How do you identify the core issues and the appropriate solutions within your team or unit? How do you identify; which employees to reward and which to discipline, which members to speak up to, which to develop healthier boundaries with and what your contribution is to the disunity?
Often people within a team or unit do not have the skills to dissolve differences or ineffective dynamics on their own, there is a chance that they don’t feel safe approaching a senior or a fellow member about the issues they perceive to be true. As a manager it can at times be difficult to assess the root cause of motivation, action, or lack thereof, due to the fact that you are so close to the problem.
The first step to determining the why and what to do is to assess what your contribution is to the dilemma. I know to many this may sound unusual, however this is the best first step to take, as it means you are taking responsibility for your own beliefs and actions first and foremost.
Some things to contemplate;
1. Has this issue occurred in other areas of your life?
2. Is the issue with one individual only? If yes, what do you think your learning is from this person? (Hint – our learning’s are something helpful that will enable us to become more effective communicators and function healthier in the society that we live in)
3. If your issue is with a particular individual's action, do you see that you have behaved in a similar way to people in other areas of your life, or has this individual behaved this way with others? (often we despise particular behaviours and end up mimicking it in other areas of our life)
If you are a manager, there is a principle of social loafing that is one of the many aspects of team or unit dynamics to be aware of. Social loafing is the phenomenon in which people exert less effort when working collectively on a task [Karau, S. J., & Williams, K. D. (1997)].
According to Bernstein, Penner, Clarke-Stewart and Roy (2012) social loafing has at least three reasons; it is usually much harder to evaluate the performance of individuals when they are working as part of a group, rewards may come to a group whether or not every member exerts maximum effort, thirdly a groups rewards are usually divided equally among its members rather than according to individual effort.
Social loafing can reduce productivity in organisations, and thus managers must pay attention to ways to counteract it by evaluating individual performance as well as team performance.
Hopefully this blog post has given you a few things to think about, and provided you with some tools to take positive steps towards team and unit harmony.