Team Dynamics, Mechanics & Communications is divided into what teams do (meetings, process) and how they do it (decision making).

Team dynamics refers to the force that inspires or drives a group of people to work collectively for a common cause or objective. A good team is a team with different personalities and also a common identity.

Team mechanics refers to the conducting meeting with proper agendas, time, location, and also distributing the meeting minutes to all stakeholders. In fact, meetings are an essential part of sharing information and making decisions that help to capitalize on the strengths and experiences of a group of people with common goals.

Team communication is the foundation of team collaboration. A communication process will complete only when feedback is received. Ex. When a task is assigned, worker acknowledges the responsibility and describes how he will perform the task.

Effective communication

Effective internal and external communication is one of the crucial aspects of organizational success; Otherwise, improper communication will lead to failure. Strong team communication skills can help build relationships, ensure the sharing of new ideas, best practices, and also benefit team members through coaching and counseling. 

Furthermore, team communication skills are critical for ensuring the success of the team effort. But communication barriers influence the communications loop. Barriers include:

  • Personal bias
  • Non-assertive behavior
  • Anger or frustration
  • Lack of confidence
  • Inappropriate priorities
  • Distractions
  • Interruptions
  • Rank differences.

Steps for effective communication amongst the team includes

  • Use standard terminology when communicating information.
  • Request and provide clarification when needed.
  • Use nonverbal communication appropriately.
  • Use proper order when communicating information.
  • Repeat, as necessary, to ensure communication is accurately received.
  • Inform the appropriate individuals when the mission or plans change.

Vertical communication vs Horizontal communication

Horizontal communication is the information transmission between persons having the same level of position in an organization. Particularly, It helps to share ideas, suggestions, and attitudes between peers and colleagues. It may also increase job satisfaction and motivation by creating more employee empowerment in communication.

Vertical communication, on the other hand, is when information flows systematically between supervisors and subordinates (Up and Down). It helps management to stay in control of the organization.

Team Communication Videos

Team Meetings

At it’s best, a team meeting is a way to ensure the staff and management teams are aligned. Team meetings should be reviewed in terms of process, results, and relationships. However, team meeting needs a logical structure for many reasons, including time management.

Following are the guidelines for productive team meetings:

  • Create meeting agenda and circulate to stakeholders in advance
  • Start the meeting on time and also record the minutes of the meeting
  • Arrange visual aids (like flip charts etc)
  • Review previous meeting action items status and also move unfinished items to the next meeting
  • Monitor team participation, conflict resolution, and problem-solving process.
  • Summarize points and also assign responsible persons for each action item
  • Finish the meeting on time and finally, circulate the minutes of the meeting to all the attendees.

Team Decision Making

No organization can consistently succeed in any market without quality decision making. Teams are particularly effective in problem-solving if they comprise of people with complementary skills. Below are the different types of decision making.

Types of decision making

  • Authoritarian: Authoritarian is one of the decision-making methods where typically authority lies with one person who makes decisions very quickly without considering inputs from others.
  • If the authority lies with the right person, organization benefited with the right decision. However, it has many disadvantages, as decision making lacks involvement of stakeholders affected by the decision. Hence, it should not use in Lean Six Sigma projects.
  • Consultative: This is one of the decision-making methods, where one person holds the authority for decision-making but will take input from all the affected parties. Consultative decision makers decide to seek input from the team before making a decision, for example, polling the group to see if we should continue with a meeting if a team member is sick.
  • Consensus: Consensus is one type of decision-making method where all the stakeholders/parties provide input for decision-making, and the team will not destroy the final agreed decision. Achieving consensus is the preferred method of decision making in a Lean Six Sigma team, and also this is the most effective decision-making method in Six Sigma.
  • Voting:  Most of the cases consensus not a viable solution. In such scenarios team may opt for the voting method. Team will finalize the decision if two-third (majority) agrees on it. However, the disadvantage of this method is clashes between two parties (looser and winners). This method is rarely used in Lean six sigma projects.
  • 100% agreement: 100 % agreement is a rarest of the rare decision-making option, especially in lean six sigma projects where diverse stakeholders are involved.

