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MTR-i Team Dynamics

What they and how they affect the team

Team Dynamics MTR-i™ team dynamics are based on the roles that people play, and the resultant forces created by the interaction between team members.

In the MTR-i™ scheme, there are three levels of dynamic for each team role. Those levels are:

At their bestWhen a team role is 'at its best', it makes an appropriate, positive and balanced contribution to the team. That is, each team role is used according to the needs of the situation. Different teams have different needs, so some team roles are naturally and appropriately used more than others - but even when a role is used frequently, it is 'appropriate' for the circumstances
At their worstSometimes, a team can get 'locked in' to a team role, where that role becomes the one that is used in most situations, whether it is appropriate or not, and the team often fail to recognise the inappropriateness of their behaviour.

In extreme circumstances, the role not only becomes the 'the' way of doing things, but it can become part of the team credo - an unshakeable belief that this is the right way. If the role has become a "credo", often the team does not accept there is any need to change, which presents a great challenge for the team consultant.

In their absenceSometimes a team role is hardly represented in the team at all. This means that the team deals with most situations appropriately, but when a situation requires use of the missing role, another role is used instead. This can result in the team having an 'achilles heel' or weakness that may go unnoticed.

The table below shows the characteristics of teams where each of the team roles is 'at their best', 'at their worst' and 'in their absence'.


Harmonising

At their best

When team members are harmonising they try to create harmony in the world around them, by building rapport with people, creating a positive team atmosphere, looking after people's welfare, motivating people and/or providing a service to the satisfaction of others. They value people's contributions, seek to develop the role that others play, and invest a lot of effort in building positive relationships. They try to overcome differences of opinion and find ways in which the team can agree.

At their worst

The team might: fail to identify and discuss differences of opinion; compromise too much and jeopardise achievement; build team spirit at the expense of creative conflict; fail to make enough demands of others

In their absence

The team might: fail to reach consensus; provide inadequate support to each other; discourage and demotivate people; work independently at the team's expense

Campaigning

At their best

When team members are campaigning they give importance to particular thoughts, ideas, or beliefs. They are value driven, and in a team discussion they often bring a sense of priority that is derived from their strong convictions. They seize upon and emphasise ideas or thoughts that have the greatest import, bringing them to the fore and stressing their significance. They assess the inherent value or importance of new ideas, focusing on those about which they feel most strongly.

At their worst

The team might: fail to look critically at their own beliefs; take an uncompromising stance on certain issues; alienate others through taking too strong a stand; fail to engage in objective debate

In their absence

The team might: lose sight of important priorities; invest effort in things that are unimportant; achieve the wrong things; lack team identity and cohesion

Exploring

At their best

When team members are exploring they promote exploration of new and better ways of doing things, to uncover hidden potential in people, things or situations. They break new ground, and are often looking one step beyond the current situation to pursue unexplored avenues, until all the possibilities have been exhausted. Exploring often challenges the status quo and experiment with the introduction of change, to see if the situation can be improved or new potential uncovered.

At their worst

The team might: not leave alone things that already work well; lack follow through to fully complete projects; start too many new initiatives; keep losing focus during discussions

In their absence

The team might: get stuck in a rut; miss out on new opportunities; fail to keep improving; reject good ideas with hidden potential

Innovating

At their best

When team members are innovating they use their imagination to create new and different ideas and perspectives. They observe the world around them, then use their imaginations to consider what they have observed from a number of different perspectives, and dream up new ideas and insights. Innovating often produce radical solutions to problems, develop long term vision and demonstrate an apparent understanding of what cannot be clearly known.

At their worst

The team might: generate ideas that are too radical; seem, to others, to be 'on a different planet'; fail to make their vision relevant to others; want to pursue unrealistic or impractical ideas

In their absence

The team might: fail to see alternative perspectives; be unable to find a way around hard problems; lack a long-term strategy or vision; be devoid of new ideas

Activating

At their best

When team members are activating they bring things to fruition by getting things done, and getting them done now! They are very action-oriented, dealing with whatever tasks the current situation presents, and spurring others into action as well. They make use of their experience and utilise tools or processes of which they already have knowledge. They try to have an immediate impact on things, injecting a sense of urgency, and aiming to achieve clear goals and tangible results.

At their worst

The team might: sacrifice the long-term for expediency's sake; act too quickly without thinking things through; only do the same things again, and fail to improve; be blinkered in their approach

In their absence

The team might: fail to take action; not take account of present realities; respond too slowly to urgent matters; spend too much time talking around a topic

Clarifying

At their best

When team members are clarifying they bring clarity to the inner world of information, ideas and understanding. They listen, ask questions and absorb information, so that in their mind's eye they can achieve as clear a picture or understanding as is possible. They expand their knowledge and collection of experiences, and also look to the future by envisaging clear goals and clear pathways to achievement of those goals. The focus on clarity also brings greater attention to detail.

At their worst

The team might: collect and keep too much information; create a burden of bureaucracy; over-focus on detail (miss the wood for the trees); reject reasonable assumptions (wanting certainty)

In their absence

The team might: misunderstand each other without realising; communicate inconsistent messages; miss or lose important information; fail to capitalise on previous experience

Conducting

At their best

When team members are conducting they introduce organisation and a logical structure into the way things are done. They organise and systematise the world around them, establishing appropriate plans, identifying and implementing the correct procedures, and then endeavouring to make sure they are followed. They try to ensure that roles and responsibilities are properly defined and that appropriate resources or skills are available to undertake the work assigned.

At their worst

The team might: make processes too rigid and inflexible; stifle spontaneous creativity by trying to structure it; achieve success at the expense of people's welfare; adhere too closely to procedures (letter of the law)

In their absence

The team might: meander (lose focus and structure); be disorganised and do work haphazardly; fail to coordinate effort ('reinvent the wheel'); descend into chaos

Analysing

At their best

When team members are analysing they provide explanation of how and why things happen. They bring structure and organisation into the inner world of ideas and understanding. They analyse things, formulating hypotheses and explanations of how they function, and gather evidence to assess how true those explanations are. They produce mental models that replicate how particular aspects of the world works, and they try to understand the full complexity of any situation.

At their worst

The team might: over-analyse things, causing 'paralysis by analysis'; have too many competing theories about things; nit-pick each others' arguments; get locked into an irreconcilable debate

In their absence

The team might: be unable to solve difficult problems; fail to understand complex situations; not realise the consequences of actions; adopt solutions that could fail to succeed


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©2013 Team Technology. Further articles/resources that may be of interest include: Personality Test, Personality Type Descriptions, Myers Briggs overview, The Basics of Team Building, What Career is Right for Me?, and Career ideas.