f there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past year in the world of work, it’s that remote work is here to stay. That means team dynamics will forever look different than they did just a short time ago. Leaders must figure out a way to get the very best out of their team.
Nicole Bendaly, a Forbes contributor that spent more than 20 years helping teams and leaders tap into the very best of themselves, noticed that during the pandemic, the teams that thrived were the ones that had leaders that prioritized people. “Empathy, vulnerability, and flexibility, for example, are leadership qualities that have always been important but are now non-negotiable table-stakes thanks to 2020,” she says.
If leaders are going to improve team dynamics going forward, consider how to incorporate these proven practices. They’ll mean the difference between ensuring your team has what it takes to thrive in this new environment or fall behind the competition.
Build Communication Up Between Teams
High-performing teams with great dynamics always have solid communication in common. Without it, even companies with the most disruptive technology can fall by the wayside. That’s because poor communication results in wasted time, mistrust, stress, and unnecessary complexities. Without the right strategies, systems, and tools in place, mediocrity often follows.
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Start With a Positive Environment
Good communication starts with being engaged. If morale is down and people dread coming to work, it’s only natural for them to do the bare minimum. Having to come into work just to grind out a day and feel overworked leads to stress. By cultivating an environment that encourages taking a break from work and talking with colleagues, employees will get to know each other better and create better work relationships. That doesn’t mean you need to provide them with beanbags, free beer, and a foosball table. It just means employees feel like they can take a break and connect with others during work hours.
Mixed Team Communication Tips
Mixed teams are composed of employees that work in the office and remotely. For many businesses since the pandemic started, this has become the norm. Successful leaders have learned to effectively bridge the gap between those that work regular hours and remote employees that work off hours. Especially for those workers that are in different time zones, good communication is paramount.
Instead of pinging someone in the middle of the night, it’s important to set up communication times where there is an overlap in working hours, if possible. Try to find a time that is convenient for everyone so that you respect individual schedules. It’s important to include everyone in the information loop, even if they aren’t part of a conversation. This allows each team member to see how decisions are made and gives everyone a chance to be heard if they have any input to add.
Address Problems Quickly
One of the outcomes of solid communication is the ability to nip problems in the bud early on. It allows you to identify issues before they become big problems. Once you have a positive work environment where employees feel like they can give honest feedback, problems won’t fester—they’ll be addressed right away. This is particularly important in mixed teams where there are many ways communication can fail.
For instance, if a team member working remotely has tried every channel of communications to inform the right person of a problem, and they’re not getting through to anyone, leadership should identify the problem and fix it. That can also go for an employee in the office trying to contact a remote employee. There is no excuse for not hearing from an employee for multiple days. Remote workers need to know there is a time they can reach a manager, and vice versa.
Consider Creating a Team Charter
A team charter is a document that outlines what a team should do to be successful. It’s kind of a roadmap that guides a team. It clarifies purpose and ensures team members are in agreement with how to go forward with a project. According to Kevin Eikenberry, an expert in converting organizational, team, and individual potential into desired results, there are 7 benefits to creating a team charter:
- Shows support and commitment
- Sets team direction
- Provides agreements and clarity
- Structures and ensures an effective planning process
- Identifies role
- Outlines boundaries and scope
- Sets resources
All of these benefits lead to improved productivity and the likelihood of successful outcomes. Having a team charter should result in less frustration, faster project completion times, and better results.
Celebrate Those Successes!
Productivity means everything in the workplace. We all want those employees that finish a task, goal, or project and then immediately move onto the next one. Who wouldn’t want an employee that works that efficiently? However, employees are humans, not robots. They might be able to do this for a short while, but they’ll eventually burn out. Burnout leads to dissatisfaction, which leads to a lack of motivation.
Success needs to be acknowledged. People need to be inspired to work hard. High-performing employees and teams receive recognition for their hard work. They’re appreciated when they do good work. When employees are celebrated, morale goes up, teams become stronger and more resilient, and employees form connections because they are more engaged. Employers should reward reliability, praise the little things, and express gratitude.
With MetaSpark, managers can track and acknowledge where hard work is coming from without any feelings involved. This way, team members won’t feel like they are being unfairly judged. MetaSpark uses AI to get the data from employees’ work without any subjectivity involved. Once team members finish their tasks, they’ll receive points that they can use to buy gift cards or donate to their favorite charity. By giving employees a sense of achievement, they’ll feel inner joy and share it with team members, creating a bond that benefits everyone.
Improve Team Dynamics with MetaSpark
MetaSpark, a new class of productivity software, helps track company culture and diversity & inclusion across your organization. MetaSpark automatically unearths insights about team dynamics and wellness so you'll always know how your company is doing - and where you can improve.