“Connection is key to human existence,” according to Dr. Michael Platt’s study which indicates humans are evolutionarily hard-wired and are meant to work together. Tapping into this biological wired connection is essential to enable teams to succeed when working towards a shared goal.
The global nature of today’s businesses are associated with continually changing competitive forces, and disruptive technology trends, and complex operating environments, which are pushing organizations to develop strategies and tactics, and execute them flawlessly through their teams. Traditional differentiators such as price, cost and scale are increasingly becoming basic factors of any business; it is the emergence of successful team collaborations with a view to increase performance that is creating a sustainable competitive advantage. Teamwork powers a substantial part of the organization’s achievement around the globe. Ensuring team’s work in an environment that fosters high performance and aligning it to the business mission is the biggest enabler for unlocking high growth of businesses.
The three key components to develop a successful team, besides the team culture, are team composition, mission, and individual performance. This article discusses ways in which we can create a team culture using these key elements that will allow individuals to operate at their best performance.
Several studies reveal that an employee’s engagement in a team has a direct bearing on the significance of their role in an organization. Since team members’ performance carries an extensive influence, it is important to direct their capabilities towards the company’s passionate mission, as high-performing teams don’t appear overnight.
It is believed that when the team composition is right, it can drive both the individual and the organization forward. Dr. Kirschner writes in ‘Boost your team’s performance with neuroscience’ – “When the individuals on a team coalesce around a common mission, it can achieve parabolic outcomes.” On the other side of the page is the fact that infirm teamwork can paralyze an organization from sales performance to loss of their best employees.
With an expanding business environment, neuroscience has stepped into the businesses, rendering insights about building high performing teams. As a matter of fact, productivity of a team is associated with the human brain, which is examined in-depth in neuroscience by Dr. Friedrike Fabritus and Dr. Hans Hagermann in the book “The Leading Brain”. It breaks down this science of performance to an optimal mix of FUN, FEAR, and FOCUS. To unleash the potential of your team, and jumpstart the traditional strategies, it’s important to understand these neuroscience-based 3F™ techniques:
FUN: Build Trust among team members
Our brain releases a hormone called oxytocin, which is responsible for trust-building. Positive interactions among team members can release this hormone, which in turn increases the trust between individuals. For example, if a team leader is open about his weaknesses and flaws along with the strength, it will build an environment of integrity and trust. Thus, in a team, it’s all about the capability to accept feedback and inputs from other members in an open forum. Apart from this, in-office interactions within teams like short breaks, lunchtime, etc., build a trustworthy alliance among employees. While the lack of interaction and stressed environment, triggers the release of cortisol in the brain, which works exactly opposite to oxytocin by inhibiting trust and creativity.
“Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team.”
Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
Invest in team training and team building
Every organization coaches the newly joined team member from sales to the management department. The leadership coach isn’t the only cornerstone for building a high-performing team, the members hold significance. To understand this insight, it’s important to recognize the line of difference between team training and team building.
Team training comprises skill development and knowledge sharing to contribute to overall teamwork. The skills are group development, work styles, psychological safety, communication, and conflict resolution, to name some. On the other hand, team building is about team interaction, where members are required to learn about each other to build relationships and trust.
“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric
FEAR: Improve team discussion with psychological safety
Honor every team member’s ideas, questions, concerns, and even mistakes, to keep them emotionally safe . It entails generating a sense of confidence among team members for speaking up.
In an organization, if a physically aggressive or intimidating environment is practiced, the foremost effect will be seen on the entire team’s productivity. As human brains have powerful survival mechanisms that will be triggered in such scenarios inhibiting their higher-thinking abilities. Thus, psychological safety goes beyond harassment and intimidation.
“Psychological safety is the key element that differentiates the highest-performing teams from the rest.”
Dr. Amy Edmondson, a Harvard Business school professor,
FOCUS: Cultivate team collaboration
Before fostering team collaboration, understand what neuroscience has to say about the collaboration. It says collaboration binds a team together and incorporates flexibility at the workplace. The team members, when working in collaboration, enhance their skill set, and grab new opportunities. Further, nurturing collaboration would require building trust to create an environment of frankness, which helps in fixing the imminent issues more efficiently. However, collaboration is beneficial for team members, it still relies on organization and openness among employees.
“If collaboration does not change you, then you are not collaborating. Collaboration does not come about without some kind of organizational enlightenment.”
Jelenko Dragisic, author of “The Collaborative Instinct”
Pushing the boundaries of work culture, neuroscience has provided new sustainable human centric ways to unite humans in their work environment and enhance their performance. K4Coach® is a thought leader in driving this change with their proprietary neuroscience based SPICED™ Employee Attractiveness Framework and the 3F™ AI Performance Engine. If your organization is endeavoring to enhance team performance, contact us to learn more about our platform.