There are many successful teams that we can recall at an instant. The A Team, Chelsea FC last season, the Leadership team at Apple, the well documented Google teams and their Google culture… the list goes on. It is also without exerting too much energy that I can recall a less successful team which led me to thinking about team dynamics and impetus.
The ‘Connexus’ team from BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’ this year lost the first 5 out of 6 tasks set by Lord Sugar. Why does a team with a varied skill base and loads of energy go on to fail so miserably time after time?
The Apprentice candidates are striving for a short term win for each task and compete as a team, however the longer term goal for each of them is to become Lord Sugar’s business partner and so in the fight to come out on top overall the cohesion of the team suffers. They are working towards a common short term goal but have opposing long term goals, so in essence what remains is many lone operators fighting for the ‘i’ in their team.
Team dynamics and success is widely discussed and personality and ‘role’ theories are often used to ensure that balanced teams are created. Belbin believes a successful team should incorporate 9 ‘roles’. These are:
Each team member is motivated to ensure that the team is effective and goal driven and having these personality types ensures that all stages of a project have an oriented person to guide the other team members. However with so many varying personality types surely conflict is never far away and trust must be hard to build. We should be mindful that the ‘i’ may be easily lost as the group works towards their common goal, or that the long term motivations of the individual team members may overshadow the team goal. Engagement theory highlights to us that we are more comfortable working with like-minded people, yet we produce better results in diverse groups, we develop our skills more and develop our EQ. How can we address this and remain balanced as individuals and as a group? A challenge that I’m sure Lord Sugar himself would not relish.
Is there an ‘i’ in TEAM? Yes there is, without the ‘i’s there would be no team. The challenge is not to forget the individuals in striving for the end goal. The individuals make up the whole, which if built and managed well can be greater than the sum of its parts.
These are merely my musings and thoughts on people. Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment. Merry Christmas! Natalie