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Three ways to get teams to work for you

By Drew Fortin

These days, many companies – from Zappos to Whole Foods – have adopted a team-based structure, where their employees are organized into groups with team leaders. But figuring out how to lead these flat organizations effectively, understand team dynamics, measure and influence team performance, and derive value from a team-based model is still something companies grapple with.

Team dysfunction can be traced to several factors, but the organizations that struggle most often have managers stuck in one of three scenarios – “Ineffectual” Leadership where team leaders don’t address conflicts or see the benefit of a cohesive team; “Subjective” Leadership where team leaders select individuals just like them and make decisions based on gut; or “Limited Use” Leadership where leaders don’t leverage the strengths of their individuals or group behavioral data. All of these scenarios negatively impact team productivity. However, by using data from behavioral assessments, a team leader can avoid these subpar scenarios and become a more effective manager.

Here are 3 tips for getting teams to work better together:

  1. Mix it up – Research suggests that trait similarity, dissimilarity or a mix of complementary traits within a group can enhance performance outcomes. Behavioral data can help pinpoint similarities and differences in an objective way to help leaders better manage the group.
  2. Get to know the individuals – Understand what makes each individual in a group tick. What are their strengths? Their weaknesses? What motivates them? Then determine how to best leverage their unique talents and ensure they’re in the right jobs.
  3. View team building as a science – Well-run teams are based on objective data, not gut feel. With data in hand you can identify and resolve conflicts, shift individuals into different roles where they will thrive, and manage from strengths.

Using behavioral assessment tools for an entire group can reveal trends and personality differences that can positively impact productivity. The right tools can help determine how an individual’s work style impacts others, or how one team can work best to influence or partner with another team. You can match individuals to team roles they are best suited for, or determine whether teams are aligned to company goals and strategies.

To learn more, check out our eBook – Getting Teams to Workto find out how you can optimize the collective performance of your teams to improve business results.


Drew is a PI Certified Partner, and the Founder & CEO of Lever Talent.

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