Decision Making Techniques

  • Brainstorming : Brainstorming is the basic technique for getting people to gather a list of ideas spontaneously and solutions.
  • Negative Polling:
    • Is there anyone who disagrees with these ground rules.” Very quick.
    • a negative poll is conducted when the meeting facilitator asks a question such as, “Does anyone disagree with the ideas we just discussed?” If everyone is silent, the team will know that everyone is in agreement and the team can move on to a new issue without a great deal of time being wasted.
    • A technique used to establish agreement within a team without taking a great deal of time.
  • Multivoting: : Multivoting is a way for a group to narrow down a list of choices down to a manageable few.
  • Nominal group technique: The nominal group technique is a variation of brainstorming where individuals come up with ideas on their own rather than as a group.
  • Force Field Analysis: Force Field Analysis is a method for listing and evaluating the forces for and against a situation.

Team Facilitation

Ground rules should be established as a preventive measure to avoid misconduct, not as a reactive measure. In addition, the team leader must understand group dynamics. Facilitators are useful in assisting a group in the following ways.

  • Conduct skill gap analysis and identifying team members that need training
  • Avoiding team bottlenecks
  • Clarifying points of view on issues
  • Collate and summarize points made by the team
  • Provide feedback on team effectiveness
  • Focus on progress
  • Assess the change process
  • Keeping the team on track with the process
  • Coach the leader and participants too

The team facilitator must avoid

  • Dominating the group discussions
  • Solving a problem or giving an answer
  • Being judgmental of team members or their ideas, opinions
  • Taking sides or becoming caught up in the subject matter
  • Making suggestions on the task instead of on the process

Team Training

Training Needs Assessment

Training needs assessment is a crucial and first step in the team training process. Moreover, it helps to identify the gap between adequate and inadequate performance.

Organization has to collect information in regards to key company needs and investigate the possible performance gap. Subsequently, Organization has to analyze the assessment data and plan the training requirements for each level (organization level, process level, and also job level).

Training Resources

The main objective of the training is to improve the skills as well as knowledge of individuals. Training material is one of the essential training resources and should be presented at the appropriate level to the target audience. The following are the different resources required for an effective training program.

  • Good training material
  • Proper lighting the training room
  • Temperature and ventilation
  • Ling of sight
  • Accommodations
  • Furniture

Training Tools

Classical training tools: Classical training is usually conducted in the presence of an instructor or self-study by individuals. Lectures, tutoring, case studies, seminars, speeches, workshops, homework, demonstration, student presentations, and also on the job training are the different classical training tools.

Advantages of classical training tools

  • Low cost for preparation of training material
  • Quick adjustment to the training material based on class needs
  • Additionally, instructor can clarify students’ questions immediately

 Disadvantages of classical training tools

  • High training cost per individual
  • High efforts to coordinate the participant schedules
  • The number of qualified instructors may be limited

Technological training tools: Technology-driven methods like online videos, training tapes etc. For the most part, growing demand placed on individuals for flexible training schedules, location, and amount of training session.

Advantages of technological training tools

  • Training material can be repeated by the user, particularly, if not understood
  • An individual can control the training session
  • Multiple individuals can run the same training session in different geographic locations

 Disadvantages of classical training tools

  • High initial training cost for preparation of training material
  • Difficult to modify the content based on class need
  • The student learning curve is longer

Adult Learning

Adult learners are typical students in the manufacturing sector. Adults are self-directed and also responsible, and they do not need to be controlled in their learning experience. Below are the key characteristics of adult education.

  • The trainer has to consider the various constraints while planning a training session for adults as they have more responsibilities in their lives.
  • Adults motivation is high to learn
  • Adults learning curve is different than young people
  • Lack of self-confidence as they have been away from the classroom for a long period of time

Training Program Evaluation

Collect the feedback soon after the completion of the training. In fact, this will enable the evaluation of the instructor’s knowledge, training content, training material, training environment, and the total value of the training.

