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Brain circuits

Four exercises for top teams

Published 13 January 2022 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

Even teams that seem to work well together need some fine-tuning. You should evaluate and assess areas where your team can improve on a regular basis. If you have become complacent in this regard, there are actions you can take today.

Evaluate your virtual team building

Top teams require personal connections to ensure cohesion and functioning on a higher level. This has become harder since teams across the globe have been forming and changing in a virtual world. But there are measures you can take to create bonds even if your only face-to-face interactions are through a screen. Here are five questions to ask yourself when evaluating your efforts to create effective teams in a virtual environment.

Get your team talking

When your team members are stressed or hit some roadblocks, the tension starts to be palpable. Sometimes, as a leader, it may not even be clear what has happened to cause the team’s energy to drop. These unspoken things that really drive a group’s dynamics can make groups feel very stuck. But there are things leaders can do to help change the situation. There is a metaphorical device known as the “Crossing the Ocean” exercise. It is a useful tool to get people talking about what’s really going on in a playful but serious way. Try using this with your team today.

Learn to spot entrenchment

In the workplace, people naturally divide into groups of “like-minded” others. We often spend most of our time at work organized into silos or divisions, clusters, or even interest groups. Group entrenchment happens when people start to become so identified with their (sub)groups, that the group itself can become “who I am” instead of “what I do”, or “what my profession is”. When this happens, it can trigger a deeper and more “fixed” division between “us and them” and excluding behavior (regardless of whether such a division exists or not). These types of divisions are the basis of a silo mentality and can ignite negative conflict and decrease communication, innovation, and productivity. You can learn how to spot emerging subgroups that can ultimately lead to entrenchment.

How to shake your teams up

If you have identified subgroups in your team, division, or organization that pose the risk of becoming entrenched into silos (and worse, polarized), there are several strategies that might help to increase cross-group collaboration. Here are some ways to weaken the boundaries between emerging subgroups.

 

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