Much like the undertow created near the shoreline, so it is with leadership teams. The ‘emotional undertow’ of teams is a naturally occurring phenomenon, largely unseen and one that operates as a powerful counter-current to progress. It can pull team members ‘beneath the surface’, throwing them off-track from the real work that needs to be done. However, such dynamics can also be harnessed as a force for good, in service of developing as a more cohesive, high-performing team.
In working with leadership teams, we typically find that it’s our deeper focus on team dynamics that provides the platform for achieving a step-change in team effectiveness. Team dynamics go beyond surface behaviour to include those out-of-awareness, psychological forces that might be influencing the direction of a team’s behaviour, performance and well-being.
The leadership teams with whom we work might be ‘stuck’ in their current mode of operating and looking for a way forward. They might aspire to take themselves to the next level of performance, while others might be manifestly dysfunctional in some way. Either way, we work with the team’s business agenda, while being observant of team dynamics: how they are manifest and impact the team – and how they might be used to create a tipping point for change.