Team dynamics are very interesting

I’ve been working with a group of managers recently.

They haven’t worked particularly closely together before and know each other only vaguely.

My task was twofold – help them get to know each other better and take them through a process resulting in a plan to help the business grow.

So, the 48 hours we had together went something like this: first evening, orientation and providing a list of tasks to complete, then over to them.

On the way, I gave them behavioural indicator questionnaires to help them work out whether they were task, team or individually focussed managers and another which showed them their preferred Belbin team role… as a group there were a whole load of Implementers (those people who got things going) and a very few Completer Finishers (those people who made sure things get wrapped up).

When I asked them whether they thought they were task, team or individually focussed, of course, they all said definitely task; they were very much focussed on getting the job done, making sure that they delivered a fabulous return to the business… well, their boss was in the room listening, I suppose.

It actually turned out that the whole team of 10 were focussed on the individuals in their teams… according to the answers they gave using the standard questionnaire.

‘No, that can’t be,’ was the general response.  ‘Your questionnaire must be rubbish, many of the questions didn’t relate to me!’

I kept stum and gave them my best knowing smile.

The next exercise was the really important stuff.  I gave them the vaguest of objectives about their task to help the business move forward and then let them get on with it.

Guess what happened…

Nope, you’re quite wrong.

They had a really good discussion and began to agree a plan… then someone hadn’t had their say, so the discussion happened again, with a different plan agreed.  Brilliant!  Let’s move on.  No – someone else had a different opinion, so it all happened again, with a changed plan being the outcome.

Oh, my stars!

I referred them back to the task, team and individual and team roles information we had just so recently been through and pointed out that, even though, they didn’t agree with the results, they were being manifested right in front of their very eyes.

‘Oh, yeah!’

You could almost hear the clang as the penny dropped… a leader was nominated, timescales set, a timekeeper appointed and away we went – it turned out to be a great event.

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