The key measure of the training program’s effectiveness is whether its benefits are higher than the costs. Team needs to apply the concepts on a small scale and also needs to use the concepts as earliest. Otherwise, there is a possibility of forgotten the concepts..

Team Motivation

Motivation is the art of getting people to do what they suppose to do, and surely, it is one of the key element of manager’s responsibility to motivate their people. Indeed, it is the most challenging responsibility for management to sustain and increase team motivation.

Below are the few modern motivational theories:

Abraham Maslow

According to Maslow’s “A Theory of Human Motivation”, individuals most basic needs (bottom of the pyramid, like breathing, water, food etc) are must be met and relatively satisfied, and then higher-order needs must be met to sustain satisfaction.

  • Self-actualization needs – Morality, creativity, problem-solving 
  • Esteem needs – Confidence, Respect, achievement, recognition
  • Love/Belonging (Social) needs – Love, friendship, relationships 
  • Safety needs – Protection, security, and stability 
  • Physiological needs – Basic human needs; Air, food, water, housing
Team Dynamics, Mechanics & Communications

Alderfer’s ERG

Similar to Maslow’s hierarchy, it focuses on differing levels of needs, which are usually satisfied in order of importance. Unlike in Maslow’s theory, it allows for higher needs to be met before lower-level needs under certain circumstances.

  • Existence Needs: Existence needs related to the basic survival of human beings. However, they are similar to the physiological and safety needs suggested by Maslow. For example, Monetary rewards, working conditions, job security, incentives are some of the examples of existence needs.
  • Related Needs: Individual has a natural desire to develop social relationships. These needs are related needs. These needs are similar to social, and esteem needs enunciating by Maslow.
  • Growth Needs: Individual has an intrinsic desire to grow in organizational career and in also their personal life. These are growth needs. Moreover, they are similar to self-actualization needs suggested by Maslow.
Team Dynamics, Mechanics & Communications

Frederick W. Herzberg

Frederick W. Herzberg theory is also called the Motivation-Hygiene theory or the dual-factor theory, was penned by Frederick Herzberg in 1959. He developed the theory that people’s job satisfaction depends on two kinds of factors. Factors for satisfaction (motivators/satisfiers) and factors for dissatisfaction (hygiene factors/ dis-satisfiers) referred to by a variety of names, as

  • Dis-satisfiers and Satisfiers 
  • Maintenance factors and Motivators 
  • Hygiene factors and Motivators 
  • Extrinsic factors and Intrinsic factors
Team Dynamics, Mechanics & Communications

Motivating factors have uplifting effects on attitude or performance. Hygienic (or maintenance) factors prevent loss of morale or effectiveness.

Team Resolution

Conflict is the outcome of mutually exclusive views evident by emotional responses such as anger, fear, and frustration. Obviously, some conflicts are unavoidable in human relations. Following are the common source of conflicts in an organization

  • Organizational hierarchy
  • Job pressure
  • Change in organization procedures
  • Different objectives and goals
  • Changes in priorities
  • Team clashes

Following guidelines helps the team leader to resolve the conflicts.

  • Decide how important the issue to resolve
  • Determine who are the stakeholders involved in the conflicts
  • Conduct private meeting
  • Ensure all the stakeholders understand the responsibilities
  • Enforce all parties towards problem definition
  • Motivate team to propose a solution
  • Evaluate the cost of each solution and identify the best solution
  • Collect feedback from participants to improve the process further

Add Effort / Impact model

One of the feasible methods to select the appropriate action item is to identify and compare the impact of the action with the effort (or expenses) to achieve it. The only disadvantage of this method is getting objective evidence of the data to fill the matrix as most of the time, parties subjectively agree on the appropriate classification.

Example: ABC Inc is a design support supplier for an automobile company. The customer identified mistakes in the drawings submitted by ABC. Team leader opted effort/impact method for conflicts resolving and also decisions making.


Comments (2)

Hi Ted, one of the quiz questions/answers state that Multi-Voting is NOT a decision making tool but, it is listed above as a decision making technique. Is there a difference between tool and technique?

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