According to Myers Briggs, 86% of employees and executives say workplace failures were due to a lack of collaboration or poor communication.
Every team is unique due to the various personalities within it. Everyone has different ways of communicating and expressing their needs and wants and this is why it’s important to understand your own and your team’s interpersonal needs. Then you can support each team member in the way that gets the best results.
‘Break the ice’ more often—it’s not just for new teams
‘Icebreakers’ are popular introduction activities that help team members get to know each other
better. However, when projects start it’s easy to become focused on tasks and deadlines – and
overlook the people in the team. Why not add a short icebreaker activity in the middle of a project to pull the team back together during stressful times?
Learn about the three interpersonal needs to immediately improve team interactions
The Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation–Behavior™ (FIRO-B®) instrument outlines three main interpersonal needs:
(1) the need for Inclusion
(2) the need for Control
(3) the need for Affection.
Being aware of these needs, and considering how team members differ in the amount of each they require, can help you understand what ultimately motivates them.
Mind the 3 (communication) gap
The interpersonal needs that team members outwardly show to others are expressed. The interpersonal needs that people want from others are wanted. There are often differences
between them, behavior doesn’t always match wants. And these differences can cause gaps and
misunderstandings in communication. Being aware of differences in your and your team members’ wanted and expressed interpersonal needs can reduce miscommunication.
Build the two Cs: Competence and Collaboration
When studying the dynamics of high-performing U.S. Navy teams, William Schutz (developer of the FIRO-B instrument) determined that high-performing teams have two primary attributes:
competence and collaboration. One without the other will lead to a less effective team. But
ensuring that team members have specific task-oriented competence and are willing to collaborate will take your team to the highest levels of efficiency.
If a leader’s behaviors do not match the team members’ interpersonal needs, it can
cause misunderstandings and miscommunication. For example, if a team member has a high need for inclusion, but the leader shows a low level of inclusive behavior, the team member could believe they’re not trusted or valued. A self-aware leader will know how they are perceived by team members, and act to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
Don’t forget the agenda before team meetings
Well-thought-out agendas serve to keep a team productive and effective. They guide a meeting
toward action or closure, and they act like a facilitation guide for the leader. This can be useful if a leader tends to micromanage the team. Some team members might have low Wanted Control,
which means they want more independence than the manager allows. This can build distrust from both sides. But by setting an agenda before the meeting and asking for input, and then allowing the agenda to guide facilitation, the manager can avoid conflicts that might otherwise be interpreted as mistrust.
For more information on how to build effective teams feel free to get in touch