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Improving Team Performance through Culture Change


Organisations across all industries and sectors are reliant on their workforce to deliver key objectives and outcomes. Whilst many organisations are capable of delivering performances that may meet organisational expectations, all organisations will be influenced by team dynamics that can significantly undermine organisational performance. Importantly, many organisations do not manage the interactional processes between employees that can limit their potential to deliver high performance and outperform their competitors. In this blog, we will explore how unhelpful team dynamics can undermine organisational performance and what senior leaders can do to introduce culture change.

The Influence of Team Dynamics:

Team dynamics, or the interactions and relationships between team members, develop because teams are comprised of multiple individuals who all have different perceptions of the world and each other. The differences individuals bring to the workplace are related to multiple aspects of their lives including family relationships, geographical upbringing, socioeconomic standing and educational experiences. As such, organisations will inevitably be spaces were difference and diversity exist.

Whilst these differences between individuals should be celebrated and embraced, differing interactional styles and methods of communicating between employees often lead to misunderstanding, disharmony and conflict in the workplace. When unhelpful team dynamics are present, many organisations will see this reflected through low team morale, high rates of absenteeism, high rates of disengagement (commonly referred to as ‘quiet quitting’) and underperformance.

Becoming Aware of an Unintentional Culture:

Because the workforce is the lifeblood of any organisation, there is an imperative that senior leaders are quick to respond to unhelpful team dynamics when they begin to emerge. Failure to do so will begin to establish an unintentional organisational culture that promotes and embeds the five dysfunctions of a team (Lencioni, 2002):

· Absence of trust

· Fear of conflict

· Lack of commitment

· Avoidance of accountability

· Inattention to results

If senior leaders become alert to and attentive of the team dynamics throughout the organisation, they will be in the best position possible to begin establishing a culture that promotes and embeds positive team dynamics leading to higher staff morale and employee engagement and lower rates of absenteeism.

Taking Steps to Establish an Intentional Culture:

When senior leaders commit to enabling high performance from their teams, they will need to review the existing workplace culture to identify any team dynamics that might be unintentionally undermining the organisation. Undertaking a thoughtful review of the team dynamics within the C-Suite itself is an important first step to changing organisational culture, as unhelpful dynamics in the leadership team will naturally be replicated within other teams. When senior leaders show a willingness to consider how their interactions and relationships together can improve, it sets forth an invitation for other teams in the organisation to strive towards improving their team dynamics as well.

In recognising that all employees are individuals and that their interactions, behaviours and relationships with each other inform their individual and team performance, senior leaders can then begin to establish an intentional culture that will develop high performing teams. If you are a senior leader and would like to know more about understanding your team dynamics and what you can do to establish an intentional workplace culture that fosters high performances across the organisation, follow these easy steps:

1. Schedule a call

2. Plan what you want to achieve

3. Implement your plan

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