August 18, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

How to Understand the Dynamics of a Project Team

By Natalie Athanasiadis

Understanding project team dynamicsThe saying “no man is an island” becomes especially true on a project. Working on a project usually means working within a team. Whenever two or more people are put together, the potential for issues and conflict cannot be ignored. The dynamics of a team are difficult to predict and are shaped by team members’ similarities and differences. Understanding and working with group dynamics is key to ensuring positive project results.

Communication

Clear communication is the cornerstone of a successful team, and absolutely vital to the success of a project. It is a project manager’s responsibility to give clear direction and advice and to empower each team member to execute his or her tasks confidently. The lines of communication should be kept open at all times. Team members need to feel comfortable raising any issues with their management team. This helps to foster a flexible team that’s able to respond swiftly to crises or unexpected changes. On the other hand, if communication is unclear and team members are not encouraged to give feedback, the team becomes dysfunctional and results suffer.

Innovative thinking

How innovative a team is, depends to a great degree on the atmosphere of their working environment. A team that feels stifled cannot be creative, no matter what the credentials or talents of its individual members. Criticism should be structured in a constructive manner, a positive, supportive atmosphere that rewards innovation needs to be fostered, one which encourages team members to take creative and calculated chances. This also enhances the problem-solving capabilities of the team.

Motivation to succeed

Leaders who try to intimidate their team members into performing are barking up the wrong tree. Motivation is what makes team members excited to contribute and even go above and beyond the call of duty. On the other hand, unmotivated team members will try to get by doing just the bare minimum, which will have a huge impact on quality. Understanding what motivates team members will enable leaders to find the right incentives.

Trust

Team members need to trust each other to be able to work well together and it takes time to build a cohesive team. Observe your team members closely and you will find that some might try to conceal their weaknesses from their colleagues, while others might lack the confidence to let their abilities shine. A project manager needs to understand the strengths and weaknesses of his or her team in order to build a climate of trust and mutual respect.

Team dynamics are not only complicated but can also have a huge impact on the success of a project, regardless of the abilities of each individual team member.  A good project manager should be able to help a team to reach its maximum potential in terms of efficiency and ability.

 

About the Author: Natalie Athanasiadis is a PR and digital marketing guru specializing in working with large organisations in the project management field including Unispace. Get social with her on Twitter @natalieathana

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Comments

  1. holly huchison says:

    Great article!