An effective team is underpinned by a culture of psychosocial safety and trusting relationships. Without this culture, all the best intentions, training and processes are doomed to fail.
When dysfunction exists, it is often due to a lack of psychosocial safety stemming from leadership culture, historical experiences, poor work practices, unresolved personal dynamics or individuals feeling disengaged.
To understand how a team functions, you first need to understand the capability and experiences of the leaders, individuals, team dynamic and the environment in which they operate. Only then can a team develop self awareness, shared accountability and co-design work practices that support organisational objectives.
Team effectiveness is built on a 4-part framework of understanding, capability and communication.
Know where you’re at and where to start
Consultation and review with all employees informs the program design and maximises engagement with the team.
Co-design how the team works
Co-designing how a team wants to work creates greater ownership and understanding of team dynamics.
Build your leadership capability
Developing the skills and capability of leaders and managers provides the foundation and conditions to build a productive and healthy culture.
Agree your team charter and rituals
Shared agreement and rituals creates a multiplier effect by embedding new practices, accountability and self review.
How we can help.
As each organisation is unique, our approach seeks to understand the industry and organisational challenges, along with delving into the team’s ingrained culture and behaviours. This enables new standards in personal leadership, accountability, and performance to be established.
We can help improve your team’s effectiveness via a range of interventions including:
Team insights through 1:1 interview or self-assessments (we recommend Gallup Strengthsfinder and Leadership Circle CLA)
Group facilitated sessions to build awareness of purpose, psychologically safe culture, team strengths and agreed ways of working.
Co-create a team charter to set team expectations and accountability.
Group training for tailored skill development including:
Psychosocial hazards and building psychological safety
Strengths based team dynamics
Understanding & adapting to communication styles
Courageous conversations, how to hold and receive tough conversations
Influencing and negotiation
Developing a growth mindset
Work We’ve Done.
We have worked with teams across a spectrum of industries including Arts, Media and Membership-based organisations to create positive change to a range of common challenges.
Strengths based workshop to understand co-workers strengths and valuing differences, improving their collaboration and engagement.
Four phase program for a growing team to establish their purpose, team strengths and dynamic, agreed ways of working and creating a team charter. As a living document, the team charter was embedded into their induction process and reviewed quarterly as a team.
Interactive workshop with organisation’s specialist operations team to clarify their purpose, agree shared outcomes and and develop their team charter. Improved team engagement, productivity and sense of contribution.
Effective Communication workshop series focused on communication styles, influencing, courageous conversations, and dealing with conflict delivered to over 100 employees.
How a not-for-profit arts company improved team effectiveness and engagement
This case study looks at the competitive world of arts-based, not-for-profit fundraising and a team facing mounting pressure to increase their fundraising efforts without having access to additional resources. The division manager recognised the need for change but was uncertain about creating an environment that fostered continuous learning, shared ideas, and support.
The challenge they faced was hindered by a team environment characterised by siloed responsibilities, minimal collaboration, and a lack of shared processes. Each team member focused solely on their individual tasks, resulting in inconsistent and inefficient ways of working. The absence of collaboration, along with the team manager’s natural tendency for extroversion and dominance in meetings, inadvertently had stifled input and new ideas from the team. Furthermore, team members felt disengaged without opportunities for group discussions to solve problems, explore new initiatives, or clear personal development. The diverse strengths and approaches of team members were not being utilised, leading to a level of frustration rather than leveraging new perspectives and strengths. As a result, the team was missing out on opportunities to leverage each other’s strengths and achieve better results.
The following actions and processes were implemented to support the team’s transformation.
Team Leader 360 Feedback Survey and Coaching: The team leader underwent the Leadership Circle 360-degree feedback survey to gain insights into their leadership style and identify areas for improvement. Based on the feedback, the team leader received one-on-one coaching and support to enhance their leadership skills, foster collaboration, and create a more inclusive and supportive team environment.
Assessment of Individual Strengths in the Team: An assessment of individual strengths was conducted to increase awareness and leverage the diverse capabilities of team members. This assessment helped identify each team member’s unique talents, skills, and approach. Understanding these strengths allowed for better task allocation, collaboration, embracing diversity of thinking, and ways of complementing each other’s abilities.
Team Workshop to Improve Skills in Collaboration, Communication, and Creation of a Team Charter: A facilitated team workshop was held to enhance collaboration skills, improve communication, and establish a team charter. The workshop included interactive exercises, role-playing, and facilitated discussions to understand their shared purpose, understand how to build a psychologically safe team culture and promote effective collaboration. The team charter, developed collectively, outlined shared values, goals, and guidelines for working together, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability among team members.
Structured Team Collaboration Framework: To ensure sustained collaboration and effective working practices, a structured team collaboration framework was implemented. This framework provided a systematic approach to collaboration, outlining clear processes and tools, and platforms for sharing information, exchanging ideas, and collaborating on projects. The framework also established regular check-ins and feedback loops to track progress, address challenges, and continuously improve teamwork.
Improved Open Collaboration: The team underwent a significant transformation, moving from a siloed working culture to one of open collaboration. Regular collaborative sessions were introduced to encourage team members to share their ideas, insights, and challenges. These sessions provided a platform for brainstorming, problem-solving, and cross-pollination of ideas, resulting in a more innovative and effective approach to fundraising.
Increased Trust and Transparency: By embracing the behaviours associated with a psychologically safe culture, collaboration became a core aspect of the team’s work and trust and transparency has flourished between individuals. Team members now rely on each other’s expertise and feel comfortable sharing their progress, concerns, and suggestions. This newfound trust has improved communication and decision-making processes.
Open Encouragement of Differences and Contribution: The team manager shifted their approach to actively foster an environment that valued and encouraged diverse contributions. The unique strengths and approaches of each team member were recognised and appreciated. Emotion-oriented team members are no longer seen as dramatic, but rather as valuable contributors, while strategic thinkers are seen as approachable and their insights highly regarded. This shift allowed for greater respect across the team and appreciation of individual perspectives. The end result is a more productive and inclusive team culture.
Increased Financial Results without Increased Resources: Through enhanced collaboration and a supportive work environment, the fundraising team achieved their goal of improved financial results without the need for additional resources. By tapping into each other’s strengths and combining their efforts, they were able to optimise fundraising strategies, identify new opportunities, and develop approaches that yielded improved returns.
Improved Team Engagement: As the team embraced collaboration and recognised the value of their contributions, overall team engagement improved. Meetings are now more interactive, inclusive, and engaging, with a focus on problem-solving, supporting one another, and celebrating successes. Team members felt a greater sense of purpose and belonging, and this has lead to increased motivation and productivity.
These shifts in approach, attitude and processes, have helped the team take on the necessary support, guidance, and tools to transform into a more collaborative and engaged team culture.
The team leader’s 360 feedback survey and coaching helped refine their leadership approach.
The identification of individual strengths enabled a greater self awareness and understanding of others.
The team workshop and the creation of a team charter enhanced collaboration skills, communication, and a shared sense of purpose.
The structured team collaboration framework provided a framework for sustained collaboration and continuous improvement.
This program was not just a single shift but has been an ongoing, sustainable transformation with the team approach being reviewed on a quarterly basis. At each quarterly meeting the team are asking themselves:
Are we behaving in alignment with the team charter. If not, why not? What needs to be different?
What other behaviours or processes are causing the team frustration and needs to be included?
Ready to take the next step?
If you’d like more details on how we can help build team effectiveness through healthy psychosocial safety culture, communication and collaborative work practices, please get in touch.