Okay, let’s say you have a team. And let’s say that it consists of brilliant individuals who are able to stand on their own. Dream team, right? But how do you know that they can work well together? How can you make sure that these people will give a great performance as a group? How can you make your project comes to life while having an enjoyable time doing it? Behind every great team, lies a great team dynamic. In this article, I will talk about team dynamics and how I experience it in real life.
Team Dynamics and How It Goes
Team dynamic is defined as the relationship between the members of a group. The relationship could be good or bad depending on how each member behaves toward one another. It’s extremely important to have a positive dynamic as it will become a force that gives your team direction. To build a positive dynamic, every member of the team must trust each other and held accountable for their responsibility. A group with positive dynamic will most likely achieve success and have lesser conflicts.
Here are some characteristics of a positive team dynamics.
Communicate. Whatever it is, communicate.
In order to have a relationship with others, you need to talk to them. The team needs to maintain an open communication so the environment can be more lively. Keep the members of your team updated on your progress or whether you have some difficulties. People will feel reassured when information is shared. You don’t need to always talk about work, you can talk about something else too, so the members won’t think that everything is “strictly-business”. For example, we sometimes post random pictures of our cats just for fun!
Each member of the team must be certain on what the goal is and which direction they will take in order to accomplish the goal. It’s important to have one vision, because we need everyone to row the boat in the same direction. There may be times where we feel exhausted, maybe to the point that we feel burn-out. But with a clear finish line in mind, we will stay motivated because we know why we started this project. There’s a shared purpose that we want to fulfill and that will be the reason for us to keep going. Even if we can’t motivate ourselves, other member will encourage you to keep going because they realize it takes everyone to participate in order for this to work.
Frictions within team can occur when there’s no clarity about each person’s specific role. Before starting, each member has to be aware of everyone’s responsibility so there will be no task left untouched. Additionally, by having every member held accountable for their task, trust will be built. In my project, we always plan every sprint transparently in sprint planning. We create a board which anyone can access to each member’s task and see the progress that’s been made. This way, all task will remain tracked.
Conflict is bound to happen at some point. The challenge is to find a way to solve the conflict. A team with positive dynamics won’t collapse when they face one, because they believe that they will work through it. You need to keep in mind that having conflict is normal, disagreement is normal. The key is to not take conflict personally and see it as a way to learn. It is also important to address conflicts early. Keep it on the surface, so everyone in the team knows and can help to solve. The more you keep conflicts hidden, the more fatal its effect could be. In my team, it’s become a culture for us to always mention issues as soon as we start feeling like we can’t finish it alone. By doing this, problems will be immediately handled and finished before the deadline.
Celebrate Success 🎉
Reaching the finish line is the team’s goal. And when that happens, congratulating the members and thanking them for their hard work will lift their spirits up. It is a way to make someone feel appreciated for all of their efforts. It’s also okay too for praising your team mates for even the smallest achievement they make.
Servant Leader in Team Dynamics
The term “Servant Leader” was introduced first by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970. Servant leadership is defined as an approach where the leader’s goal is to serve. In this context, the leader serves by giving guidance, motivation, and encouragement for people to do their work. The servant leader focuses on every person that works below them and makes sure that they’re able to grow and express themselves. They also ought to be a good listener, have empathy, be aware, and be persuasive without being forceful.
I’ve experienced the impact of servant leadership by working in this project. My scrum master and product owner act as the servant leaders in this case. We hold a meeting twice every week and during each meeting, the scrum master will ask us if we find any difficulties and whether it has been solved or not. And whenever we said that there are difficult things, they don’t scold us or force us to fix it immediately. Instead, they listen and ask other members to help those who have problems. There’s one time when I haven’t made any progress and couldn’t attend the meeting because I was heavily ill for a week. I wasn’t afraid to inform my scrum master about my condition, because I know that she would sympathize and she did.
With leaders who don’t use their power to pressure, those who work below them will have more freedom to grow and communicate their problem. You know what servant leaders will create? Yup, an enjoyable work environment :)
Team Capacity Building
Great relationship? Check. What about capacity?
Each team has their own capacity. This team capacity will be a measure of the team’s strength and sustainability. Of course, with greater capacity, a greater result will be in reach.
Team capacity is built from individual’s capacity. It’s no surprise that in a team, there are those who are good at something and those who struggle with it. The more the member with better understanding helps the member with less understanding to learn and practice, the more their capacity will be built. And as individual capacity enlarges, so does the team’s capacity.
Before we start the project, we first held a meeting together to learn more about each other. I have to say that this meeting established the ground that we’re standing on now.
Building capacity takes time. In fact, my team is still building capacity because we still want to grow. We build capacity by learning and accepting each other. We acknowledge that some people may take longer times than others because they need to learn. That’s the most important part — to let others have space to learn.
To be honest, I’ve faced some difficulties in an area where I have a hard time providing a solution. And at times like that, my friend who’s better than me in this topic and I scheduled a meeting in Discord, so he can see what went wrong in my code and guide me to fix it.
We also have a chance to reflect on our capacity every time we finish a sprint. In sprint retrospective, we evaluate what was good and what was bad. We also plan what we should start doing and what we should stop doing. As each sprint passes, the good things increase, the bad things decrease. That’s the result of learning together as a team and now we have bigger capacity than before.
To end this article, I would like to insert a quote from an idol that I deeply admire whose team has now reach a great amount of success thanks to their bond and capacity.
So, a group like this, whether we like it or not, have to go through everything together, meaning we have to constantly think about what direction we want to go while working together. I think we were able to do this because while we respect each individual, we put our focus on the team. Truthfully, we knew that if our team did well, that meant we all did well individually too. — Suga of BTS
Yup, it couldn’t get any truer than that. Thankfully, everything in my project has been going smoothly up until now. This is because my team and I aren’t just responsible for our tasks, but also of each other.
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