A team is a system made of complex individuals. When a team becomes autonomous and its members work together on a shared task then a procedure takes place which involves the whole system. Input and output keep the work flowing, provided the organisation is done well. The problem we face when dealing with teams of people is that the social and work ethic can become complicated. A lot of work has been done to understand what are called “complex systems”. Because of the individuals being unique and not dedicated to one function like a device would be, the complexity becomes more apparent with every increase in team size. Understanding how complex systems function will help us to be a stronger part of any team.
In a team that works on a joint end result there of course has to be management. Decentralised control will benefit the individuals as the notion of the big boss at the very top can create a culture of us and them. Relinquish total control for trust and training in the people who are closest to the active elements of the team. Let people govern themselves, allow the work to be done in its own way. A good team member can be trusted to do what needs to be done and to ask for guidance when necessary.
The story behind the team system plays as much as a role as the work done today. The background prepares the world for the work, what the history of the team says to the customer or the audience will produce a mental construct and context which defines perception and willingness to co-operate. The story has to be a positive one, if it's not then it will produce a sense of repulsion that ultimately causes failure.
You never know what's going to happen. In computers and machines we can predict what will happen and when something breaks we generally know what to do about it. Teams made of individuals do not behave in this way. Sometimes things go wrong or turn out different to the plan and we simply have to accept it. Learning from the methods and contingencies will of-course help improve the team however it's not always the fault of the team if the end result is not what was expected. Imagine building a well-researched product, marketing it to the people who you know through research want it, but it doesn't catch on? You did your best and there's nothing wrong with it, it's just unlucky.
Complex systems can appear pointless and full of bloated bureaucracy. We sometimes see offices and names and have no idea what or who they are. For a team to function properly, the whole must be aware of itself. The team-members and the customer or market must be aligned with the purpose of the team. We don't have the time to consider everything for ourselves and find out what something is for. We feel more comfortable and more able to produce good results when we know what we are doing in relation to everything else and why.
Everything changes, the individuals in our team change their mood and energy levels day by day, the trends in the world change day by day, the amount of interest in a particular thing changes day by day. We can't expect things to stay the same and we have to thrive on uncertainty. Again, this is why complex systems differ from mechanical or digital ones. It's exciting to see what happens next, and provided we use good business sense and logic we can navigate the fluctuating nature of the world.
Interaction is fundamental to the performance of a team. Unfortunately, some people prefer to be competitive and will try to put themselves in a position of being above others. Other people are submissive and will allow others to take higher status. This is unhealthy in social situations however when at work then we have to make the most of the condition of our employees. Try to identify who wants to be on top and who doesn't mind being below in order to best maintain a workable flow. If you care about your team then investing in character development of course will help straighten out the beast.
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