We’ve all had the experience of being on a team where things are tense, or everyone has gone quiet. That can be really puzzling, or even irritating, if you’re trying to get things done. If it goes on a for a long time, you might even dread going to those meetings. Today we’re going to talk about what’s really going on in those moments, so you can navigate through them. (With apologies for the antics of my little dog in the background!)

Have you ever been in a meeting or with a group where things suddenly became awkward or tense?

Maybe a conflict came up, or everyone in the group got really quiet, like all of the energy had left the room?

It can happen in any group, and it can leave you feeling puzzled, confused, or irritated. Some teams experience these moments often, which can really get in the way of collaboration and productivity.  People may start to dread being with that group. Ultimately, bad team dynamics can lead to a lot of turnovers. That can be an expensive and time-consuming problem – and a downward spiral, as the stress of being short-staffed causes more people to leave.

Here’s a secret about these situations that not all coaches know: there are predictable patterns of group dynamics that show up on teams, regardless of the individuals who are in them. That’s why there are “revolving door” roles on some teams, where people keep turning over. That’s why we can sometimes be puzzled by our own behavior in a group. These underlying dynamics influence how members of the group behave, and even how they feel.

When we’re not aware of group dynamics, it’s really easy to take things personally. You might notice yourself holding back in a meeting, and then start to wonder, “Why am I so quiet?” You might attribute it to what happened that morning, or you might start blaming yourself. That can kick off a cycle of thoughts that erodes your self-confidence. Or, maybe instead of blaming yourself, you’ll make it about someone else and blame them, which erodes your ability to collaborate.

Most coaches focus on individuals – styles, personality traits, preference. They’re missing a deep understanding of this secret life of groups. That means they may not know how to help their clients navigate these situations effectively.

I’ve studied group dynamics and the patterns that relate to them for over 25 years. I’ve learned what they look like and what they feel like when you’re in them. More importantly, I’ve studied and developed strategies that my clients can use to recognize and navigate through those dynamics when they show up.

I used this expertise to help leaders build high performing teams in some of the largest projects in the energy sector. Now I’m using it to help professionals like you step into your leadership and land your next role – whether that’s a promotion in your current company, or a new role somewhere else.

My clients find that developing this “systems perspective” enhances their ability to be successful. It helps with confidence and executive presence – when you can see the dynamic, you no longer take it so personally. It helps in building partnerships – because you see others’ behaviors in context. It helps with purpose and performance, because you can leverage the dynamics to move the group toward its goals.

If you’d like to know more about how you can develop your ability to navigate groups, feel free to book a call with me at www.zmcoach.com/apply/. We’ll get on the phone for about 45 minutes and talk about your work situation. If I can help you build your systems perspective and take your career to the next level, I’ll let you know, and we’ll talk about what that would look like. If not, I’ll let you know that, too, and point you to other resources. I look forward to talking with you soon.

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