Team dynamics strongly influence how a team reacts, performs and behaves, along with impacting organisational culture and workplace health. Healthy team dynamics can provide a sense of belonging, identity and self-esteem, stress reduction and greater wellbeing.

How to create healthy team dynamics

The organisational value of healthy dynamic teams includes increased productivity, the development of creative and innovative solutions to complex problems, and colleague collaboration and support.

Five key functions of a team:

  1. Building trust
  2. Mastering conflict
  3. Achieving commitment
  4. Embracing accountability
  5. Focusing on results

To establish and maintain such dynamics, it’s essential that there’s a clear understanding of the purpose, function and effectiveness of the team, and that any team conflict is addressed and resolved skillfully and quickly.

Six main causes of team conflict:

  1. Competition for resources: When the demand for resources exceeds the resources that are available
  2. Task interdependence: When one team member’s completion of a task affects another team member’s ability to complete their tasks
  3. Authority: When there is disagreement around geographical territory or boundaries of authority
  4. Communication barriers: When physical, psychological and cultural hurdles arise that hinder effective and beneficial communication between team members
  5. Beliefs: When one team member’s individual beliefs do not match those of other members in the group
  6. Personality: When members of a team do not have compatible personalities

What to do if team conflict occurs?

After identifying the problematic or conflicting behaviour, depersonalising the conflict wherever possible is important, along with focusing on what we can and cannot control in the workplace. We cannot change personality, though we can regulate behaviour, and workplace behaviours can be controlled by individuals. In addition, early, proactive intervention can assist in preventing unhealthy team dynamics becoming a part of the organisational culture.

How to build effective teams

For any team to be effective, the following components must be met:

Focus on key team skills and behaviours

When establishing new teams, recruiting team members who possess skills or behaviours that are well suited to working in a team (apart from their specific job skills), can greatly influence team effectiveness. Key skills to focus on include:

For existing teams, mentoring and training team members to develop these skills will enhance the likelihood that the team will be effective.

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