High-performance Team Climate Tool
It’s easy to talk about teamwork but harder to actually do it, according to Tina Davidson, Research Associate at the People & Organisation Competence Centre. She reveals the latest CEPP research into enhancing team performance.
The Vlerick Centre for Excellence in People Performance (CEPP) recently looked at various drivers for team performance. Tina Davidson: “When it comes to the team dynamics, we felt the work climate was a key driver: while more and more organisations recognise that teams are important, they fail to actually manage them as teams.”
“We decided to test this theory with new research. We studied the literature and talked to various human resources experts before designing our own questionnaire. We had 43 teams in our sample, each with an average of five members and covering a range of sectors: banking, manufacturing, HR services, engineering, pharmaceuticals, and even public services.”
The results revealed four key dimensions for any successful team:
vision: whether the team vision is readily understandable and team members can commit to it;
task: whether the team reflects on and improves its task strategies through feedback;
relationships: whether the interpersonal atmosphere is one of non-threatening trust and support;
energy: whether team members trust and believe in the team.
“We found that all the dimensions mattered, and all had to be managed together. This is logical: if you have a team vision but don’t provide strong feedback, and there’s no trust, it will be difficult for the team to move forward.”
Individual versus team performance
Gaining insight into the team dynamics that drive team performance is especially relevant as team performance is often a more reliable indicator for organisational performance than individual performance. “In fact,” Tina Davidson comments, “you might have five individuals that perform very well individually, but when you put them all together, the team might underperform – because of poor team dynamics, a lack of trust or a failure to provide feedback. So individual performance is not transferred to the team.”
And then there’s… the manager
“Although people work in teams, they’re not always managed as such. Our four dimensions can be a good starting point for managers to develop team rather than individual performance. Giving teams the opportunity to regularly sit down together and reflect on their objectives and the way they try to reach them can create a fresh dynamic, and helps develop an engaging climate.”