose and rallying cry. And it helped us stay centered, focused and deliberate with everything we did.
Understand each others’ strengths, then apply them
Consider who is in the room. Come to know the professional aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, personal affinities inside of your colleagues. In my former dream team, all of this was poured into the foundation of how we would behave as a collective. As a leader, it was my job to nurture and respect these personal markers as we wove them into our deliverables.
So make sure as a leader responsibilities are shared not just based on capability but interest and passion about the task, as well as any stretch goals. This participatory approach enabled us to become a top team, rather than a disjointed cluster of top talent. Most importantly, this participation meant that my success was theirs, and vice versa.
Keep everything transparent
The other ingredient that made us stand out was transparency, especially after projects concluded and before reviews started. Much like we started the cycle, we went into closing it as a team. Before anything was put on paper, we sat down and reflected together. What went well? What didn’t? What had changed throughout the year that potentially forced us to change course? What did we learn together and how did our collective intelligence grow? These candid post-mortems were conducted with full openness and flexible mindsets.
Be extra transparent as a leader
I used to share my reviews with my team. Victories and failures belonged to us collectively and the more data points we could inspect as a team, the richer we would be for it. The openness I adopted helped us all learn together and grow together.
Relinquish all fears and go!
Command-and-control creates fear. Fear of speaking up, fear of making mistakes, fear of dreaming big and being creative. I can’t recommend more than to open yourself as a leader and really make your team part of the decision making, feedback reviews, and more. This allows for greater buy-in from them and truly magical results for all!
Transparency and a participatory approach amongst your team creates trust and the knowledge of reliance, that we are responsible for each other’s well-being and success. And honestly: isn’t that how it is supposed to be?
Coaching for your team is something I highly recommend if you’re a leader or team member who feels that you are not performing together at your highest level, or if you’re feeling friction or tension that doesn’t need to be there.
Coming together to align on goals, processes, boundaries and even socially can make a huge impact on your feelings toward your work environment and projects. So go ahead, build your dream team!
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