Imagine putting together a group of highly skilled experts in their respective fields. On paper, the group sounds like a dream team. But then once the team goes to work, a lot of things don’t fulfill your expectations. Maybe it's because your team was missing one key element of a great team, team dynamics.
A team is a group of individuals that most likely have distinct characteristics, skills, and personalities. For those different individuals to produce outstanding results, they should be able to work together well in a team. That’s where team dynamics come in. Team dynamics is the way members of a team interact and communicate with each other. Good team dynamics have a positive correlation with how well and synchronous the team works together. On the other hand, poor team dynamics can lead to difficulties in achieving the team’s goal.
Roles in Group Dynamics
Roles play a huge factor in determining whether a team has a good or bad group dynamic. Roles in teams should be distributed effectively so that the team can work efficiently. These roles should also be clearly defined so that each team member knows what is expected of them. With clear roles, members can also know who to go to when they need help with a certain area.
The leader role is the most important role that contributes to group dynamics. An effective leader serves as the glue holding the team together. Without a good leader, a team will most definitely fall apart. Leaders are in charge of setting the goals and giving out directions. Another important thing to note is that leaders shouldn’t be this authoritative figure that is feared by the team members. Leaders need to be supportive and encouraging for the team members to strive for improvements, even if it means taking a risk. This concept is also known as a “servant leader”.
Characteristics of A Good Group Dynamic
A good team works together as a single unit. To work as a single unit, the group should have a unified goal. This means that each member should know what the group wants to achieve clearly. Leaders should also give directions that can eliminate any uncertainty that the members have. Another way to build alignment is by having a team slogan. A team slogan can be a tool for creating shared values within a team.
Communication is the key to great teamwork, which is why team members should constantly communicate with one another. Whenever a member faces problems, sharing those issues with the group builds transparency. By communicating the issues, other members can also chip in to help solve the problem. Even if there aren’t any problems, members can still communicate with one another by sharing their progress.
Sense of Belonging
By planting a sense of belonging into the group, working together will feel less like a burden and more enjoyable. A sense of belonging can be developed by creating a supportive environment. Organizing group activities can also create a stronger bond between team members.
We need to remember that a team consists of various individuals. At one point or another, team members may have different opinions on certain things. This can sometimes lead to conflict. Teams with good team dynamics don’t collapse when a conflict arises. On the other hand, they actually grow stronger once they work their way through the conflict. Resolving conflict needs strong communication skills within the team and the ability to compromise.
Team Dynamics IRL
Currently, I am working on a project in a scrum team. Just like any other team, scrum teams also need good group dynamics to work well in a group and develop excellent products. I find that our team has great group dynamics because of the following factors.
In our team, we have two leaders who serve different purposes. We have a Scrum Master and a Product Owner. Simply put, our Scrum Master is in charge of the individuals of the team, while our Product Owner is responsible for the results produced by the team.
The Scrum Master does routine checks on how each team member is doing and how the team has progressed in their work. Whenever the development team member faces some difficulty, they can comfortably talk to the Scrum Master about those difficulties. In this type of situation, our Scrum Master offers support while also advising on how to handle our problems. Our Scrum Master also posts reminders and keeps us on track. The Product Owner also does checks on our work but is more focused on the fulfillment of the product's criteria. The Product Owner guides us so that we can present a product that satisfies and even exceeds our client's expectations.
Having good team leaders really does affect our team dynamics positively. We are able to work more assuredly because we are able to count on our leaders for guidance and help.
Having Defined and Clear Roles
Our development team consists of 5 members: Audilla, Brian, Huda, Zuhdi, and me. Each of us has our own tasks and roles. We split our roles based on who works on the backend and who works on the frontend. For the first sprint, Zuhdi and Huda were in charge of the backend, while Audilla, Brian, and I worked on the frontend. As the sprints progressed, the workload for the backend decreased, so Huda switched to working on the frontend after a few sprints. Having defined these roles really helped us in our team dynamics because we knew who to for any issues.
Team bonding is a great way to develop a sense of belonging within the group. While working with a scrum framework, we have lots of events that can be used as an opportunity to bond with the team. Such events include daily scrums, sprint retrospectives, and sprint planning. I found that the event that has the most impact on our team bond is the sprint retrospective. In the sprint retrospective, we get to reflect and discuss our time working as a team. Outside of sprint events, we also like to do group calls where we can interact more freely. I found that the more we bonded, the easier communication between teammates became. With better communication, we also became a lot more efficient and productive, thus increasing our team dynamics quality.
Staying Motivated as a Team
Our project has been going on for around more than a month, which is quite a long time. In long periods of time, some team members can become burnt out and unmotivated, especially if they have other projects and assignments to complete. In these cases, our team needs to pay special attention to them. We must encourage and support our other team members when they feel burnt out. Besides encouraging, we also try to find ways to help them. For example, we can assist and accompany them in doing their tasks.
What Makes Our Team Unique
Another thing that keeps the team connected, other than bonding activities, is a shared interest. Our unique shared interests are…. cats!😄 Turns out after a few meetings, we found out that the whole team has a fond appreciation for cats! Because of that, the team members who have cats like to share photos of their cats in our group chat. This may seem quite random, but doing this helps build a deeper bond and sense of belonging within the team. It also creates a more open and welcoming environment for the team.