Teams: they may be highly structured or informal; consistent or fluid; homogeneous or cross-functional. While their shapes may vary, nearly every professional is working in one, and often for a large part of their day. In the webinar Developing Teams that Work: New Strategies to Support Positive Team Dynamics, David Ringwood took a closer look at why team development is increasingly critical; why a bottom-up approach offers big benefits to an organization; and how a new tool could help you support inclusive teams.
Why we need to be ready to put more work into team work
- Teamwork is increasingly critical: Collaborative activities are an increasingly large part of working life. This makes having teams that work increasingly vital. Conflict – or even moderate misalignment – can negatively impact productivity and retention.
- A critical distinction: Behavior vs. Motivation: a great deal of the conflict that arises within teams happens when we observe each other’s behavior without understanding motivation – either our own, or that of others. This gap in understanding often inspires people to tell themselves “stories” about why people behave the way they do, attributing motivations based on their own biases.
- Motivation isn’t the same for everyone: we tend to project our own motivations onto other people, but studying motivation reveals that there’s an enormous amount of variation. There are patterns within certain groups (across gender, age, and region), but each of us has our own individual motivational DNA as well.
Taking a Bottom-up Approach
Many organizations have long relied on competency models or other prescriptive frameworks to develop leaders: they define what good leadership looks like, and ask people to conform to it. Efficient? Perhaps. But organizations lose the many benefits of having more diverse mindsets and approaches within the company’s leadership.
David talked about the four key components of a bottom-up approach:
- Self Awareness: begin with objective self-observation to recognize natural biases
- Shared Language: establish a common vocabulary (descriptive, not evaluative) to encourage thoughtful, respectful discussion of differences
- Team Awareness: share insights into each other’s own biases and drivers and develop an understanding of how these biases can shape our perceptions of others
- Active Inclusion: consciously creating an environment that allows unique individuals to flourish
A New Tool to Support the Bottom-Up Approach
David introduced the IDI Team Development Report, available from MRG starting May 31, 2018. This tool works on its own or as a complement to other team development approaches, and is designed to support a more inclusive approach.
The report is designed to support all four aspects of the bottom-up approach by:
- Deriving self-awareness from the Individual Directions Inventory, a scientifically designed psychometric assessment that measures individual motivation and sources of energy
- Establishing a shared language using the 17 dimensions that the IDI measures
- Creating a new level of team awareness by presenting teammates’ data together to allow for faster insights and understanding of team patterns, commonalities, and areas of divergence, and by capturing potential team biases
- Encouraging the practice of active inclusion with customized coaching suggestions for the team
We will be taking a closer look at this new report in a webinar on June 27th – please join us.
Did you miss the live webcast?
Catch up on anything you missed in the webinar by getting it on-demand here.
With just an hour to explore such a universal and dynamic subject, there are certainly many questions to probe. Keep an eye on MRG’s LinkedIn and Twitter for resources that will explore this research in greater detail. And read on for questions and answers from the webinar…
Q & A from the webinar
Q: How can a competency model include encouragement and flexibility in adaptive leadership styles? How is success measured if there is no model or ideal to compare to?
Success is often contextually defined. To answer your question about adaptive leadership, there are two approaches that can be used. The first is to choose ranges that tend towards the middle of the construct scales, which generally tends towards a greater degree of flexibility and situational adaptability. The second is to choose constructs that in themselves entail an element of agility (e.g. Creating, Maneuvering, Structuring (low), and so on.
The question of success in a bottom-up model is usually defined by the objectives of the team, the characteristics needed to drive that success, and the extent to which the team is aligned with these characteristics naturally plus the extent to which they “bend” their leadership behaviors in service of team objectives, even if those practices are not necessarily rewarding in themselves. The challenge here is not to go beyond what is reasonably authentic for the individuals, for the reasons we mentioned during the webinar.
Q: What do you recommend for individuals who are uncomfortable with personal sharing with their team, who won’t want to disclose their motivations?
While full first names were used during the webinar for illustrative purposes, the IDI Team Development Report is available with either participant initials or with data that is anonymous.
Q: When you study generational differences, are the age ranges similar across Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Y? Are the differences you’re talking about more tied to stage of adult development then age?
Most likely, yes. The “why” isn’t something we measure directly – these differences might originate from a number of factors such as age, stages of adult development, cultural or societal factors, and such like. We measure the differences themselves, not why they occur.
For a more detailed look at generational differences, both in the IDI and in the LEA, you may be interested in this whitepaper, Coaching a Multi-Generational Workforce – Not Just the Post-Millennials.
Q: What is your definition of psychometric tools?
Psychometrics involve the scientific measurement of specific constructs that are typically derived from a factor analysis, demonstrate appropriately high levels of reliability and several classes of validity (construct, content, etc). They also ideally have high conceptual precision and low inter-scale correlation. Other tools such as Belbin and Lencioni are not strictly psychometrics, they are basically questionnaires that gather views and input from observers/participants, but do not have the psychometric characteristics necessary to label them as anything other than questionnaires.