The number of management levels has decreased significantly in the last ten years. Organizations have a flatter team structure and increasingly consist of groups of teams working together. That makes good team dynamics extremely important, which is only getting only harder to achieve with many team members working from home. As a result, employees think that their efforts don't yield results, are not appreciated and are not even noticed. That can really have an impact on job satisfaction.
Why well-running teams contribute to organizational success
Many organizations are too large for you as an employee to see a real impact from your individual contribution. It can make you feel like an unimportant cog in a large factory. That's why dividing a workforce into teams is so useful. By contributing to the organizational goal as a team, and at the same time contributing to the team goal as an individual, your contribution becomes clear. You can see the result of your work. That can foster a strong sense of engagement, because you know that you are contributing to a larger success, whether you're a team player or not. You can see a team as a mini-organization; see the figure below.
Win on performance
I like to draw a parallel with competitive sailing. A team on a sailing boat consists of a skipper, a navigator, a main sheet, trimmers and a bowman. They all work together to control a large racing boat. If everyone performs their jobs well and cooperation is good, your sailing team will be taking home the trophy. Even if other teams have the exact same type of boat, your performance and team dynamics mean that you will win. That can really give you an adrenaline rush.
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If you achieve more as a team than the sum of individual team members' performance, you are part of a "high-performance team." A well-oiled machine, with a clear team focus, where each team member has a clear role and levels of trust are high. In order to develop a good team dynamic, mutual expectations must be clear. Clear and achievable team goals that tie in with an appealing organizational mission are also needed. Employees will not only feel connected to their team, but also engaged in the organization as a consequence.
A well-running team fulfills many needs
A high-performance team meets the six basic needs of employees: You feel a sense of assurance as a team member because you feel safe, because you trust your colleagues and because you know they will catch you if you fall. Those same teammates also create a much-needed sense of uncertainty: you are embarking on a challenging adventure together.
If you notice that team members are happy with you and your work, you also feel appreciated. In addition, you can feel a strong connection with the people around you in the workplace.
If you are given new opportunities through team changes over the years, you can grow personally. Plus when your team and your organization help to make the world a better place, you also experience a sense of purpose.
Together, all of these factors form the foundation for feeling passionate about your work and make working fun and rewarding.
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How can you strengthen the connections within teams?
Offices are currently at between 25 and 50 percent occupancy. A lot of the normal team dynamics are likely to be lost in this situation. To ensure that team members still feel connected while they're working remotely, it's more important than ever to set clear goals for each team, rank those goals, and align this list of priorities with the rest of the organization.
it's more important than ever to set clear goals for each team, rank those goals, and align this list of priorities with the rest of the organization
That way, everyone knows what they can expect from each other. Compiling a list of goals like this is relatively easy for a sales team — but more difficult for a reception team, for example. On the other hand, you can give the reception team a clear direction to head in; for example, by telling the team to be the business card of our organization and make sure that everyone can work in peace as much as possible.
Feedback culture keeps teams healthy
It is also smart to schedule specific occasions when the team is in contact. This could be a short video call to check in with each other where the team reviews current business and priorities for five to ten minutes each morning.
Informal meetings are also still important. This can be a social event such as online drinks. Or you can plan days for the entire team to be present in the building while maintaining social distancing.
If a team is self-directed, right now it may be useful to implement some form of leadership; for example, by appointing a senior employee as the team coordinator.
In addition, a good feedback culture is essential in these circumstances. Without it, minor annoyances may grow and turn into the straw that breaks the camel's back. That's why it's important to monitor team dynamics and performance. The energy within teams is the fuel for your organization.
Engagement in your work
In a series of blogs, Guido Heezen, founder of Effectory, explains the conditions required to create an engaged workforce. Engagement is the extent to which employees are absorbed in their work. Engaged employees learn quickly and are creative. Engagement is a good predictor for customer satisfaction, low employee turnover, high productivity and profitability.
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