Kurt Lewin, a social psychologist and change management expert, coined the term "group dynamics" in the early 1940s. People often take on distinct roles and behaviors when they work in a group. "Group dynamics" describes the effects of these roles and behaviors on other group members, and on the group as a whole.
Team dynamics can either make or break a high-performance team- which can greatly affect the overall performance of an organization. This is especially true when an organization is small since everyone works so closely together, but it can just be as important in a larger organization. Creating a high-performance team is more than just putting a bunch of smart people together in one room, it also involves ensuring the harmony among the members, and having them work and communicate well will one another.
Communication is one of the biggest factors that can influence team dynamics. When there are no communication strategies among the team, it can lead to an environment that is argument-prone and conflict-ridden—perhaps in a way that permanently damages the team dynamic. Furthermore, people can misinterpret one another’s intentions and ideas if there are no clear communication strategies presented.
People have different communication styles and we must understand that not everyone can understand you, nor can you understand every single person. Some may be more vocal than others, some may automatically resort to negative thinking even when they don’t understand the context, others may be abrasive, while a lot can just keep things to themselves and not speak their minds at all even when needed. With everyone in the team having good communication and listening skills, we function better at work and are more productive. Your colleagues understand you more as much as you understand them, too. You may not always agree on things but having communication strategies at hand makes the disagreements easier to handle and resolve.
If your team is still struggling with their dynamics, and is particularly weak in effective communication, here are some communication strategies that the whole team can use:
The Sandwich Method is one of the most effective communication strategies that you can use not just in the workplace, but even with your circle of friends. It is the technique of identifying the positive attributes about the person or the work first, following with the constructive feedback, and finally, the recommendation to improve such negative observation. It is a fact of life that no one really likes receiving criticism, some even have a hard time giving it. As there may be a lot of people out there who are sensitive to perceived criticism, using the Sandwich technique is an important and easy way to give constructive feedback while minimizing the pain of the recipient. This strategy can make the employee see his/her shortcomings as opportunities to further improve.
Open and Fair Communication
This is as simple as giving everyone fair chance in speaking their minds during forums and trainings, which can be implemented by providing time limits, and other avenues to express such as anonymous question board, online groups, blogs, and freedom walls. Include all of the forms of communication that your group uses – emails, meetings, and shared documents, for example – to avoid any ambiguity. The leader must also have strong facilitation skills to further ensure that everyone will indeed have a fair chance in communicating.
If the status of a project changes, or if you have an announcement to make, let people know as soon as possible. That way, you can ensure that everyone has the same information.
This may also include providing constant feedback on the work, and the employee’s performance.