Creating and Maintaining Healthy Projects Make Happy Teams
Relationships are a defining feature of humanity. The complex social interactions that we experience are unique and the relationships we form give us safety and security in our lives. At Top Draw, we want to understand the complex individuals that make up our teams and how those teams can operate at the highest level.
Implementing DiSC Profiles
People are infinitely varied in the sum of their parts but in order to understand an individual’s behaviour we can apply tools from research psychology. We use DiSC assessment for all employees and we try our best to use the information to set ourselves up for success. The DiSC assessment comes from DISC theory. DISC theory is represented as a quadrant with four behavioural dimensions and a person has different levels of each. The quadrants are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. The profile reveals how you respond to challenges, how you influence others, how you respond to rules and procedures, and your preferred pace of activity. It does not measure aptitude or intelligence. At Top Draw we use this information when we consider seating arrangements, conflict resolution, and team dynamics.
If you would like to learn more about DiSC, click the infographic below to expand.
So, now that we have a way of understanding individuals that make up the team, we want to understand how high functioning teams are formed and managed. Similar to UX Design – where we focus on the user of the system and their goals, we should design the team to be as successful as possible. When considering the team’s effectiveness we should remember the 5 Stages of Group Development by Tuckman. According to the proponents of this theory, every team will follow these stages of development. It is the job of team leaders to help ensure everyone is working together effectively and efficiently towards a common goal.
DiSC Profile Stages
The team meets for the first time and learns what the goals of the project are. The team is motivated but disoriented towards how to approach the problem at hand. In this phase, the team will orient themselves and begin to work together to begin moving towards a solution.
This is where the team will disagree and emergent leaders may appear in the group to lead them through this phase. The team needs to go through the storming phase in order to learn how to effectively work together. This stage can be short or long duration depending on the individuals on the team and the challenge and complexity of the problems. Storming can destroy a project if it gets out of control and the team is unable to move onto the next phase.
In the Norming phase, the team will have established a natural hierarchy and understands how to work with each other. They may become more cooperative and social, discussing things outside of work and engaging in social activities together. A team can revert to the Storming phase if new problems arise or the team dynamic changes.
The fourth stage is Performing and it’s the goal. In the Performing phase, the team becomes high functioning. They operate without very much management and are able to make most decisions independently.
This is the final stage where the team disbands for whatever reason.
Agency Team Dynamics
To tie it all together, if we want the best high functioning team possible and we are responsible to manage the individuals that make up a team as well as the project itself, we should do our best to understand how the individuals affect the team dynamics.
At Top Draw, we’re able to take appropriate research tools and theory and apply it to our project teams to strive to be the best.