Why is it so important to discuss team dynamics?
It’s always tempting to simply ignore the things that make you feel awkward or uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the underlying dynamics in your team are too important to ignore, since they impact both the well-being and the functioning of your teams. With teams being the backbone of every productive organisation, the underlying team dynamics such as giving feedback and embracing failure and conflict play a crucial role in the success of those teams.
Rituals to take away the awkwardness when discussing team dynamics
Implementing small team rituals can help you take away the awkwardness in discussing team dynamics. As purposeful interaction scripts, rituals structure the discussion and make it less risky for participants to speak up. Following a fixed pattern, a ritual is set up in the same way for everyone. A check-in for example states: for the next 5 minutes, everyone in this meeting gets a chance to speak up and share how they feel, without being interrupted or judged. This predictability diminishes vulnerability since everyone is in the same boat.
Team leader as a Master of Ceremony
Of course, we can’t expect these team rituals to happen spontaneously. This is why, as a leader, you have to take up the role of Master of Ceremony. It might sound fancy, but it’s actually pretty simple. Just like a priest at weddings or funerals, a corporate master of ceremony takes it upon himself/herself to streamline the team rituals and create a space for depth and emotions.
By explicitly taking up the role as master of ceremony, you make the situation less personal. It’s no longer about you, it’s about the ceremony. Removing the personal aspect will make it less awkward for you as a leader to prompt the subject of team dynamics. At the same time, your team will be grateful to you, since you make it easier for them to speak up.
As a leader, you can keep pushing the product and the people but if you don’t manage your process, if you don’t tackle those underlying team dynamics, your team will suffer. Take up your role of master of ceremony and be brave enough to tackle that soft side, because it’s the glue that keeps your teams and thus your organisation thriving.