think organisation
Team performance

Many clients come to us frustrated about the performance of others. Wasted time, effort or poor quality results from individuals often lead to a whole team not adding the expected value.

Team: is a group of people working together for a common purpose, objective or goal.

Your role as a leader is multi-faceted

You need to be able to lead:

  1. yourself 
  2. a team of peers  
  3. networks of teams, or projects
  4. stakeholders

Technology has ensured many barriers are being broken down. This means a leader needs to ensure value is delivered across wide areas of their business. This has led to an increase in leaders contacting Think Organisation as their teams fail to add the value required.

A CEO can account for 45% of a company’s performance.

McKinsey (2023)

So how do successful leaders ensure their team is delivering value?  

Value: something which is important, has monetary worth, or is regarded as beneficial or useful  

Create effective team dynamics.

Successful leaders understand how to understand and utilise team dynamics. This can be either through recognition of natural talent and ability or through skills and strengths training or development.

Team dynamics (first introduced by Kurt Lewin in 1947) assume the whole dominates the parts. This means the group can’t be the sum of the individual parts. Because the functioning of the group impacts the behaviour of each member, so, in a high-performing team this is greater than the sum of the parts, and in a low-performing team it is less.  

In the 1970’s Lewin’s research was developed by Tajfel and colleagues into social learning theory. This outlines how an individual’s sense of self is based on the groups to which they belong (Tajfel, 1978).

Have you ever felt you acted in a way just to fit in with the group? The science of human behaviour has been proven, repeatedly, to improve the value added by teams. Just asking them to be more effective, no matter how motivated they are, often won’t lead to any improvements.

Think Organisation has worked with hundreds of leaders, empowering them to understand the relationships between groups (intergroup relations), and between individuals and the group they are in (intragroup relations).

Improve negative, or detrimental behaviour

Teams with negative, or detrimental behaviours, can be improved without singling out individuals to create more inclusive cultures for everyone. All interventions delivered are based on extensive academic research (Gencer, 2019), grounded in extensive practical leadership experience, empowering attendees to improve performance.

Sarah Clarke CDir Fellow ABP researched the relationships between organisational culture, employee engagement and leaders relationships for her MSc in Occupational Psychology. With the advent of social media and other mobile technology, the speed, depth and scale of impact has grown exponentially. This has led to the current need for dynamic leaders who can inspire people, by being able to lead themselves and utilise this headwind created through group dynamics and technology.  

Many barriers have been removed, and this allows people to identify with several different groups simultaneously. Real-time communication increases an individual’s cognitive identity, with the impact of social learning blurring the lines of teams. This means organisations can be impacted (positively or negatively) much faster than ever before, and that team dynamics can move much faster and be more sensitive.

A few pointers: 

If you are a leader frustrated about teams not adding the expected (or anticipated) value here are a few pointers:

  1. Map the group dynamics in your team (inter & intra-group).
    • Use a 0-10 scoring matrix for the performance/value added by individuals and teams.   
  2. Ask and listen to your their thoughts, ideas and perceptions about how the they function.
    • Discuss how value may be improved, empowering team members to work together to overcome challenges, or remove blockers.   
  3. Ensure you all have clear metrics.
    • It is crucial to ensure outputs correlate directly with outcomes.
    • Misaligned metrics can veer a team off course and reduce value exponentially.
  4. Foster behaviours to create a culture which is psychologically safe.
    • Be authentic, supporting people to discuss challenges, share ideas as value is delivered in cultures with high psychological safety.
  5. Utilise agile solutions, such as design sprints, to focus on specific challenges.
    • Activities which help you work together effectuvely, designed to increase divergent and convergent thinking can lead to exceptional results. 

Read the following research paper on Network Leadership (2022) which highlights some of the latest thinking, including current models. Getting started often begins with a conversation. So why don’t you share this article with your colleagues?

Frequently Asked Questions

How can leaders effectively map the dynamics within their teams, both intergroup and intragroup, to identify areas for improvement and enhance value creation?

Leaders can effectively map team dynamics by observing interactions within the team, assessing individual and team performance, and gathering feedback from team members about challenges and opportunities for improvement. By understanding how individuals interact with each other and how group dynamics influence behaviour, leaders can identify areas where interventions may be needed to enhance value creation.

In what ways can leaders ensure a psychologically safe culture within their teams, allowing for open discussions about challenges and fostering an environment conducive to driving value across different teams?

Leaders can create a psychologically safe culture within their teams by fostering an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, ideas, and concerns without fear of judgment or reprisal. This can be achieved through open communication, active listening, encouraging collaboration, and demonstrating empathy towards team members’ perspectives and experiences. By creating a culture of psychological safety, leaders enable teams to address challenges openly and work together effectively to drive value across different teams.

Could you provide examples or case studies showcasing instances where your organization has successfully improved team dynamics and increased the value added by teams in various contexts?

Our organisation has a track record of successfully improving team dynamics and increasing the value added by teams in various contexts. We have worked with numerous clients to implement strategies for enhancing collaboration, communication, and problem-solving within teams. Through targeted interventions, such as team assessments, training workshops, and coaching sessions, we have helped teams overcome obstacles and achieve measurable improvements in performance and value creation. Our case studies and client testimonials provide evidence of the tangible results we have delivered, and we are always happy to share our insights and experiences with others looking to optimise team effectiveness.

Please feel free to reach out to us at – [email protected] or [email protected].  

Think Performance. Think Excellence. Think Impact.  

Adapted from an article originally published on LinkedIn, December 14th 2023.

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