The psychology of teams and why uniformity doesn’t work

We’re people, not machines

This is a good thing and something that is fundamental for a productive, thriving workforce. Without difference in teams, ideas wouldn’t be born, created and implemented. So, next time you wish you were more logical or more creative, remember that it’s the interplay that makes everything possible. It needs the people who ask the questions, and the people who are focused on the visuals. It shouldn’t be an ultimatum. It’s when the two work together that the magic happens.

Play to your strengths

Personality is fundamental to teamwork. Think of the best football teams in the world and how they work together. Jeffrey LePine categorised two pathways where personality affects team performance. Path one links team performance and individual behaviour. An example of this is a teammate who soured trust so much it degraded the team’s performance. Path two refers to the impact of personality on processes. This is where an entire team of stubborn extroverts compete with each other, are unable to make a connection and resultantly have no success. Team composition counts for a lot, and when things don’t balance out, issues arise.

psychology of teams

Balance is the key to life

That’s why you need the interplay to get things right. Think of footballers again. They all have a different role and different skills, and that’s why it works. Apply that logic to the workplace, and you’ve got it. Being a carbon copy of the person sitting beside you isn’t going to help you, or the business. We’re all told that the winning recipe for success is drive, self-discipline and organisation. But, if everyone championed these skills there’d be trouble. It’s the rule breakers that offer creativity and ideas, without being held back by the rules. Sometimes they need to be scaled back, but if everyone spent their time championing brand standards there’d be trouble. Kane’s astonishing, but he needs the rest of the squad to support him and facilitate his excellence. On his own, he’s not a winner. But, with the right team, he is.

Break it down

Mixing people is vital and diversity is great for performance. Most teams are comprised of four key roles:

The results getter.  Their main focus is getting things done and being concerned with the outcome.

The people pleasers. They focus on team relations and keeping the inner harmony.

The makers. The creatives who produce the ideas and vision behind the project.

The planners. The ones who organise everything within an inch of its life and deal with all the details.

For a group to thrive, you need the right mix of the above characteristics. Companies who can confidently tick off all four are likely to have greater success.

What’s your squad dynamic?